At the risk of sounding like the ignorant newbie (heh whoops- I am)-
What exactly is the kusarigama? I gathered from the pictures it's like a ball and chain tied to a scythe, and my mind for some reason remembers the word, but I'm not sure from what.
Also, how do you practice with it? That thing would be a monster if you messed up with it...
As you pointed out a Kusarigama is indeed a Sickle and Chain. The history of this weapon I don't know however I do know that it was considered a secondary weapon in battle. Supposedly it was also a favorite of "Ninjas" however on that subject I can't speak. The Kusari Gama in SMR is of a differant shape than most of the other schools it also has the Handguard. As I haven't yet practiced it I can only speak from what I have seen. It is practiced in Kata form (I think SMR has 12 Katas) holding the Kus (as it's called) varies according to the Kata as well as what you do with the weight. Sometimes it is thrown into the face or at the sword or or wraped around the sword or wrapped around various body parts (feet, arms etc). The other day while watching Sensei and his senior deshi (Steve) go through a kata Sensei threw the weight around Steves shoulder to hit his back. The weight (leather wrapped around cotton batting) hit Steve right on the nerve plexus between the shoulder blades (as it is/was supposed to) Well that was a new one on Steve, the involluntary reflex that followed left Steve wide open for the finish of the Kata...quite dead metaphoricly speaking. These Katas are practiced quite slow at first however I have seen them done at what looks to be 3/4 speed and it is enough to mess me up but good. Making weapons is an advocation for me I've built a number of Tantos, Jos and Boken. At some point I may make a Jutte however this Kusarigama is by far the hardest thing I've ever made.