pre-industrial Japan, the nihongo|hachiwari|鉢割, or "helmet breaker", was a type of blunt, knife-shaped weapon, resembling a jutte in many respects. This weapon was carried as a side-arm by Samurai, and was used to parry an opponent's sword or hook into an opponent's helmet.
The blade of a hachiwara was a curved triangular rod with a hook on its backside. In combat one could parry and catch a blade with that hook, as with a jutte. Hachiwari were usually around 350mm long. Some larger versions are around 450mm long and resemble a
tekkan.The mounts of the Hachiwara were mostly of carved wood or carved cinnabar lacquer. [ [http://www.paralumun.com/swhach.htm Hachiwara Helmet Breakers ] ]
The mounting of a hachiwara is often designed to look like a tantô and some few haciwara are knives, rather than blunt metal cudgels.
Similar weapons were known in Europe, where they are called 'left-hand daggers' or 'sword-breakers '. The form of these weapons is very different from hachiwara, although their use and purpose is the same. Left-hand daggers are double-edged knives with spring-loaded sub-blades which jut out on each side of the blade. The left-hand dagger could parry and catch a
rapierand with a twisting movement cant it, to get an advantage in combat.
It would appear that tales of samurai breaking open a
kabuto(" jap. Helmet") of Ô-yoroi("jap. Big armour") are more folklore than anything else. The hachi(helmet bowl and central component of kabuto) of kabuto on Ô-yoroiwas made of pie-piece shaped pieces of steel or iron riveted together at the sides, at the top to a large, thick grommet of sorts called a tehen-no-kanamono, and at the bottom to a metal strip that encircles the hachi. [ [http://www.sengokudaimyo.com/katchu/katchu.ch08.html Kabuto page of Nihon Katchû Seisakuben, An Online Japanese Armour Manual] ] This would require enormous pressure to split open. However, it would appear to be possible to hook a helmet with the hachiwara and use it as a lever, to strain the internal structure or split off a section of the helmet.
Nowadays there is no
Ryu("School, Style") known to train with hachiwara, although certain dojos within Bujinkan Budo Taijutsustill train with them, as an extension of juttejutsu. A number of weapons retailers in Japan still sell usable hachiwari.
* [http://www.arco-iris.com/George/hachiwara.htm Hachiwara]
* [http://claudiospage.com/dolche.htm Left Hand Dagger with 'saw back' ]
* [http://claudiospage.com/dolche2.htm Left Hand Dagger with spring-open sub-blades]
* [http://www.wholesaleknives.co.uk/japanese_armour_information.htm Kabuto]
* [http://www.e-budokai.com/articles/weapons.htm Defensive Weapons of the Samurai]
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