Hojutsu, the Firearm-Based Samurai Martial Arts

Thanks mostly to Western pop cultures and Japanese Anime, our idea of a Samurai is oftentimes fantasized or idealized. The big screen often presented this fearless and honorable warrior, with nearly superhuman skills with the sword, and fiercely loyal to his superiors. But real life could be different. The historical Samurai might bring in a flawed, or sometimes an unrecognizable warrior that never resembled the fictional version. Nevertheless, even with the myths and hearsays being stripped, the mystique of the Samurai will always bring fascinations to the modern observers.

In my case, I find their expertise with other weapons fascinating.

Samurai warriors are always associated with the sword. But the notion that they completely relied on their swords is false. The Samurai was as practical as any warrior classes in their period. Meaning, when heading out in the battle, they carried more than bladed weapons. Swords were just sidearms. Pole weapons were preferred due to its reach. Plus, bows and arrows allowed a samurai to kill an adversary in a safe distance. And although the Samurai tachi, or katana had their places in the battlefield, pole weapons and archery equipment were more efficient when fighting on their other signature weapon; their horses.

But some people would be surprised that one of the most underrated weapons of the Samurai (at least for the modern-day fans) is also one of the most effective.


Yes, the samurai warriors and their ashigaru foot soldiers wielded them, with devastating effects. Maybe, the desire of modern fans to preserve the pure sword totting samurai made us overlooked the fact that they are also expert shooters. So much so that they made martial arts out of it.

The Guns of the Samurai
The Tanegashima.

The Japanese were well aware of the existence of the gunpowder long before the arrival of European weapons. This is due to their proximity with China. And around 1270, primitive guns appeared, which was no more than metal

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *