Onna bugeisha – The Powerful Female Samurai Warrior: In the earlier periods such as the Heian and Kamakura, there were female members of the samurai class who became prominent or even present on the battlefield. They were the exception and not the rule, but this doesn’t mean that most women were powerless ^^;
Onna-musha or women warriors were very unusual. The most famous women warriors were Tomoe Gozen and Hangaku Gozen.
Bushi women were trained mainly with the naginata because of its versatility against all types of enemies and weapons. They would also use the kaiken – a type of dagger – and the art of tantojutsu in battle.
It was generally the responsibility of women to protect their homes rather than go off to battle in the field, so it was important that they become skilled in a few weapons that offered the best range of techniques to defend against anyone who would attack on horseback.
During the Sengoku period (mid. 15th century – beginning of 17th century) there are accounts of the wives of warlords, dressed in ornated armor, leading bands of women armed with naginata. It was probably at this time that the image of women fighters with naginata arose.
In the mid-17th century, when Japan finally arrived at an enforced peace under the authoritarian rule of the Tokugawa shogunate, the need for skill at arms decreased. Many schools focusing on the use of the naginata were created and began to be increasingly associated with women.
When there was a disturbance at night or a suspicious character entered the village, the women would grab their naginata, which hung ready on one of the walls of the house, and go running outside to gather and search the town for any danger.
After World War II it came the Atarashii Naginata (lit. “new naginata”), a modern martial mode (Gendai Budo) sport like, which was created based on the Naginatajutsu, as it happened with the development of kendo from of Kenjutsu.
Next is a video showing the modern combat with the naginata.
Of course, to be a complete warrior, they needed to train in many martial arts – Do you know all of them? Find about Japanese Martial Arts here