The naginata is a Japanese weapon consisting of a sword mounted to
the end of a staff. The art of wielding the naginata has been handed down for generations since its use on the battlefield in medieval Japan. The practice of Naginata is unique among martial arts in the following way: for the last three centuries the tradition of Naginata has been kept alive primarily by women.
The United States Naginata Federation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and development of modern “Atarashi” Naginata in the United States. Today, the organization consists of six regional federations, all offering classes, seminars, and competition in Naginata at the local level. They are located on the West Coast, the Greater New York area, Washington, D.C., parts of the midwest, and Colorado.
“Atarashi” Naginata is the contemporary version of the practice of Naginata, begun in Japan after the Second World War. It incorporates sports competition elements and techniques to the practice that keep the art interesting and relevent in the modern age. Practice includes the use of both kata (choreographed practice) and shiai (full-contact sparring with flexible weapons and armor). The All Japan Naginata Federation sets technical specifications for regulations and ranking. The term “Atarashii Naginata” refers to dojo recognized by the AJNF and the International Naginata Federation.