Shishido Baiken

After his duels with the Yoshioka family Miyamoto Musashi began travelling the length and breadth of Japan looking for warriors against which to test his skill. He soon heard of an undefeated warrior called Shishido Baiken who wielded a kusarigama in duels.

shishido baiken

A kusarigama is a Sickle with a long chain attached to it. A steel ball is then attached to the end of the chain. Baiken would swing his ball and chain in an arc building up speed and momentum forcing his opponent onto the back foot by increasing the circumference of the spinning steel ball. He would then hurl the ball at the mans face. His opponent would have to fend off the ball and chain with this sword arm and at that precise moment Baiken would close the distance and use the sickle against his opponents throat. Baiken relied on the weapons ‘exotic-ness’ insofar as a swordsman would struggle to formulate a strategy against this weapon in so short a time, especially when he was already back pedaling.

Musashi was intrigued and wanted to see this weapons in action, but Baiken refused saying the only way he could see the weapon was in a duel, to which Musashi agreed.

Musashi arrived at the duel with two swords. A longsword and a shortsword. Baiken had never seen anyone wielding two swords at the same time. Instead of letting Baiken swing his steel ball and create distance between them Musashi immediately charged Baiken.

Suddenly it was Baiken going backwards, he hesitated, realizing that if he threw his steel ball, Musashi could clear his ball and chain with the one sword and attack him with the other. This moment of hesitation cost him and Musashi, now in range, deflected the swirling ball and chain with one sword and stabbed Baiken with the other, killing him.

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