Among weapons collectors, many hobbyists love collecting knives or bladed weapons from distinct regions or cultures. One of many weapons unique to Japanese culture is the shuriken commonly known as the ninja throwing star in the United States. These stars have a history stretching back almost a thousand years to the Later Three-Year War. Today these stars come in numerous styles, each one intricate and unique to the function of the star. While many collectors simply admire the craftsmanship and beauty of these thrown weapons, others use them to practice martial techniques or for sport.
Due to the many edged surfaces of throwing stars safety is of the utmost importance when handling these weapons. For that reason it is important to know the proper technique for handling and throwing these weapons. Proper form begins with pinching the star at one point between the thumb and tactical knives the second knuckle of the index finger. With this grip it is possible to throw horizontally or vertically. To practice good horizontal throwing form, the star should be thrown from stomach height. One must take the throwing star in their dominant hand, with the proper grip, and rest their forearm across their body. The elbow remains in place while the throw is made, extending the forearm out from the body. The correct vertical throwing stance begins with the star in hand up by the ear. Extend the arm in a chopping motion from the elbow and release the star without dropping the elbow as a beginner. With practice and experience one can learn to add additional force in either stance with a flick of the wrist or by dropping the elbow from the vertical position.
Having sound form is essential to safety when handling a ninja star, but having the proper target material is also helpful. For beginners or those training others cardboard makes an inexpensive but useful target. Another great option is fabric covered cork-board. The fabric will help the cork-board retain shape through multiple training sessions. Many users may be inclined to use wood as a training target, but the throwing star can easily become embedded in wood. This makes it hard to remove without pliers and also causes wear and tear on the star. Using cardboard or the cork-board method can help keep these weapons in working order for a long time.
The shuriken is a unique collectible that can be as much fun to use as it is to collect. As with any weapon collection it is important to prioritize safety when using them. Following the proper techniques can prevent accidents. These Japanese weapons can add a bit of flare to any collection. Storing and caring for them the correct way will make sure they maintain their growing historical value.