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We enjoy sharing knowledge and subjects around Kobudo and the martial way.

By Jikishin Kobudo, Jun 22 2016 11:25AM

This outstanding piece of footage claimed to be from 1897 shows young men wearing bougu and fighting with shinai. If one looks closely you can see several insights into the martial experience of the time.

The men are clearly having "fun" and at first we thought this was theatrical, but on closer inspection we can see advanced martial arts techniques being used.

Watch carefully at the start and you will see the Kusarigama being wielded. For those of us who use the Kusarigama this film is a priceless treasure. Just who is the Sensei sat down? We may never know. but we will search to identify him. Can you help?

See the film here (link to YouTube)

By Jikishin Kobudo, Jun 22 2016 11:18AM

Okinawa is well known for its citizens living long lives. It has the largest percentage of its population living to over 100 years old in the world. This is put down to the food that they eat, their joyous outlook to the world, the absence of industry and their fondness of physical activity. In Okinawa, body image and health is very important. Traditionally men would keep their body in shape through the practice of martial arts, whilst women would train in dance.

During the 20th century the Okinawan martial arts (previously known as Chinese Kung-Fu) were divided by two terms to give them a definitive Okinawan Identity. These terms were Karate and Kobudo. Karate is well known and very popular as a worldwide Japanese cultural export, whereas Kobudo (a multi-weaponed martial art) is lesser known and less widely practiced.

Hojo-Undo forms an essential part of both Karate and Kobudo training and can be summarised as the process of strengthening and conditioning the body to make it strong and supple enough to undertake the complicated and extravagant movements involved in martial arts practice.

However what is unique to Kobudo and cannot be found in Karate are the constant impressions that are left upon the body through the regular use of various weapons. The weapons have different weights, sizes and structures that require unique approaches in handling, manipulation and power generation. For this reason is suggested that Kobudo offers unique fitness benefits and the physiques of the dedicated Kobudo-Ka are unique.

Jikishin Kobudo is currently researching the different training benefits of each weapon through consultation with academics and fitness professionals and will publish the results in the coming months. This article acts as an introduction to this work and begins the dissemination of its research with some insights into the general benefits of Kobudo as a collective art.


Kobudo has an excellent position in the promotion of health, fitness and the physical condition. As an entity, it offers the practitioner two types of human movement – Moving oneself and moving an object. The concept of how to optimally move as a human may often be lost as a focus in modern gyms; however this is the very essence of traditional martial arts.

Kobudo promotes the stimulation of both slow and fast muscle twitch fibres in the muscles and seeks to delegate a technique's functional requirements to each area of the anatomy. The legs provide the key powerbase and the engine of the body. Sunken stances support the building of tensile holding strength where the quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors, stabilising muscles and connective tissue around the knees and ankles are loaded with the body weight moving with the legs in many configurations of flexion and extension.

The upper body provides the dexterity, control and accurate delivery of the technique and are where more explosive movements are used, once the inertia of the bodyweight has been overcome by the legs stepping - The fast twitch stimulus of the upper thoracic and shoulder girdle during strikes is greatly enhanced. Although unloaded, the speed, power and neurological overload can cause a response of growth hormone to stimulate the repair of micro tears in the muscle similar to many field and track athletic disciplines.

The core and trunk region has a great demand placed on it - Acting in a similar way to a 'car chassis' as it provides the taut structure to brace the body for an explosive movement or keeping the body upright during dynamic movements. The added rotations, concaving and expansive movements add great health to the spine in addition to repetitious flexion of the abdomen, serratus, lats and rhomboid structures to strengthen the overall trunk security and capability.

In no particular order, and of course this is not an exhaustive list, the practice of Kobudo offers benefits across all types of fitness

• The capacity to produce fast, explosive movement of maximal power during strikes, jumps and blocks.

• Pure holding strength of connective and muscular tissue from sunken stances and steps, pressing and core strength.

• The increase of cardiovascular capacity during fast, repetitious kata, hojo-undo and kumi-waza to elevate the heart rate and put pressure on the demand for exceptional technique under time pressure.

• The range of movement in joints and the undoing of modern life in offices and cars such as the cultivation of hip, ankle and thoracic mobility.

• An increase in the flexibility of the muscles during dynamic movements – Raising the internal temperature of the body and increasing the elasticity of muscular tissue.

• The dextrous nature of using and manipulating the many different weapons of Kobudo is excellent for spatial and hand-eye coordination. As an extension of motor-neurone control, or the ‘mind-muscle connection’, the executing of techniques to target is trained and trained again during kata, hojo-undo and kumi-waza. This is demonstrated as a call and response mechanism, the brain recognises a stimulus and responds in an accurate and effective manner.

• The training of balance combines the holding strength in the trunk, hip girdle and legs and the internal awareness of how the body is postured. This can be demonstrated where posture and bodyweight is turned to maximum leverage such as in an Osae Uke (or ‘pressing’ block) In the short-term this allows the correct stance and execution of technique and in the long-term can be a deciding factor between healthy joints and the acceleration of worn knees, shoulders and key areas of the body.

