Janele - blow dart

Shoot Blow Darts in Japan

As the Baby Boomer generation gets older, more and more attention is being paid to “senior-friendly” activities. Your mind may automatically go to things like Bridge, shuffleboard or knitting (or Guerrilla Knitting if you’re super cool). But a rather unconventional activity is picking up steam in Japan: blow darting.

The Japanese blowguns featured in the above video are called Fukiya, the same term given to this archery-like sport. Shooters launch 20-centimeter darts out of the 1.2 metre long tubes by exhaling forcefully. The amount of pressure a player builds up and the technique they use to channel their breath will impact how fast and far the dart can be shot.

According to Wikipedia, blow darting has a cool history:

“The fukiya is often considered to have been a weapon of the ninja. It is known that in the past, there were numerous schools of martial arts and ninjutsu (such as Togakure-ryū) which used the fukiya and fukibari alone (as senbon)… ninja would have had to use special darts with poisoned tips in order for it to work, and fired from a concealed location.”

Senior citizen ninjas. Awesome.

I had a chance to shoot a blowgun while traveling in Ecuador with my friend, Janele. We had signed up for a wilderness tour which included a visit to a tiny jungle village. After meeting with the village chief we were invited to try our hand at blow darting. The blowgun we used was much longer than the fukiya and it took me a few tries to get the hang of it.


Me, missing the target completely.

Even when I did finally manage to launch the dart from the tube, I missed the target – a small wooden bird – completely. Not Janele. Apparently she has ninja blood in her because in an effortless display of ninjutsu deadliness she fired a dart directly into the wooden bird’s eye.

I know who I’m calling if I ever need to hire a ninja assassin.

Janele - blow dart

Janele, ninja assassinating the target. Bad ass.

With seniors living longer and healthier lives, much of the “Zoomer” generation of Baby Boomers is embracing very active lifestyles. Blow darting is one cool example of this. What are some other fun activities becoming more popular with older generations?

Josh is the creative force behind Badge of Awesome, where he noodles and doodles about life and the lessons learned from it. He's the author of Simply Blunderful and creator of The Overcoming Obstacles Toolkit.

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