The kama was originally a short sickle used for cutting rice, grasses, or other grain crops. It consists of a wooden shaft with a metal blade set at the top. The inside edge of the blade is sharp while the outside edge is blunt. Kamas are usually used in pairs with the lanyards around the wrist so the kamas may be twirled. Because of the danger of the sharp blades, practice kamas for beginning students are usually made of wood, including the blade.
A redesign of the weapon, which is called natagama, is stronger in its construction because the blade runs through past the curve of the normal kama and all the way down through the handle. This makes the cutting edge bigger, and the previous weak point where the sickle was attached to the handle was eliminated.
Kamas use more sweeping motions than other weapons, so it he is a close range weapon. These sweeping motions include hooking, hacking, and chopping. The blade adds an extra deadly feature to this weapon since the user may block an attack with the wooden shaft, and then pull the sharp blade across the attacker’s arm or leg. While one kama is being used for blocking, the other kama could be used for slashing at the opponent. In addition, both kamas could be swung simultaneously, creating a sort of propeller effect.