Fran Vall Yondan Washington DC
Johanna Weber Sandan Columbus Ohio
The Naginata Federation ranking system is: 6 Kyu grades leading to black belt. 6th kyu is the lowest with Ikkyu or 1st kyu being just before Shodan. The black belt or Yudansha ranks are: Shodan (1st degree black belt) through Godan (5th degree black belt), followed by the teaching titles of Renshi (instructor), Kyoshi (senior instructor) and Hanshi (master instructor).
EQUIPMENT & UNIFORMS
The Naginata Seminar will primarily use the Atarashi Naginata. Please bring your own equipment if you have it. There will be a very limited number of Naginata that can be borrowed for use during the seminar. There will also be a limited number of new Naginata for sale.
The normal uniform is keiko-gi (white) and black or dark blue hakama. But, any loose fitting clothes, a karate, or similar martial arts uniform is ok.
Background and History of the Naginata
The Naginata is an ancient Japanese pole arm that is essentially a Japanese sword blade mounted on a long handle. The blade varies in length from as short as 6 inches to over 2 feet with the average blade being around 15 inches long. They also vary in the amount of curvature and width of the blade. The length of the pole also varies from as short as 2 or 3 feet to over 10 feet long. The average pole is around 6 feet long. These Changes reflect the different uses and needs over the past 1000 years that the Naginata has been in use.
users of Naginata were foot attendants to the samurai, and warrior
monks. The primary use was to cut horses legs during battles.
In about 1400 the fighting style changed to using a long straight
spear in massed formations. The Naginata was not suited for
this style of warfare. It then was left home for the women
to guard the house and castle with. All samurai class women
were trained to use the Naginata and a small dagger.
In Japan today, Naginata is taught as a means of physical fitness and spiritual enhancement for girls in Junior High School and up. They have various levels of contests from the "Empress Cup" for the individual All Japan Champion down to local club and school contests. Because of this background, the vast majority of Naginata participants in Japan are women.
In the USA,
the United States Naginata Federation has roughly 40% men. So
in America it is not consider only a women's weapon.
Contests are of two major formats:
a vigorous contest to hit and score points on your opponent similar to
kendo (these contest require the use of similar armor)
· kata, or pre-arranged drills, competition.
Visit NY Naginata Club web site at