View Full Version : Sunsetsu

24th March 2002, 22:34
Would anyone know the dimensions (length) of a typical Sunsetsu?

Is this weapon evident only in one school?

I'm thinking of making a simplidied one - a piece of wood with a small string acting as the 'ring' portion....what are your opinions?


George Ricard

Don Cunningham
25th March 2002, 15:29
Actually, the term is "Suntetsu" and not "Sunsetsu." It is formed with two kanji, "sun" refering to the Japanese measurement unit and "tetsu" referring to iron.

Currently, the Japanese unit of 1 sun is equal to 1.193 inhes in American standard measurement. The actual weapon as you describe is obviously more than 2 inches long. The term is generally considered, though, to mean an iron implement of some measurement rather than specifically 1 sun.

I've seen some antique suntetsu and, in my opinion, the typical version was about 6 sun long. This would make it approximately 6-1/2 inches long, but there really seems to be no specific standard length.

It's also worth noting that the old suntetsu did not include a loop of cord or ring like the modern versions. The only reference in literature I've been able to locate describes someone who was attacked with a suntetsu. Apparently, it was thrown and hit him directly between the eyes, but in this case, the individual was not injured seriously and continued to successfully defend themselves. While I don't have the specifics now, I recall the reference was to how strong the individual was in that they were able to withstand such an assault.

I hope this helps. I will now return to the shadows and continue lurking.


Don Cunningham

26th March 2002, 22:30
How does the 'eda-koppo' differ from the weapon mentioned above?

Tim Oldham:look:

26th March 2002, 23:59
Originally posted by popupsoldier
How does the 'eda-koppo' differ from the weapon mentioned above?
Tim Oldham:look:

Eda koppo refers to, IIRC, technique rather than a weapon itself ...

I do remember Hatsumi refering to it in his book (co-written w/Quentin Chambers) on Japanese stick fighting.


J. A. Crippen
27th March 2002, 19:41
Eda koppo "Attacking the bones with a stick" is Technique 9, page 56 in Hatsumi-san and Mr. Chambers's book Stick Fighting: Techniques of Self-Defense. For anyone playing around with suntetsu or jo/hanbo, particularly against an unarmed opponent, I'd recommend this book.

The suntetsu used by Hatsumi-san is just a plain stick about as thick as his middle finger, and about one and a quarter handspans in length, shown in figure 4 of this technique. (A handspan is the distance from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the little finger when all fingers are maximally outstretched. Not the same as a 'hand' in reference to horses, IIRC. Is there a name for this measurement in Japanese?)

For cheap suntetsu and hanbo check your local hardware store for oak dowels. They stand up to typical use except for wood-on-wood (like against another wooden weapon), in which case they tend to splinter a bit. And they're really cheap. I picked up something almost (but not quite) the same size as a friend's SMR jo for about ten bucks or so. For that price you can buy ten of them and not care when they wear out!

For making a suntetsu with a ring get a small dowel of the appropriate length and width and with a sharp drill bit run a hole crosswise exactly in the center of the length. Use a vise to stabilize the dowel while drilling otherwise you'll feel dumb when the hole ends up off-center. Make sure you're drilling a perfectly vertical hole as well, so carefully judge the angle of the bit with a level when halfway through. Get some strong twisted cotton cord (without a core!) and run one end through the hole, tying a stopper knot (like a simple overhand knot, or more fancily a wall knot and crown) in that end. On the other end make a ring splice that is large enough to pass your middle finger through with a small amount of wiggle room. You can use a small disk of leather to separate the stopper knot from the dowel; this will reduce wear on the knot and will help prevent it from slipping out if the knot is small.

29th March 2002, 20:01
Another source for short sticks is your local music store in the form of drum sticks. For whatever reason sometimes dowels seem too dry light and brittle. Because they are made for striking, a drum stick holds up much better. Available in many different widths.

J. A. Crippen
29th March 2002, 21:19
That's an excellent suggestion. Thanks for the idea. Drumsticks aren't as cheap as dowels but you can often get them from a punk rock drummer or heavy metal drummer who tends to break his sticks. Then you just chop off the broken end.

If you are going to use dowels I'd emphasize that using woods such as pine or hemlock is not a good idea. Look for oak or, at the minimum, maple. Small oak dowels are usually not too hard to find, and oak is sufficiently hard to stand up to most damage.

As for weapon vs weapon (although this is unlikely with a suntetsu, it's certainly possible with hanbo), I'd always recommend rattan over anything else simply because rattan can take *so much* abuse and still function well. All a splintering rattan stick needs is some careful going over with a sharp knive to cut the splinters, then maybe a little sanding to smooth out the rest. Doing this can get you quite a few more miles out of worn rattan sticks and staffs. The only problem with rattan is that it's really lightweight, so for kata practice you don't want to use it.