Kobudo Program


kobudoKobudo means literally “way of the ancient martial arts”, and is a defensive martial art that uses Okinawan traditional weapons. It originated from the need of unarmed people to defend themselves from those who weren’t. This was the case of the farmers of Okinawa to whom it was prohibited the possession of military weapons (katana gari) during two long periods, remaining defenseless of the abuses of the armed soldiers. Under these circumstances they learned to use their agricultural implements as weapons.

The practice of Kobudo improves the health and the practice of other martial arts. It favors a balanced muscular development, strengthens the joints and improves the coordination, the self-control and the concentration of its practitioners.

Our Kobudo style is called Joshin ryu and includes the use of the following weapons: Bo, Jo, Tanbo, Sai, Nunchaku, Kama, Tonfa and Eku.


A Bo is a weapon in the shape of a long stick generally made of wood (oak, bamboo, etc). They vary in length, weight, flexibility or decoration. It can be so rustic as a branch of a tree or so decorated as a work of art. The standard measure of the Bo is about 180 centimeters. In our style it has an oval form, as if it was a prolongation of the forearm. In Okinawa it took its origin as a weapon from a work instrument of the Kyakusho (farmers), which used it to balance the weighed loads they had to carry in their shoulders.

The Jo or Yo is a cane of approximately 1,20 m of length. According to a very spread legend, at the beginning of the 17th century Muso Gonnosuke Katsuyoshi created the Jo after a defeat in a singular combat with the famous Miyamoto Musashi. ¬†Katsuyoshi was fighting with a Bo against both Musashi’s katanas. Recognizing the advantage of handling a shorter weapon, Katsuyoshi fought once again later against Musashi and won by means of the use of the new short cane.

The Tanbo is a short wooden stick of approximately 40 cm. In general it is said that its measure should be the length that covers the forearm exceeding the elbow and standing out of the hand that holds it. The origin of this weapon is confused. For some schools it is a utensil that replaced the Tessen(Fan) or the Jutte in the trainings, and for others it is rather a Tanto(knife), or a Wakizashi (short katana). There is also another hypothesis that says that it comes from the Hana-Neji, a short wooden stick that high-level samurai used to control disobedient horses

sai-weaponThe Sai is like a dagger without edge but with a sharp top, with two long lateral protections (tsuba in Japanese) also sharp-pointed, joined to the hilt. It was created from a primitive type of plough and imported from China to Okinawa.

The Nunchaku is formed basically by two very short sticks 3 to 6 dm long, joined at their ends by a rope. There are three very recognized hypotheses about the cause of the invention of the Nunchakus. The first one says that they were used by the women to colect the highest fruits of the trees, throwing them up in order to break the union between the stem and the fruit. The second one says that they were used as bridle for the horses and finally it is also said that it was used to peel the rice, to separate the grain from the straw.

The Kama is a sickle with a long handle that is used for reaping cereals. The difference with the western sickle is its curvature, which begins in the handle. It was used as a weapon by the farmers in the year 1314, when they rebeled themselves against the oppression of the king Tamagusuku.

The Tonfa is basically a bludgeon of wood with handle and is used in pairs. In its origins, the tonfa was a tool used to strike the grains of cereals to take the rind from them, or according to other sources, a handle to turn the wheels of the mills. The length of the tonfa has to be lightly superior to that of forearm.

The Eku was an oar. It is divided in two areas, a handle that is used as a Bo and a sheet with sharp edges that can cut if used with velocity and power. Its measures are: the length of the handle is the distance between the temple and the bone of the hip. The diameter of the handle is approximately 32 mm (the same as the Bo’s). The width of the spade is between 100 and 110 mm. The length of the spade is 70% of the lenght of the handle. Between the spade and the handle there are about 120 mm.

Published at 19 of May, 2015 | By | No comments | In the category | With the next tags