KOBUDO (WEAPONS)

WEAPON DISPLAY
WEAPON DISPLAY
This page is designed, to give the history of our Kobudo (weapons) here at the Okinawan Karate-Do Academy. I have always had a fascination for weapons since the beginning of my martial arts career which started in 1984. I have been very fortunate to have studied with some great kobudo practitioners. Russell A. Coats & Michael Russell, Toshimitu Arakkali, Yoshitaka Taira (Matsubayashi-Ryu), Eberhard Welch, Rudolph Barfield & Tadashi Yamashita (Kobayashi-Ryu) Currently I am very honored to be studying with Sensei Neil Stolsmark 8th dan (Okinawan Kobudo Doushi Rensei Kai / Matayoshi Kobudo) Founder, Yoshiaki Gakiya, 8th Dan.

The Bo

The Bo is a staff of hardwood about 5 to 6 feet long. The bo is usually 1 inch in diameter and slighly tapered at the ends. It was originally used as a tool to carry loads and also served a fighting weapon when occasion demanded.

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The Nunchaku

The Nunchaku is an Okinawan weaon composed of two pieces of hardwood, octagon or round shaped. They are connected by rope or chain. The legnth of the weapon varies, but it is usually around 12 to 14 inches long. The ling varied in size from 1" to as much as 5". Earlier, the link was made of horsehair, leather, silk, or rop. Today, nylon cord or chain is most often used.The Tonfa is an old okinawan farming implement.

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The Eaku (Oar)

The Eaku is a wooden boat oar used by the fishermen of Okinawa against the sumarai of Japan. The Eaku is approximately 5 to 6 feet in legnth, with the top being 3 to 3-1/2 inches in width. The Guku was used for striking, slashing, blocking, and parrying from a distance. I t is also used to toss sand or dirt into the opponent's face.

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The Sai

The Sai is a short fork-like metal weapon approximately 15" to 22" in legnth and weighing about 3 lbs. The sai is primarily a defensive weapon, used to strike, poke, jab, or hook with the prongs. Often two or three sai were carried, one in each hand and a third at the waistband for reserve. The sai has a long history found in India, China, Malasia, and Indonesia; the weapon migrated to Okinawa, where it became one of the weapons of the early "TE" developers of Okinawa.

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The Kama

The Kama is an Okinawan rice harvesting implement. The kama was used either singly or in pairs, one in each hand. The kama was used for close-range combat where it could be employed to slash, hook, rake, chop, deflect or block. The kama has a short blade set perpendicular to a hardwood handle.

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The Tonfa

The Tonfa was used as a handle to manually operate a millstone when grinding rice. The legnth vaies between 14 to 22", with a 6" handle. When employed as a weapon, the tonfa permits punching or striking with the long end and the opposite is employed to jab. The tonfa comes in pairs and is also used to block and parry.

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Matsubayashi-Ryu Kobudo

The following weapons are the most common utilized by students of Matsubayashi-Ryu Kobudo. Students will usually practice with several weapons but select a single weapon in which to specialize. Shinei Kyan was a leading figure in the development of Matsubayashi- Ryu Kobudo. Bo:
The bo is a long wooden staff about 6 feet in length. Four of the bo kata often practiced in Matsubayashi-Ryu are "Shiromatsu No Kon", "Shirataro No Kon," "Sakugawa No Kon" and "Shusi No Kon." Sai:
The iron weapon, sai, which in olden days was used by officials to arrest criminals and to hold back crowds, was actually created to defend against attacks from swords, bo, nunchaku or tuifa.
One of the sai kata practiced in Matsubayashi-Ryu is called "Chomo Hanagusku No Sai." "Hanagusku" is the Okinawan pronunciation of "Hanashiro." Chomo Hanashiro taught sai kata to Shinei Kyan, one of the founding members of the Nagamine dojo. The kata is also called "Kyan No Sai."
Kyan Sensei developed the basic Sai Dai Ichi (Dantai No Sai) Kata, which was often performed by small groups in demonstrations.
“Sai Dai Ni”
Nunchaku:
The nunchaku is a pair of hard wooden sticks with a cord attached at the end. The centrifugal force produced by swinging the nunchaku makes it an effective weapon. It is often said that nunchaku were originally used in the rice thrashing process. However, it is more likely that they were derived from horse bridles or pull carts. “Shirataro No Nunchaku”
Tonfa or Tuifa:
Tonfa or Tuifa refers to two pieces of rectangular hard wood, each about 16 to 19 inches long, with a grip attached. It is often said that tonfa were used in connection with milling stones. Kama:
Kama are hand sickles which were originally used for agricultural purposes
World Matsubayashi Karate-Do Association.

