Junior high ninjas

The photo shows one of the few items that still remain in my possession since childhood (I sold everything else on eBay). At the moment, I have it hanging in my hall. I suppose you might call it a Japanese dart-board, although those holes weren’t caused by darts. They were the result of hundreds of shuriken throws (shuriken, for the uneducated and less geeky among us, is the proper name for a ninja throwing star).

Back in junior high, this kind of stuff was all the rage. Some of us even made our own nunchakas by sawing a broom handle in two, covering it in black tape, and joining the two halves with a chain. Ah, those were the days. I recall that the only fun I had in metalwork class was when I would sneakily cut shuriken out of sheets of copper, behind the teacher’s back. But of course, that wasn’t like having the real thing. Thankfully, there was a shop in the neighbouring town of Lurgan (where I bought the board) that sold all manner of martial arts gear, including genuine shuriken. Unfortunately, today, any that I owned are lost.

Shuriken are now illegal to sell in this country, and it’s no wonder. We brought these things to school, purely out of innocent fun, not considering that, technically speaking, we were bringing a concealed weapon. I remember practising with mine in the playground one lunch-time, throwing it at a tree that bordered with the neighbouring high school. Simultaneously, there was a guy on the other side of the fence taking motorcycle lessons. I didn’t miss my intended target, but I do remember him stopping the bike and giving me an earful. Once, I heard about another more dangerous near-miss: my friend Andrew put his hand on the door of the gym and a shuriken struck the wood right between his fingers. And hey, there were no secret ninjas in Killicomaine Junior High School; nobody’s aim was that good. The thing could easily have struck him in the hand, or the head. And that reminds me of my other friend Maurice. He was unlucky enough to end up with one protruding from his head for a time (incidentally, he lived to tell the tale).

Despite all that, my board is lonely without shuriken – which brings me to my question: does anyone know how I can get a couple of them? I have scoured eBay, and all I can find are a load of toy cosplay shuriken for anime custume parties. Help me, somebody. I don’t want to play darts. Besides, a few shuriken would be useful to have on hand if I should hear the floorboards creaking in the middle of the night.

12 thoughts on “Junior high ninjas

  1. Jeffrey Allen Davis

    With them being illegal to sell in Ireland, that’s going to be tough. You could always get your buddy who lives in the US to order some for you from Century Martial Arts or awma.com, but getting them through customs and to you might be tricky :0).

  2. Eddie Mullan

    a mate of mine made nunchakas when I was 11…they were bloody heavy. thankfully we didn’t actually fight with them. think I had a bow at one point.

  3. Darryl Sloan

    You’ve got me wondering what the heck your mate’s nunchakas were made of – lead piping? 🙂 My broom-handle version was fairly light.

    I remember the trick was to drill a hole down through the pole, feed in a few links from a bicycle lock chain, then hammer a nail through the side of the pole to hold the chain in place.

    We never fought, either. It was just fun learning how to handle the weapon.

  4. Jeffrey Allen Davis

    I have a pair of real metal nunchaku. I taught myself simple katas with them when I was in high school. I told my wife that they’re off limits to her. She put a hole in our basement wall a few years back.

  5. Eddie Mullan

    yeah that was it pretty much. i thought they were cool. Also, he had the NES. Remember that? and when it didn’t work you just blew into the cartridge.. teenage mutant ninja turtles were out about that time, they were considered pretty cool because the regulators had to make the programme change its name to teenage mutant hero turtles, cos ninja was considered too violent! haha

  6. Darryl Sloan

    Ah yes, the name change! Just think of how many children we saved from becoming shuriken-throwing nunchaka-beating thugs. How ridiculous can you get, eh?

    As for me, I was more of a He-Man and the Masters of the Universe kid. Oh, and not forgetting Thundercats. The “Hero” Turtles just didn’t have the style.

    Hey, can you remember those ninja role-playing novels (similar to the Fighting Fantasy stuff)? I remember the first one was called Avenger and there was another called Assassin. There was a whole series.

  7. Jeffrey Allen Davis

    Since I live in the US, it has always been “Ninja Turtles” here. They have a new series that is more dark than its predecessor. I’m rather fond of it.

    I liked “Masters of the Universe,” though I admittedly never got into “Thundercats.” My big thing was “Transformers,” though all of this new stuff that I see on store shelves for that series just doesn’t appeal to me.

  8. Darryl Sloan

    Transformers was cool. I remember the first series was about the robots on present-day earth. We saw it in ten-minute segments on “breakfast TV” before school each day.

    A while back, I was excited to get hold of a bootleg of every Thundercats episode. I ended up only watching a couple of hours before giving up. Sadly, as is sometimes the case with nostalgia, the rose-tinted memories are better than the real thing.

  9. Eddie Mullan

    yeah, a mate of mine bought a dvd of Trap Door (“don’t you open that Traaap dooor…cos there’s something down there”) and realised each episode was only a couple mins long and the start and end credits were on each episode which was about as long as the actual show.

    count duckula i quite liked. but better still knightmare, the crystal maze and gamesmaster..

  10. Darryl Sloan

    I haven’t seen Trapdoor in probably twenty year, but my memories of it are strangely vivid. I used to watch it religiously. Dangermouse was another favourite (Count Duckula made his first appearance in a DM episode). I picked up a few DVDs on the cheap a few years ago. Good fun.

  11. James Maxon

    Thank goodness someone knows what a Shuriken is and that it’s nunchaku not numb-chuck. Funny, I remember making nunchucks myself before buying the real thing. I still have them along with my, sai, swords, throwing knifes, etc… I even have a DVD called “how to throw like a pro” by Professional Knife Thrower; Rev. Dr. David Adamovich (http://www.throwzini.com/tgt_video.html), I have to admit it was purchased only a year ago… I guess I’ll never give it up 😉 Ninja for life!

    Jeffrey Allen Davis: I bought my wife the padded training ones, that way she has hers and I mine without the holes in the wall 😉

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