Togakure Ryu Senban Hira Shuriken
The specifications for the Togakure Ryu Senban are as follows:
Material: Tool Steel/Tempered Steel
The Togakure Ryu Senban Hira Shuriken is one of the Togakure Ryu trinity of Shuriken along with the Togakure Ryu Uchi Barai Bo Shuriken and the Togakure Ryu Ita Ken.
The Togakure Ryu Senban Hira Shuriken is an iconic image in just about every book ever written or DVD produced about Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu and Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu.
It is the single most common Shuriken you are likely to encounter when training in the Bujinkan and is usually the first Shuriken you learn to throw.
As Hira Shuriken they are fairly effective, have good penetration on the target, good overall weight and are fairly accurate but they aren’t particularly spectacular either.
The issue is mainly in the design as the elongated sides of the Togakure Ryu Senban mean that it is somewhat prone to bouncing off of harder targets like wood when thrown horizontally. It very much depends on what you expect from a Shuriken however, if your intention is to get the points to penetrate deep into the target each time you throw then Togakure Ryu Senban Hira Shuriken aren’t really the right tool for the job.
Traditionally the Togakure Ryu Senban was used as a tool for psychological misdirection more that a devastating weapon and the larger geometry of the Shuriken enabled it to be used as a hook or Teppan (plate) to aid with Taijutsu techniques. The wider inwardly curved edges of the Togakure Ryu Senban would also cause larger lacerations and cuts to the opponent when striking hard area of the body and face before bouncing off and being lost in undergrowth and bushes.
The overall balance of the Togakure Ryu Senban is excellent when thrown as it has a wide surface area making it very aerodynamic.
In conclusion the Togakure Ryu Senban is an essential Shuriken for any Bujinkan practitioner learning Shurikenjutsu but they take practice to master properly and develop accuracy. They aren’t really designed to penetrate deeply into the target so its advisable to use softer targets or to throw with additional momentum using Ken Tai Ichi Jo (Using the body and weapon as one).
Similar varieties of the Togakure Ryu Senban Hira Shuriken exist is other schools such as Kukishinden Ryu Senban which have a fine edge and Shosho Ryu Senban which are similar to Teppan (Solid metal plates). Shosho Ryu is better known for its Jujutsu which is currently in its 68th Genration.