History and Steps on How to Use the Throwing Star

The Ninja Shuriken

History and Steps on How to Use the Shuriken

Throwing stars have been made popular today because of the mystical legend of the Ninjas.  The throwing stars also known as the Shuriken shu", "ri" and "ken", which is literally translated as "hand hidden blade".  A shuriken weapon thrown with a striking surfaces on all edges.  Unlike the popular throwing knife the throwing stars can damage an opponent regardless of the surface it comes into contact with.  Many ninja stars used by the Ninja started out at a tool or piece of metal used on the farm or old coins see Figure 1.  When the tool was sharpened on the edges it quickly became a weapon that was perfect for the Ninja Weapons .  Ninjas were master of deception and concealment, and these hidden weapons with their quick release along with numerous uses became a favorite killing tool 



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Bo-Shuriken Vs. Hira shuriken

Bo-Shuriken (spikes) - this is a throwing weapon consisting of a straight, iron or steel spike, usually 4 sided but sometimes round or octagonal. 

Hira shuriken (throwing stars) - are constructed from thin, flat plates of metal from a variety of sources, such as hishi-gane (coins), kugi-nuki carpentry tools), (senban (washers), and as such do not generally look like what is usually conceived of as the ninja star .

Figure 1.  (Left) - Thorwing Stars formed from old coins and (Right) Shuriken formed from washers.shurken.gif Figure 2.  Gripping the throwing star, illustration (1) is incorrect ShurikenHold.gif

Gripping the shuriken

Gripping throwing stars is unlike a typical throwing grip.  The index finger follows the outward horizontal point.  This finger will be pointing at the target when releasing the shuriken.  The remaining fingers grip the downward point, the number of fingers is set according to the size of the star see Figure 2.  Another option to the throwing stars comes from the current Head Master, Dr Hatsumi. He likens the throwing of the shuriken as one throws a small "frisbee", meaning it is held horizontally, parallel to the ground, between the index finger and the thumb. The wrist then flicks forward as the arm straightens out in front of the thrower's stomach. 

Contrary to popular belief, (video games, Hollywood, anime, etc.) Throwing Stars were primarily used to cause either nuisance or distraction, both being tactical methods to gain advantage over the opponent in battle. Generally the target was the eyes, face, hands or the feet due to the armor of samurai. The Ninja Throwing Star was not intended as a killing weapon , but rather as a secondary weapon that sometimes played a supportive role to a warrior's main weapon , usually the sword or spear.

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