The weapons used in Kobudo are those that an ordinary Okinawan would have had access to before the arrival of firearms and the onset of the modern age.
It is said that a ban on carrying recognised weapons such as swords, spears and ‘military’ implements during the middle ages led to the local population improvising with farm tools and domestic implements.
The Bo (Staff) is a central focus of Kobudo. Typically the Bo is 6 foot in length and just over an inch and a half in diameter. The Bo is tapered at either end to improve speed and focus of power. Kata taught include Shushi-No-Kun, Choun-No-Kun, Sakugawa-No-Kun, Tsuken-No-Kun and Shishi-No-Kun.
The Sai are three-pronged truncheons, commonly used for trapping and countering staffs and longer bladed weapons. Kata taught include Nicho-Sai, Sancho-Sai and Shinbaru-No-Sai.
The Tunkuwa (also known as Tonfa, Tunkua and Tuifa) are similar to the well-known police batons. Okinawan Tunkuwa are made from wood and provide an excellent weapon for blocking and striking. Kata taught include, Tunkuwa-Dai-Ichi and Tunkuwa-Dai-Ni.
Okinawan nunchaku are an incredibly fast, flexible weapon known for their disorientating and flowing movements. Techniques include strikes, controls and restraints, blocks, chokes and catches. Kata taught is the Nunchaku-No-Te.
This is the first bladed weapon encountered by students. The Kama allows hooking and slicing techniques to be utilised with blocks and strikes. Kata taught is Kama-No-Te.
A key industry in old Okinawa was fishing and transportation by river and sea. The Ieku provided both a tool and weapon for workers. Key techniques involve graceful slicing, cutting and striking where the swinging mass of the oar is used to great effect. Kata taught is Tsuken-Akachu-No-Ieku-De.
From black belt onwards students are introduced to some of the more advanced weapons including the Tinbei (shield) & Machete, Suruchin (stone and rope), Nunti-Bo (sai-mounted halberd), Manji Sai (manji-shaped sai), Sansetsukun (3 sectioned staff) and the Kuwa (Farming Hoe)
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