Of course in addition to the benefits of physical training come risks. The risks, either due to vulnerabilities found in an individual’s physique, the mis-judged execution of a technique, poor preparation in the warm-up or the level of intensity of practice. We can never eliminate risks in the dojo or on the sporting field, however the healthy relationship between Sensei (teacher) and Kohai (student) must incorporate what is most suitable for them. This element can transcend the practice of martial techniques and move to look to the journey of the individual student on their path.

By Jikishin Kobudo, Jun 22 2016 11:15AM

The Shodokan dojo of Seiko Higa is one of the most important in the history of Okinawan martial arts. For some this was the spritual centre of the renewal of Okinawan martial arts following the anhilation of Okinawa by America during World War 2. Seiko Higa (1898-1966) became known as the Master of Naha-Te and the list of Masters who trained and taught at the Shodokan is extensive.

One of these is Master Shinpo Matayoshi, who following his return to the island from Japan, lived in the Shodokan for a period whilst he got his family back on their feet. Matayoshi Shinpo was greatly respected because of his father and also because of his own martial arts skill and knowledge. He became an imposing figure seen around the Shodokan through his sheer ability and affable character.

Master Matayoshi made musical instruments as a way of providing his family a living, but he also began to teach martial arts. He taught Kobudo at the Shodokan dojo, but not as many believe under the authority of Higa Sensei. They were family friends and Matayoshi Sensei hired the dojo from Higa in order to deliver instruction.

This image shows Matayoshi Sensei with a young Tetsuhiro Hokama, posing in the Shodokan with Kobudo weapons.

By Jikishin Kobudo, Oct 18 2015 11:00AM

It is difficult to conceive a full combat strike to the high section that does not carry a risk of causing fatality. Osteoarchaeologists find many causes of violent death in history resulting from a single head strike.

Although the brain is reasonably well protected from the occasional bumps of day to day life, being attacked by a weapon with force under the control of a malevolent adversary will almost certainly lead to an unfavourable result.

Certain parts of the skull are particularly vulnerable to fracture and our major auditory and visual senses are also easily disrupted. The greatest danger is of significant brain trauma, which will almost certainly see the end of a feudal fighter. A good fighter should be able to keep their head out of trouble through evasive body manoeuvres and good distance; however a series of compound attacks can open up the target.

Trained fighters know the risks of a battle and the ease with which serious damage can be caused. As such they do not want to be put in the situation of having to risk injuring another if at all necessary. For this reason the strongest avoid fights unless absolutely required. In some cases they may be seen to walk away or back down from conflict. This is described by the Japanese as ‘Make Ruga Kachi’ 負けるが勝ち(Losing but Winning).

The high section striking targets are:

TENDO – Crown of the head

TENTO – Fontanelle


MIMI – Ears

DOKKO – Behind the ears

SEIDON – Eye socket

MIKEN – Between the eyes

GANSEI – Eyeball

JINCHU – Philtrum

GEKON – Front of the jaw


NODO – Larynx

HICHU – Base of the throat

KEICHU – Nape of the neck

SHOFU – Side of the neck

SHONO - Cerebellum

By Jikishin Kobudo, Oct 1 2015 11:00AM

Is this the most rare and important literature on Kobudo found any where in the world?

These volumes titled 'Ryukyu Kobujutsu: Jokan-Gekan' written by Inoue Motokatsu in 1972-4 and reprinted in 1983 go into intricate detail concerning the complete system of Kobujutsu and provide the only comprehensive record of a Kobudo school created by a legitimate Headmaster in existence.

The scale of the contents is staggering, all of the Kata and a great deal of bunkai is shown here, including historical descriptions of the weapons and of the people who inspired and contributed to the development of Kobujutsu in the world as we know it.

Thank you to Don Warrener for sending this book to us here at Jikishin Kobudo. It will take pride of place amongst our collection. We are only too aware that all Okinawa Kobudo and Ryukyu Kobujutsu styles have a common history, use common weapons, many of the same kata, and largely derive from the same Masters. Irrespective of badge or school, we are as brothers and sisters descendants and custodians in the same family.


Shushi no Kon Sho, Shushi no Kon Dai, Sakugawa no Kon Sho, Sakugawa no Kon Dai, Soeishi no Kon Sho, Sueyoshi no Kon, Tsukenshitahaku no Sai, Hamahiga no Sai, Chatanyara no Sai, Jigen no, Sai, Hamahiga no Tonfa, Yarasho no Tonfa, Kanegawa no Nichougama Dai, Kanegawa no Timbei, Testuko no Kata, Nunchaku Sho no Kata, Surushin (Nage), Soeishi no Kon Dai, Urasoe no Kon, Sesoku no Kon, Hakuson no Kon Dai, Raigo no Kon, Tsukensunakake no Kon, Yakaa no Sai, Hakutagawa no Sai, Tawada no Sai, Nunchaku Dai no Kata, Toyama no Nichougama, Kanegawa no Nichougama Sho, Surushin (Tan), Yonegawa no Kon, Chinenshichanaka no Kon, Tsuken Bo,

