Caring for and Collecting Shurikens as Weapons
Warriors from every civilized culture throughout human history are often enigmatically remembered foremost by the weapons they carried into battle. These days collectors, aficionados, and sportsmen collect, train with, and tactical knives use these weapons to help preserve the history and culture of these warriors. Japanese culture is filled with iconic weapons from the katana, to the naginata, or to the shuriken that has been popularized by Western cultures. Shurikens are better known as ninja stars in the United States, and they have received a lot of attention from those that are fascinated with training to use a throwing weapon for sport.
Attention for throwing stars has been stimulated in the past several decades since ninja culture has been introduced to the west through movies, animes, television, and video game platforms. Collectors may be surprised to find out that the throwing star was considered a dispensable tool in battle, often thrown and discarded. Additionally it is interesting to note that the role it played in battle was often to be used as a distraction or as a glancing blow. Enemies often felt the cut of these weapons and it created the illusion of being struck out of nowhere. That being said, the stars used for training today are still dangerous, and professionals urge enthusiasts to take precaution and learn the proper techniques.
Learning to practice good form with a ninja star starts with having the right grip. The best way to hold a star is to clutch one point of it between the thumb and the second knuckle of the index finger for a strong but safe grasp. From there the proper form for vertical throwing is to align the elbow with the shoulder and to lift the star to ear level. Keeping it well away from the head, drop the forearm without moving the elbow. To throw from a horizontal angle one should rest their forearm across their stomach with the star a safe distance from their torso. Then they pivot the forearm out from a level position without moving the elbow. Once users become more comfortable throwing the stars they may experiment with adding a flick of the wrist for added power or dropping the elbow in the vertical position to drive the star forward.
Practicing the proper techniques is crucial for safety, however picking the right practice target will also ensure that collectors get the most fun and use out of their stars. Due to the many edged nature of the shuriken it is not recommended to use wood as a target, because the star can get stuck. The edges make it difficult to remove without tools which can damage the star itself. Experienced weapons experts recommend using cardboard or cloth coated cork for the best target practice. These targets will be easy to use and dispose of with little risk involved. Giving the stars the proper care is the best way to preserve their growing historical value as well as your personal safety.