A kanabō (金棒) is a pointed or knobbed club or bludgeon used in feudal Japan as a weapon by samurai and their vassals.

Other weapons of this type are the nyoibo, konsaibo tetsubō (鉄棒) and ararebo.

Related iron weapons without points or buttons are the kanemuchi (or kanamuchi) and the aribo (gojo/kirikobo).

Kanabō's Description

Kanabō and other related types of these maces used as weapons are constructed of solid wood, or entirely of iron, with iron spikes or knobs on one end.

One or both ends of wooden clubs of this type may be sheathed in iron. Kanabō type weapons come in all sizes and shapes, with the largest being man-sized and wielded with two hands, while the smallest and lightest are forearm length and wielded with one hand.

The shape can be that of a baseball bat with a heavy, thick end tapering to a thin handle or they can be straight all the way from the handle to the end, with the shaft being round or multi-sided.

Kanabō Mythology

The kanabō is also a mythical weapon, often used in stories by oni (Japanese demons) because they have a reputation for being extremely strong.

There is a saying in Japanese today, "Like giving a kanabō to an oni," which means to give an extra advantage to someone who already has the advantage (the strong one is made even stronger).

Kanabō's Usage

One of the purposes of kanabō weapons is to break the armor of enemies, the bones and legs of their warhorses.

The art of using this heavy weapon, kanabō-jutsu or tetsubo-jutsu, includes mastery of both balance and strength;

it takes great skill to recover a missed blow with this heavy mace, which may leave the opponent open to a counterattack.

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