Choun no Kon, Chatanyara no Kon, Hakuson no Kon Sho, Shushi no Kon Koshiki, Sakugawa no Kon Chu, Kojo no Sai, Kyushakubo no Kata, Sanshakubo no Kata, Sansokan no Kata

By Jikishin Kobudo, Sep 27 2015 11:00AM

The origins to our style of Kobudo claims lineage from the elite fighters of the Kingdom of Ryukyu. This image (identified by Jikishin Kobudo) is of a scroll circa 1830 which shows the Ryukyuan 'Royal Guard' protecting the regal entourage as they visit Edo. The guards carry weapons and wear black outer jackets with white trousers, just as we still wear in our Kobudo practice today. Of note for those who practice Okinawan martial arts, is the colour of the Obi in this scroll - red - the colour signifying a completion of training or full mastery.

It is reassuring to see such pictorial links with the past and know that some traditions are being continued with authenticity. The challenge is for us to ensure that the transmission methods, practical techniques and emotional approaches to Ryukyu martial arts remain true, when so many 'masters and non-masters' seek to try and legislate the nature of the arts for personal financial benefit.

By Jikishin Kobudo, Sep 20 2015 11:00AM

According to the simple mathematics of a straight line, the closest attack point for your limbs (which emanate from the torso) are your opponent’s middle section targets or chudan. For that reason some may say they are the easiest targets.

Chudan can be divided into two areas - the torso and the arms. Whilst the arms are the most mobile part of the body, the torso is the most immobile and so strikes to the middle section form somewhat of a paradox.

If we ignore footwork, the arms must rely on their speed of movement to avoid attack whereas the torso is defended by hands, weapon or armour. Strikes to the fast moving arms may be a useful tactical option, in order to open up targets on the torso. Strikes to the hands and arms can immobilise your opponent and cause them to drop their guard or weapons.

Strikes to the torso can inflict significant and even mortal damage, but generally strikes to the middle section are useful if you want to end a fight without causing death. It is possible to injure an opponent sufficiently that they will not wish to continue the conflict Jigou Jitoku自業自得 (one’s action is one’s advantage).

Because injuries to the torso cannot be seen with the eyes, many ignorant martial artists strike each other to the torso with full force in training. This may be OK if four criteria are met: Fighters attacks are not too powerful, the musculature of the defender is developed, adrenaline is released in the defender, strikes are not targeted to vital points. However, according to common sense, attacks to the major organs in the body should always be avoided, as these can cause more complex and long term injuries and can lead to the development of diseases.

The middle section striking targets are:

DANCHU – Top of the sternum

SONU – Middle of the Sternum

KYOTOTSU – Base of the sternum

SUIGETSU – Solar-plexus

KOKANSETSU - Hip joint

INAZUMA – Above each hip

GANCHU – Below each nipple

MYOJI – Below the navel

KYOEI – Upper ribs

DENKO – Lower ribs

SODA – Upper spine

KATSUSATU – Central spine

JINZO – Kidney

KANZO – Liver

WANSUN – Upper arm


UDEKANSETSU – Inside the elbow

KOTE – Top of the wrist

SHUKO – Back of the hand

UCHIJAKUZAWA – Inside of the wrist

SOTOJAKUZAWA – Outside of the forearm

By Jikishin Kobudo, Sep 5 2015 11:00AM

It is the nature of weapons that their attacking focus can very quickly become redirected from high techniques to low techniques in a way that unarmed fighting cannot. In unarmed fighting your primary attacking tools (arms and legs) are rooted to the torso through the major joints (hips and shoulders), which makes them largely predictable to the trained fighter; whereas in weapon-based combat, your attacking tools are rooted to the highly mobile and more volatile wrist joints. As such, low-section attacks and defences feature heavily in Kobudo to a much higher proportion than in Karate.

This is just one reason among several why Kobudo is distinct from Karate and should not be practiced like it.

A large proportion of the Japanese/Okinawan approach to Kobudo (in comparison to the Chinese, Taiwanese and Philippino approach) is concerned with understanding the complex relationship between technique and target. It is understanding the right combinations of striking movement and attack points that allows those on a path of Budo to consider the principle of Seiryoku Zenyo 精力善用 (maximum efficacy, minimum effort).

The low section striking targets are:

KODENKO – Base of the spine

BITEI – Coccyx


USHIRO INAZUMA – Under the buttock

KINTEKI – Testicles

KISHO - Inguinal region

YAKO – Inside of the thigh

FUKOTO – Outside of the thigh

HIZA – Knee joint

KOKOTSU – Shin bone

SOBI– Base of the calf

AKIRESUKEN – Achilles tendon

UCHIKUROBUSHI– Inside of the ankle

KORI – Inside of the foot bridge

KUSAGAKURE – Outside of the foot bridge

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