Naginata is an ancient Japanese martial art. First practiced in the Middle Ages it has been revised, refined and passed down to the present day. The Naginata was first devised by attaching a sword blade to the end of a long wooden staff, today we still use a wooden staff but the blade has been replaced with split bamboo.
Initially the Naginata was used to clear space on the battlefield and in combat against mounted Samurai. However the introduction of firearms made the Naginata largely obsolete on the battlefield and it became a weapon primarily used by women and monks.
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the Naginata was practiced by the wives and daughters of Samurai not only as a self-defence weapon but also as a method of training in moral education. As time passed Naginata became a means for self-development rather than a military technique.
Present day Naginata is a standardised combination of all the old styles and, whilst being contest orientated, is still practiced as a way of bettering oneself and improving character.
There are two forms of competition in Naginata:
- Engi: in which kata are judged according to attitude and accuracy of movement, and
- Shiai: where matches are decided by valid strikes against an opponent.
Beginners are advised to wear loose clothing or a tracksuit. We welcome beginners or other martial artists who wish to try something few people outside of Japan practice.
We meet once a week on saturdays between 4pm - 5.30pm at the sports hall at the Medway University of Kent Campus.
North Road off Central Avenue
University of Greenwich at Medway
Kent ME4 4TB