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Kobayashi-Ryu Kobudo

Shugoro Nakazato began his study of weapons almost from the beginning of his training in 1935. He was trained in the sai, bo, nunchaku, tonfa, and nicho kama, but he specialized in Bojutsu for 4 years. Nakazato studied under Seiro Tanaki and he at one time been a student of Sanda Chinen. Bo
1.Shushi no kun
2.Sakugawa no kun
3.Sakugawa no kun sho
4.Sakugawa no kun dai
Sai
1.Nakima Kenkou Sensei No Sai Dai Ichi
2.Nakima Kenkou Sensei No Sai Dai Ni No Kata
3.Shugoro No Sai Dai Ichi No Kata
Tonfa
1.Shugoro No Tonfa
Nunchaku
1.No Nunchaku Dai Ichi
2.Tanaki No Nunchaku
Kama
1.Nakima No Kama
2.Shugoro No Kama
3.Nicho Kama Dai Ichi
Eku
1.Shugoro No Kai

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Matayoshi Kobudo

Shinko Matayoshi(1888-1947) spent 13 years in China studying Chinese weaponry, boxing and medicine. He learned bo, sai, kama, ieku, nunchaku and tunkua when he was in Shinbaru village, Chatan. He died in 1947 at the age of 59 and is remembered as being a fine martial artist.
Shinpo Matayoshi(-1997) He started his kobudo training under his father in 1934. He went on to become a kobudo instructor. In 1969 Shinpo opened his own dojo and called it Kodokan (Enlightened Way), in honour of his great father Shinko (True Light) Matayoshi. When Matayoshi passed, he selected Yoshiaki Gakiya, one of his senior and respected student to carry on his life work. At the Kodokan dojo Shinpo Matayoshi taught the weapons and kata listed below:
Bo
1.Shushi no kun
2.Choun no kon
3.Sakugawa no kun dai
4.Chiken (or Tsuken) no kon
5.Shishi no kon
Sai
1.Ni cho sai 
2.San cho sai
3.Shinbaru no sai
Tunkwa
1.Tunkwa dai ichi
2.Tunkwa dai ni
Nunchaku
1.Matayoshi No Nunchaku
Kama
1.Ni cho Kama
Eku
1.Tsuken Akachu No Eku

Nunti Bo
Kuwa
Surichin
Tekko
Tinbe
Nunti
Sansetsu kun

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The Tinbe

The tinbe-rochin consists of a shield and spear. It is one of the least known Okinawan weapons. The tinbe (shield) can be made of various materials but is commonly found in vine or cane, metal, or archetypically, from a turtle shell (historically, the Ryūkyū Islands' primary source of food, fishing, provided a reliable supply of turtle shells). The shield size is generally about 45 cm long and 38 cm wide. The rochin (short spear) is cut with the length of the shaft being the same distance as the forearm to the elbow if it is being held in the hand. The spearhead then protrudes from the shaft and can be found in many differing designs varying from spears to short swords and machete-style implements.

