Before being improvised as a weapon, the kama was widely used throughout Asia to cut crops, mostly rice. It is found in many shapes and forms in Southeast Asia and is particularly common in martial arts from Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. It is also used occasionally in Chinese martial arts. From one or both of these areas, the kama was brought to Okinawa and incorporated into the martial art of te (hand) and later karate (empty hand).
The kama can be used by itself or in pairs. Both the point and sharpened edge of the metal blade are called in to use. Okinawan kata suggest that it could also be used to block, trap and disarm an opponent's weapon. The point at which the blade and handle join in the "weapon" model normally has a nook with which a staff can be trapped. The edge of a traditional rice sickle, such as one would purchase from a Japanese hardware store, continues to the handle without a notch, as this is unneeded for its intended use. The hard edge of the blade would be kept razor-sharp to enable efficient cutting of crops, though this is sometimes a cause of training accidents by unskilled wielders, for whom blunt training versions of the weapon are created.
The kama is a popular weapon for kata competitions but modern forms competitors often simply adapt their empty hand routine while holding kama with little actual kama technique, or employ elaborate weapon-juggling routines that differ radically from the focused Okinawan forms.
- Nitara uses the kama as her weapon style in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition and Mortal Kombat: Armageddon.
- Sareena wields a pair of kama in Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero.
- As a side note, Sareena's pair of kama appears to be identical to Nitara's.
- This is a weapon in Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks.
- ↑ Draeger, Donn F., and Robert W. Smith. Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts. Tokyo: Kodansha International, 1969. Print.