-Naginata (Nagai no To) in classical kanji literally means long sword (the lengthy sword), this was the age before the use of hiragana and katakana forms of short kanji-writing in Japan.. A pole-arm that can either be equipped with a single edged blade (that varies in styles from a short knife to a wakizashi blade) or if you desire a double edged advantage - the yari can be readily available. With the single edged option, one can choose to strike with the ridge of the blade without killing or cutting one's opponent. Providing the master a humane outcome of the situation. The most effective method of fighting was pioneered by Lord Kwan - a chinese literal guardian of the gate.
Sun-tzu made it popular in his strategy book, making it the ideal phalanx weapon (recorded about 8,000 years worth of military history). The naginata was repopularized in japan during about the time that the Book of Sun-Tzu was dug-up in China in the 1500's. Interestingly enough, ninjutsu also started to bloom in Japan at this time - which is also in Sun-Tzu's book (chapter 13, the "Five Branches of Espionage and ninjutsu). It's probably the first time that the kanji for Nin (or Shinobi) was ever associated with these titles. The kanji for (Nin) preceded all five branches of espionage - that later branched out to be the notorious deadly arts of feudal Japan.
Naginata's effectiveness, however, was well desired by the home-town guards and most of them would be women (the men would have been either busy tending the fields or fighting in the war fronts)....
...I have had an excellent enlightenment about the methodology of the naginata. I have had success in defeating more than eight attackers at bay. No more than six or eight can actually surround you effectively without them cutting each other. The centrifugal force of this weapon is a lot less controllable than the sword. Working with actual weighted weapon (with padding), striking the head, arms, and legs can cause breakage in metacarpals, dislocated shoulders, facial nerve damage (bell's palsey), shin grounds and knock-outs.
-Fake a thrust to one direction (possibly the weakest one if you can tell), (you move your hands in striking position as you pretend that you are about to strike at a particular target), as your hands are now in position - immediately mow six pairs of legs behind you. Follow the naginata's momentum and continue your attack. Practice this. You will find all eight variations of cuts (as in the Book of Five Rings), you must elaborate on this. Note that all eight variations are strung together in one circle, (arrayed around your space in a figure eight). In time, all angles will prove their usefulness to you.
Always fake before you thrust. With the naginata's length, you have ample time to pace your self. If you try to push the naginata beyond its natural momentum, you will fail. If another halberd is incoming to cut your legs, simply brace the naginata to the ground and let his attack bounce off. On this impact, return with a counter attack, you'll be ahead of him - counter strike with a cut-and-thrust. If you don't actually want to cut his legs off, reverse your blade. When you understand these, you will become a better warrior... CONTINUED (CLICK HERE)
also counter strikes (drilling reflexes)
Yari Demonstration by Katherine Hoffman (Sho-Dan)