“Old martial art way of Okinawa” is what an East Asian form of combat known as Kobudo literally means when translated. This “weapon” based martial art form is said to have originated from the island of Okinawa located in Japan. Essentially this form of combat comprises of the use of large number of weapons. Furthermore, Kobudo was extremely popular within the country about 100 years ago mainly during the reign of the Ryukyu Kingdom.
a. History/origin of the Kobudo:
According to a popular story floating in the Okinawa Island during a period when feudalism was at its peak in Japan, it was apparently tools used for farming that was converted into weapons since the Satsuma Samurai clan imposed restrictions on peasants with regards to the use of arms. As a result of which, the “weaponless” farmers were compelled to create a combat form that basically made use of “agricultural” tools as weapon. It was this martial form developed by the peasant community that eventually was referred to as “Kobudo”. However, the validity of this story has been questioned by several martial art scholars since they have not been able to find strong evidence to support it. In addition, according to a few other scholars the “Kobudo” is extremely similar to “Karate”, since at times moves such as kick and empty hand technique may also be used by a fighter.
b. Weapon used in the Kobudo:
There are several weapons used and they are as follows:
- Rokushakubo: Is essentially a “six foot staff” also known as a “Bo”.
- Sai: Is basically a dagger shaped “truncheon”.
- Tonfa: A club possessing a handle.
- Kama: Is essentially a sickle.
- Nunchaku: Is basically “chained sticks”.
- Tekko: Is essentially “steelknuckle”.
- Tinbe-Rochin: Is basically a “shield and spear”.
- Surujin: Essentially a “weighted” chain.
- Tambo: Is a “short stick”.
- Hanbo: Is a “middle length staff”.
- Eku: Is a “boat Oar”.
c. Technique involved in the Kobudo and training availability:
In terms of technique, the fighters in “Kobudo” make use of weapons that are essentially used in farming while fighting each other. In addition, at times moves used in karate such as kicks and empty hand techniques are also used in this form of combat. As for training centers/schools, there are a number of them available especially around Japan for those interested in learning this “weapon” based martial art form.
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