What is Ryukyu Kobudo?

Like Karate, Ryukyu Kobudo is one of the traditional martial arts passed down in Okinawa. Our teacher Minowa Katsuhiko sensei taught us that, “Karate and Kobudo are like two wheels on an axle.Both are needed for the car to run properly”.

As sensei said, if you remove Kobudo from your practice then your Karate will go off-track, and if you remove Karate from your Kobudo practice then you will never grasp Kobudo.

Ryukyu Kobudo emerged from the three-kingdom’s period which were: Nanzan, Chuzan and Hokuzan. During this time Kobudo was said to have been brought to Okinawa via Southern China (Fuzhou). Afterwards, in 1421, King Shohashi unified the three kingdoms and the tradition was passed down by the respective lords of each village. In 1609, the Shimazu clan invaded Okinawa and the power of the royal family declined. Many warriors left for the country-side which further spread the art of Kobudo.

Ryukyu Kobudo during the Three-Kingdom’s period frequency involved “real combat” which included many domestic conflicts as well as decades of continuous warfare. In fact, some of the staff kata that are currently practiced in modern Kobudo reflect the name of people during this era.

Yabiku Moden founded the ‘Ryukyu Kobujutsu Association’ in 1914. One of his best students, Taira Shinken, went on to establish the ‘Ryukyu Kobudo Study Group’ on August 15, 1933. In 1940 Taira became an instructor in Ryukyu Kobudo and renamed the association “Ryukyu Kobudo Hozon Shinko Kai” in order to preserve and promote Ryukyu Kobudo.

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