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The Kusari Gama

The kusarigama (鎖鎌?, "chain-sickle") is a traditional Japanese weapon that consists of kama (the Japanese equivalent of a sickle) on a metal chain (manriki) with a heavy iron weight at the end.
It is believed that kusarigama was developed by ninjas and guerrillas, modifying their farming tools for lethal effect. This is further evidenced by the kusarigama's dual function: a kama in one hand as a stabbing/slashing weapon, and the long ball and chain in the other hand used as a long flail believed to be designed for armored opponents such as samurai. However, though farmers often carried sickles as rather innocuous weapons during the feudal era of Japan, a kusarigama's purpose as a weapon was very obvious, so unlike a sickle, it could not be carried openly.
The art of handling the kusarigama is called kusarigamajutsu.
Attacking with the weapon usually entailed swinging the weighted chain in a large circle over one's head, and then whipping it forward to entangle an opponent's spear, sword, or other weapon, or immobilizing his arms or legs. This allows the kusarigama user to easily rush forward and strike with the sickle.
A kusarigama wielder might also strike with the spinning weighted end of the chain directly, causing serious or deadly injury to his opponent while still outside the range of the opponent's sword or spear.
Kusarigama have also been employed as counter-siege weapons, with the chain allowing the weapon to be retrieved after it was thrown downwards at an attacking force.
Many fictional accounts of kusarigama sometimes show fighters swinging the sickle with the chain, rather than the weighted end. Though entertaining, this is usually not a proper use of the weapon, as the sickle is likely to bounce off a target without causing much injury. One of the few exceptions to this is the Hōten-ryū discipline of the kusarigama.

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The Manji Sai

The sai is a three-pronged truncheon sometimes mistakenly believed to be a variation on a tool used to create furrows in the ground. This is highly unlikely as metal on Okinawa was in short supply at this time and a stick would have served this purpose more satisfactorily for a poor commoner, or Heimin. The sai appears similar to a short sword, but is not bladed and the end is traditionally blunt. The weapon is metal and of the truncheon class with its length dependent upon the forearm of the user. The two shorter prongs on either side of the main shaft are used for trapping (and sometimes breaking) other weapons such as a sword or bo. A form known as nunti sai, sometimes called
manji sai (due to its appearance resembling the swastika kanji) has the two shorter prongs pointed in opposite directions, with another monouchi instead of a grip.

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The Nunti Bo

The nunti bo is similar to a spear, but typically composed of a bo with a manji-shaped sai mounted on the end.

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The Sansetsu

The Three-Sectional Staff, Triple Staff, Three-part Staff, Sansetsukon in Japanese, or originally Sanjiegun (Chinese: 三截棍; Mandarin Pinyin: sān jié gùn; Jyutping: saam1 zit3 gwan3), is a Chinese flail weapon that consists of three wooden or metal staffs connected by metal rings or rope. Also known in Japanese as sansetsukon, the weapon is also known as a "coiling dragon staff," or in Chinese as a "pan long gun" (蟠龍棍). A more complicated version of the two section staff, the staves can be spun to gather momentum resulting in a powerful strike, or their articulation can be used to strike over or around a shield or other defensive block.

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The Tekko

The Tekkō (鉄甲?, lit. "iron", "back of hand"), which originated in Okinawa, Japan,[citation needed] falls into the category of a "fist-load weapon". By definition, a fist-load weapon increases the mass of the hand so that, given the physical proportionality between the fist's momentum and its mass, it increases the force the bearer can deliver. Some fist-load weapons may also serve, in the same manner as the guard on a sword, to protect the structure of the bearer's hand.

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KOBUDO (WEAPONS)

This page is designed, to give the history of our Kobudo (weapons) here at the Okinawan Karate-Do Academy. I have always had a fascination for weapons since the beginning of my martial arts career which started in 1984. I have been very fortunate to have studied with some great kobudo practitioners. Russell A. Coats & Michael Russell, M. Arakaki, Yoshitaka Taira (Matsubayashi-Ryu), Eberhard Welch, Rudolph Barfield & Tadashi Yamashita (Kobayashi-Ryu) And currently studying side by side with Brian Little under the tutelage of Yoshiaki Gakiya & Michael Calandra (Matayoshi Kobudo).

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