Preserving Kobudo in 21st Century

Kobudo is one of the most interesting forms of martial arts. The name of the discipline literally translates as Okinawan martial arts, pointing to the origin of this art. It must be noted that martial arts are a philosophy in the East and they have only been turned into a form of entertainment by the West. There are many weapons used in Kobudo, though, and despite this belligerent appearance, Kobudo is a philosophy of peace.

 

Bildergebnis für Kobudo

If you are a practitioner of Kobudo, you can use a number of weapons, such as rokushakubo, sai, tonfa, kama, nunchaku, tekko, tinbe-rochin, and surujin. Each weapon is extremely difficult to master and hence the beauty in being skilled with any of these items.

The slight danger of hurting oneself adds to the beauty of the craft itself. It’s important to note that Kobudo doesn’t refer to the weapons or fighting itself, but rather to a system of morals that was present in feudal Japan.

How Did It Come to Be?

Interestingly enough, weapons were born out of pure necessity. When the Satsuma samurai clan conquered the Okinawan island and added it to Japan, farmers were immediately forbidden from caring weapons. However, the locals were inventive and they quickly learnt how to shape everyday tools into serviceable and somewhat dangerous weapons.

Since Kobuto was a mixed system of self-defence and morals, a lot of it was derivative, but it was ultimately polished by the noble class in Okinawa. Kobudo actually gave rise to karate itself and today some practitioners would rather refer to Kobudo as just that rather than „Kobudo Karate“.

The bear-hand martial art was studied for the sake of reliance and to minimise the chances of harm or accidental killings. Kobudo continued to evolve and it has been changing to this day to include elements of bare-hands fighting techniques. Still, practitioners prefer to teach the classic form of the art which focuses on mastering the weapons above all else.

The Applicability of Kobudo in 21st Century

It can easily be agued that Kobudo has no place today. Its somewhat belligerent nature is definitely looked down upon, but the fact is that Kobudo is just a form of feudal system of life. The use of weapons was mastered solely for the purpose to inspire respect and to make people capable of defending themselves. The instances where Okinawans had to fight using their newly-mastered craft are few and in between. If Kobudo is to disappear, it would be a big loss for the cultural heritage of the region.

Which Weapons of the Art Are the Most Interesting?

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Similarly, in Kobudo, you need to pay special attention to each individual weapon. They are all quite unique and somewhat difficult to master in the long-term. There’s something else – you can actually help Okinawa preserve this rare and exciting sport.

All you need to do is pick a weapon and apply yourself to it. Let’s entertain the thought for just a moment. Which weapon do you think will fit you best? Is it the meaning staff, known as the Bo, or is it a completely different weapon, such as the sickle.

By trying to use these weapons yourself, without going to any extremes, of course, you can develop a true appreciation about how difficult it is to master the craft and why the culture of old Okinawa deserves to be saved and preserved.

There are over 15 different weapons today that take while to master and many Okinawans continue to practice the art in a bid to master it, but more importantly – pass it onto others as a way to preserve the region’s traditions. This is a commendable aspiration and definitely something that deserves your respect.

Conclusion

If you are interested in studying Kobudo, you will get a brilliant chance to learn an old craft that is more about a way of life rather than causing others harm. It would be a pity to see Kobudo disappear, but as long as there are people who are interested in the traditions and culture of Japan. Dedicate yourself to a long and happy life and preserve Kobudo – whoever you are and wherever you live.