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Claws were invented to enable a ninja to scale the walls of buildings, trees, poles, etc.

The claw actually originated from a wooden clog type of tool worn under the tabi (Japanese split-toed shoe), which was used to walk on or through snow or ice to get better grip. Thus the clog developed into the foot spikes we have today, called Ashuku. They are now worn tied to ones shoes with leather or string.

Claws worn on the hands are called Shuko. They were used also used in combat, to rake or scratch the opponent. Because of the broad band worn around the hand, it could also be used to block sword attacks.

Many centuries ago when ninjutsu was still in a barbaric form, and someone was attacked by a ninja wearing these Ashuku and Shuku, the victim often appeared and was considered, by those who found the body, to have been attacked and killed by a wild animal, such as a lion etc.