The Kobudo | Kobudo History | Origin of Kobudo | Kobudo Philosophy | Way of Ancient Weapons | Kobudo Masters | Weapons and Kata | Aikibudo and Kobudo | Kobudo Stick Styles | Bo Weapon | Kama Weapon | Nunchaku Weapon | Tonfa Weapon | Sai Weapon
Budo is the term used in Japan to refer to martial arts. Bujutsu means to emphasize a combative technique. And Kobudo term, simple: ancient or old â€œKo” martial â€œBuâ€ way â€œDoâ€. This term appears more often in the West associated with Okinawa weapons systems.
However in Japan it is equally likely to refer to the classical warrior traditions and they are many. Kobudo, Kobujutsu, Koryu Bujutsu and Koryu Budo, all they are linked together. Koryu refers to classical or traditional school. It used to distinguish modern Gendai system from classical, as Jutsu (how to apply) from Do (way to apply).
JAPAN MAINLAND: A large group of different status society is behind establishing the Japanese Kobudo. They were employed or master less samurai, war priests and peasants.
We register here very different kind of weapons as swords, sticks, farmer tools, etc. The reason is that higher society established a different Bu jutsu as lower society people. In Japanese Kobudo mainly developed: Ken jutsu, Iai jutsu, Jo jutsu, Hanbo jutsu, Kusarigama jutsu and So jutsu.
Wider popularity of classical martial arts started by demonstration of Jo jutsu in 1902.
Second demonstration was in 1927, sponsored by Imperial Department Police. In 1930 Kobudo-ka from all over the country gathered when First All-Japan Kobudo Taikai was held.
Takayama Shimizu and Otofuji Ichizo shihan demonstrated Jo, Kusarigama and rope techniques. In 1935 Nihon Kobudo Shinkokai (Society for the promotion of Japanese Classical Martial Arts and Ways) was founded by Matsumoto Manabu. Nihon Kobudo Shinkokai, and the Nippon Kobudo Kyokai, top two organizations of Classical martial arts in Japan represents Kobudo. All this as all history of Japanes Budo is very well recorded in write form.
RYU KYU ARCHIPELAGO: The origin of Ryu Kyu martial arts is shrouded in mystery sometimes. What is certain is that it developed along with Buddhism in China and was practiced in the temples. One of it was Shaolin in Heian province in south-east China. Shaolin called Shorinji in Japanese, pine forest. Some of techniques (Chinese legacy) later transferred to Okinawa. A small string of islands called the Ryu Kyu situated in the China Sea about half way between Southern Japan and Fukien Province of China.
Okinawa being the largest was in the middle of major trade route between Japan, China and south Asia. Historically Ryu Kyu was an independent kingdom, but it was strongly influenced by Chinese culture. Okinawa established a tributary relationship with China, which allowed Okinawa martial artists to study in China (and to train with Chinese martial artists visiting Okinawa).
The Okinawa’s â€“ Uchinanchu were a peace loving people, but like others they had to protect themselves from thieves and pirates, especially when on the merchant ships sailed the China Sea. They had their own early self defense art called “Te”. Due to the lack of written history, there is evidence that it began in the year 835 A.D., when Saint Chito went to the Okinawa Islands. In the twelfth century the islands were divided into three kingdoms. The Coronation of King Eiso occurred in 1260 A.D. and the introduction of Buddhism to Okinawa is recorded about this time. In 1392 AD 36 of Bin Bun (Chinese) families took residence in Kume (Village Mura of Naha City) and practiced martial arts in extreme secrecy.
In 1428 Sho Hashi united all the kingdoms (Sanzan) again. During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries trade flourished and the influence of China was very strong. In fact for a long time Okinawa paid tribute to the Chinese. At that time all weapons were barred from the common people.
This situation led to an increase in the development of empty hand fighting techniques as well as a strong development of weapons from tools of everyday use. All was done in great secrecy. There was also a very large Chinese community living in Okinawa including monks and martial masters. Later two Chinese martial experts visited Okinawa, Wanshu (1683) and Kushanku (1756) who was a military attachÃ©. A blending of the martial arts occurred and the Okinawa’s called this art “To te” (Chinese hand).
OKINAWA NEW ERA: In 1609 Okinawa was invaded by the Japanese Shimazu (Satsuma clan of Kyushu) and for 270 years remained their protectorate. Its monarchy and internal administrative bureaucracy including its civil police and royal garrison had been allowed to continue as a puppet state. In1872, the monarchy started to be dissolved by a Japanese Government that had itself moved out of the feudal era under Emperor Meiji’s leadership in 1868. The former Ryu Kyu king and his family were subsequently taken to Japan, where they continued for some time to live an aristocratic life.
Satsuma to keep control of the population they continued the ban and confiscated all weapons. Ryu Kyu Budo was taught privately and in secret. Kata were not to be shared and they were also guarded secret because it could be performed alone (or in groups) keeping the art alive. The techniques of Karate and Kobudo were also hidden in Okinawa dance. The ban was also a reason why oral transmit ion had priority to writing records. During the period of secrecy, there would be no open discussion or training, even within a family. It drove them more underground, but probably also increased the necessity for promoting the use of Kobudo and Te.
This time there were three distinct styles of karate developing, each named after the cities were it was practiced. Naha te, from the port city of Naha, Shuri te from the capital city of Shuri, and Tomari te, from the city of Tomari. Usually only the top student or protÃ©gÃ© would be taught the whole style. If there wasn’t a worthy student, the school had the potential to die out. Even in 1879 when the kingdom of Ryu Kyu was dissolved and became prefecture (province) of Japan, the custom of secrecy lingered on Okinawa until very recently.
It means not only doors and shutters were closed that it was impossible to peck in from outside. Masters were altered the form and crucial movements for some students. This reasoned Kata versions. However with this development, Emperor of Japan traveled to Okinawa and saw a demonstration of the karate, which was later accepted as a formal martial art. In 1936 Gichin Funakoshi opened the first karate dojo outside of Okinawa in Tokyo. Shinken Taira after World War II brought Ryu Kyu Kobudo to Japan. He preserved 36 Kata for next generation.You might also like: