Naginata (なぎなた) is a modern japanese martial art. Drawing on the teachings of the traditional naginata schools it was developed as a form of physical education early last century.
The naginata is a weapon that consists of a blade fixed to the end of a long wooden shaft, and was used on the battlefields of Japan from the tenth through to the sixteenth centuries. After being outdated by longer easier-to-wield spears and firearms, the Naginata became a weapon primarily studied by women in warrior families.
There are two types of naginata used in the modern martial art. The first type consists of a wooden shaft (normally oak) with a bamboo blade. The bamboo blade allows full contact between participants in full contact bouts. The second type is made of a single piece of wood and is used for kata (sequences of predetermined techniques).
Like other budo arts such as kendo and iaido, naginata practioners strive to develop their character through training.