Points

Sojutsu, also known as Yarijutsu, is the Japanese art of spear fighting. While samurai are popularly associated with swords, many preferred the spear for warfare - mainly because of its reach advantage and effectiveness against mounted foes. Historically, the spear played a very important battlefield role.

Sojutsu deals primarily with using the spear for stabbing. It includes some training at wielding the spear as a staff, but warriors who wish to make extensive use of such tactics should consider studying Bojutsu (p. 192) as well. Sojutsu schools hardly ever teach spear throwing: few bushi carry multiple spears, and throwing away one's primary weapon is foolhardy at best!

Sojutsuka (Sojutsu fighters) use their spear's length to keep the enemy at bay, holding their weapon two-handed and usually at maximum reach. Stylists circle, using Wait and Evaluate to look for an opening to exploit, or Feint to create one. When they strike, they go for a lethal thrust to the vitals, neck, or (especially against an armored foe) face. They often use Committed Attack (Strong) to penetrate armor and ensure an incapacitating hit.

Cinematic Sojutsuka are known for their fierce battle cries and armor-cracking strikes. They can even launch a Whirlwind Attack, attacking multiple adversaries with a Tip Slash (p. 113). This tends to be a last resort, since Tip Slash isn't especially damaging.

Some Japanese spears had hooks or even L-shaped spearheads designed for hooking and grabbing. Practitioners who use such weapons might learn Armed Grapple (Spear) and/or Hook (Spear).

Skills: Spear; Staff.

Techniques: Disarming (Spear); Feint (Spear); Retain Weapon (Spear); Sweep (Spear); Targeted Attack (Spear Thrust/Face); Targeted Attack (Spear Thrust/Neck); Targeted Attack (Spear Thrust/Vitals).

Cinematic Skills: Kiai; Mental Strength; Power Blow.

Cinematic Techniques: Dual-Weapon Defense (Spear); Whirlwind Attack (Spear).

Perks: Form Mastery (Spear); Grip Mastery (Spear); Off-Hand Weapon Training (Spear).

("strong gentlemen") - trained samurai, acted as bodyguards, and fought in fairly brutal matches. Few techniques were barred. Victory was by submission.

In modern Sumo, matches are short and explosive. Sumotori square off in the ring and begin the match by mutual decision. Common tactics include throws (typically over the leg, a variation on Sweep), shoves, and slams. Feints are extremely important, and include fakes, simple ploys such as the nekodamashi ("cat confuser," a clap in the opponent's face), powerful slaps, and shifts of weight to trick one's rival into opening himself to fight-winning shoves. Contenders frequently use Committed Attack (Strong) or All-Out Attack (Strong) for a full-force shove - often after a Feint. The first fighter to touch the ground with anything other than the soles of his feet, or to contact the ground outside the ring, is the loser.

Sumotori train at "stables," where the daily routine consists of chores, Sumo practice, and eating gigantic amounts of high-protein, high-fat foods to gain weight. Great bulk isn't a requirement - young children, male and female, engage in the sport - but because Sumo has no weight classes, sheer size tends to influence a fighter's career. Simply put, a large man is harder to lift and shove. Strong sumotori have won bouts "simply" by lifting a smaller opponent and dropping him outside the ring!

Cinematic sumotori are like realistic ones, but more so -in every sense. They're even larger, stronger, and harder to move. Their massive bulk enhances their combat ability.

Sumo is most widely taught in Japan. It's easy to learn the basics and almost anyone can try to join a stable, but training is grueling and designed to weed out non-contenders. Schools do exist outside Japan - especially in Eastern Europe, Hawaii, and Mongolia - but those who want to "make it" must join a

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