Kobudo - weapon art

Kobudo is the generic term of all japanese weapon arts. On the islands of Okinawa lots of martial arts developed. Some of them are practised without the use of weapons, some of them use working tools as weapons (generic term: Kobujutsu) because the wearing of weapons was forbidden in general for the Okinawians. Some examples of such weapons are the Bo (long staff), Tonfa (handle of malt-mill), Kama (small sickle) or nunchaku (flail). The fractious Okinawians are trying to strike back against the continuing repressions of the (Japanese) authorities in this way.
The staff itself is one of the oldest weapons of mankind. It is used since primeval times for militant conflicts or for hunting. It can be used as mace or truncheon.

If a student in Japan would be introduced in the art of weapon, he first had to practice the use of the Bo. Not until he managed the handling of the Bo, he could learn to master other weapons (e.g. the sword). The use of the Bo eased the access to the other weapon forms.
Nevertheless the reputation of the Bo was not that good between the warriors in old Japan, because the art of the staff could be learned very fast. Bojutsu and the fabrication of the Bo was relatively easy. The staff was not directly recognizable as a weapons as well, and it was widespread in general public. The wearing of weapons in olf Japan was only granted to the Samurai - the aristocracy. Therefore the Bo was used by the simple citizen such as farmers or merchants e.g. as walking-staff. Hence they could try to repel the assault of robbers or samurai.

The exercises are carried out with a staff about six feet long, with a thickness of about one inch. Other sizes of the staff are the Tanbo (10 inch), Hanbo (around 3 feet) and the Jo (around 4 feet).
The advantage of the staff is compared to other weapons that every part of it can be used for attack or defense in every distance. Hence it seems that the art of the staff could be learned very easy. However Kobudo requires a very high degree of concentration and self-control from the practitioner. Every mistake during practice can result in partly massive injuries.
The contents of a training session could be the following: spinning techniques, basics (learning to handle, to step, to strike), Kata (predefined sequences of steps and strikes), partner exercises and fighting. The more advanced the practitioner, the more complicated and advanced the exercises are.
Through exploitation of mass and angular momentum the Bo is very effective in long distance fights. Lots of the techniques can be executed with normal everyday objects such as belt, bag and umbrella. The use of the Bo as a weapon of self-defense should therefore not be underestimated.

Our style, Kenshinryu Kai is founded by Soke Teruo HAYASHI (1924 - 2004).
Kobu-Do is constituent of our everyday training life. We practise mainly with Bo and Tonfa.
Chef-Instructor in Germany is Ren-shi Girolamo Vermiglio, 7. Dan Karate-Do, 4. Dan Kobudo.