Togakure Ryu Ita Ken
Togakure Ryu Ita Ken are one of the main varieties of Shuriken you are likely to encounter when learning Shurikenjutsu as part of your training in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu.
The three main types of Shuriken associated with Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu are Togakure Ryu Uchi Barai (Bo Shuriken), Togakure Ryu Ita Ken (Tanto Gata) and Togakure Ryu Senban (Hira Shuriken) although their are a vast array of other Shuriken associated with other Ryuha such as Yagyu Shinkage Ryu, Katori Shinto Ryu and Meifu Shinkage Ryu.
Togakure Ryu Ita Ken Shuriken Specifications:
Type: Tanto Gata / Ita Ken
Material: Steel / Tool Steel
The Togakure Ryu Ita Ken can be seen being used by Soke Masaaki Hatsumi (34th Grandmaster of Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu) in the book Ninjutsu History and Traditions published in 1981.
They are also well known in the Tsuagawa Ryu according to one of the top ranking UK Shihan.
Togakure Ryu Ita Ken are good Shuriken and perform well when thrown but I have to admit, if given a choice between Togakure Ryu Ita Ken and Togakure Ryu Uchi Barai, I would probably stick with the conventional Uchi Barai Bo Shuriken.
The Ita Ken lack the penetration capability of the Uchi Barai’s geometrically structured needle tip, although that could be rectified easily enough by sharpening the Ita Ken tips and turning them into Tanto Gata.
That’s not to say that Ita Ken aren’t extremely effective Shuriken in their own right, just that their is a little room for improvement and its not to much of a stretch of the imagination to assume that at some point in time the Togakure Ryu Ninja may well have sharpened the tips of the Ita Ken.
An obvious benefit to the Togakure Ryu Ita Ken over the Togakure Ryu Uchi Barai Bo Shuriken is in the design itself, having two points either end of the Shuriken means that it doesn’t really matter which way the Shuriken is held when thrown from the hand.
I’m specifically highlighting this point about how the Ita Ken is positioned in the hand as having tips either end of the Shuriken doesn’t really increase the likelihood of the Shuriken sticking, The probability that the Ita Ken will stick in the target doubles but that isn’t really relevant as whether you throw with or without spin you are still controlling the tip of the Shuriken and guiding its trajectory to stick into the target. This only really applies to Bo Shuriken, Ita Ken and Tanto Gata, Hira Shuriken are entirely different as their is a very high probability they will stick in the target regardless of how they are thrown.
Ita Ken have a roughly 50/50 probability of sticking if just thrown without technique but with good technique they are pretty much guaranteed to stick in the target each and every time.
In conclusion Togakure Ryu Ita Ken are great for practicing Shurikenjutsu and are one of the more relevant Bujinkan Shuriken for students of the Dojo but they aren’t the best Shuriken on the market. Definitely. An essential Shuriken for any Bujinkan students collection.
The Togakure Ryu Ninja traditionally carried 9 of each Shuriken during missions and it’s good to have multiple Shuriken to practice with when training so if you get the opportunity then stock up on Togakure Ryu Ita Ken.