What are ninja throwing stars?
Ninja throwing stars are probably the first weapon you think of when you hear the word “ninja”.
These throwing blades were at one time on the most closely guarded secrets in Japan. They are traditional weapons in Japan, designed to be concealed then thrown. In rare occasions ninja stars were used for slashing. The ninja star is usually made out of short blades that overlay each other. Invented during the Three-Year-War, these ninja stars can be created out of any sharp item.
Ninja throwing stars are actually called “shuriken”. In Japanese this word is made of three characters forming the words hand, release and blade. It is literally a hand released blade. The blades can feature a number of points from three all the way up to six of more.
Shuriken are illegal to possess or carry in the United States since the late 1960’s. Laws were passed due to the size of the shuriken and their ability to be concealed. A ninja throwing star can be a deadly weapon that fits into the palm of your hand and easily concealed among your clothes. They gained popularity for these very reasons. The popularity of Bruce Lee and martial arts movies cause a surge in ninja star sales especially among children. Since the weapons were popular among children and were easy to carry or bring to school laws were passed to lump them into martial arts weapons. Today it is still illegal to carry or own a ninja throwing star but you will want to check with your own states laws to note all the details.
How to make a ninja star out of paper?
In the films a true ninja can make a weapon out of any common object, including paper! Now you can take these ninja skills and make your own shuriken out of this common household item. After all, you’ve gotten a paper cut before and you know that these little cuts can pack a lot of pain. Imagine if you used the power of a paper cut like a ninja!
A piece of paper won’t have the aerodynamics that you need to effectively turn it into a weapon. The best way to get paper to meet your needs is to fold it into a ninja throwing star. The Japanese art of folding paper is called origami and this ancient art can be used to construct your paper throwing star. These paper shurikens can be made quickly with any paper you have available.
Here’s how you do it.
- Start with a square sheet of paper, any type will do but if you have origami paper, all the better. If you have a letter sized piece of paper you’ll want to make it square.
- Fold the square sheet of paper in half and then unfold. You’ll now have a crease down the center.
- Cut the paper in half along this crease
- Fold the paper in half again, this will make your strips even thinner then fold these strips down in half again. This gives you another crease in the middle to guide you.
- This step may be a little tricky, you’ll want to take the top half of the strip and fold it to the center without passing the halfway mark.
- You then fold the lower half the opposite way, again, not passing the halfway mark.
- Turn both strips of paper over
- Fold the top squares of both strips so the match each other.
- Fold the bottom squares of both strips so they match each other.
- You’ll now have two triangles, you’ll want to fold the top triangles and make sure the base of the triangle doesn’t pass the crease in the middle.
- Fold in the bottom triangles of both sheets, again, making sure they don’t pass the crease in the middle.
- Unfold the top and bottom triangles of both sheets.
- Turn the right sheet over and position it with the other sheet.
- You’ll then place the right sheet over the left sheet
- Tuck the right flap of the bottom sheet under the left side of the top sheet.
- Tuck the left flap of the bottom sheet under the right side of the top sheet.
- Turn the combined sheets over and tuck the flap into the pocket that is made by the top sheet
- Finally you’ll want to tuck the lower flap, the one that’s left hanging out, into the other pocket that is made by the top sheet
That’s it!! You’ve successfully made a four-point ninja throwing star.
How to throw a ninja throwing star?
Now that you’ve learned about the history of a ninja throwing star and also how to make one with paper, you’ll need to learn how to throw your shuriken.
There are two basic ways to accurately throw a ninja star – horizontally or vertically. When you throw a ninja star you can use the same motions that you would when throwing a baseball or even a Frisbee. However, you may also notice that it is extremely difficult to get much accuracy out of these methods. Vertical throwing is easier and it is the recommended style for beginners but both styles of throwing are discussed below.
- Vertical Throwing – when you throw a ninja star in the vertical method you extend your arm forward and downward. You start this throwing position from above your head. The release of the ninja star occurs when your arm is straight in front of you. The essential part of this move is to flick your wrist at just the right moment. The right flick of the wrist gives your throw that much more momentum. This part will take practice so don’t worry if you don’t start hitting targets right away. Also, remember that you don’t really want to hurl it or throw it as hard as you can.
- Horizontal Throw – when throwing the star in the horizontal position you’ll grip it in the same fashion. This throw is the horizontal version of the method described above. Use your dominant hand to throw your ninja star, for this example I’ll use the right hand since that is the dominant hand for the majority of people. You’ll want to keep your right leg forward of your right arm and keep your elbow close to your body. You will pivot your throw at your elbow, not your shoulder. You’ll move your arm across your body, in a horizontal motion. Don’t’ forget to add the same flick of your wrist when releasing the star.
Now you have a better understanding of the history and theory behind the ninja throwing star. The shuriken is a great martial arts weapon if you come to understand it and respect it. Remember to practice throwing your ninja star, with time and effort you’ll achieve the results you’re looking for whether for self-defence or generally accuracy and target throwing.