Points

Naginatajutsu is a Japanese polearm-fighting style for use with the naginata (a sword blade mounted on a staff) or naga-maki (which has more equal blade-to-haft proportions). The naginata was a battlefield weapon, and schools dedicated to it have existed since at least the mid-12th century. Indeed, Benkei the monk - legendary companion of the great 12 th-century hero Yoshitsune - was a Naginatajutsu master. The weapon itself is several centuries older than that, so the style might have even earlier origins. By 16th century, firearms had relegated the polearm to a largely ceremonial role. Naginatajutsu became a martial art practiced by noblewomen for home defense and to add physical training to a largely sedentary lifestyle.

Naginatajutsu is an offensive style. The weapon has a length advantage over most others and lends itself to swift, wheeling motions, so practitioners seek to eliminate the foe quickly. Stylists use feints to draw out the opponent and attacks to the legs and body to disable or kill him. Historically, the leg was such a popular target that warriors wore heavy shin armor specifically to counter naginata cuts! Full-extension lunges that exploit the naginata's length are very common; treat such an attack as an All-Out Attack (Long). Fighters also use long-range swings. Other training includes butt strikes, both to targets in front and behind; techniques for disarming foes and retaining the naginata in the face of similar disarms; and sweeps with the end of the pole.

Naginata schools teach staff forms as well as polearm skills, for use in the event that the naginata's blade breaks off. Some ryuha train using a naginata that has a sharp cap on the butt, which allows the weapon to serve as a spear in extremis or after a feint with the blade. Others teach the knife or shortsword as a backup weapon.

Naginatajutsu schools still exist today. In fact, there's a dedicated federation committed to spreading the art. Modern students usually learn a sport version (see Naginatado, p. 187).

Skills: Polearm; Staff.

Techniques: Back Strike (Staff); Disarming (Staff); Feint (Polearm or Staff); Retain Weapon (Polearm); Sweep (Polearm or Staff); Targeted Attack (Polearm Swing/Face); Targeted Attack (Polearm Swing/Leg).

Cinematic Skills: Kiai; Mental Strength; Power Blow.

Cinematic Techniques: Dual-Weapon Defense (Polearm or Staff); Whirlwind Attack (Polearm or Staff).

Perks: Form Mastery (Naginata); Grip Mastery (Naginata).

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