Bo " Sai " Nunchaku " Kama " Eku " Tonfa

Forbidden by their warlords to carry swords or weapons, the ancient Okinawan people looked to their everyday farm implements as a way to protect themselves from vengeful samuri. In their skilled hands a walking staff or pole to carry water became a powerful defensive weapon, sickle could not only cut down rice stalks but men as well, and even a simple oar could mean the difference between life and death. As with karate, kobudo (the ancient art of Okinawan weapons), was practiced in secret, hiding self-defense techniques in simple everyday movements and even dance. Eventually, great masters of each weapon arose, katas were developed and systems were formed. Later, as peace prevailed and Okinawa became a Japanese protectorate, kobudo also came out of hiding and was practiced openly. But, as modernization came to the farms and cities these ancient "tools of the trade" became obsolete and were no longer needed for everyday survival.

Kyoshi Herten at OKI is continuing to practice this ancient traditional martial art. He studied kobudo with his first sensei, Shugoro Nakazato, while he was in the Armed Forces in Okinawa. Through the years he has studied with other kobudo masters to expand his knowledge and skill. Recently, he organized the USA Kobudo Association to promote unity and to preserve the ancient art of Okinawan Kobudo.

The goal of the association is to practice and promote this ancient art. All of the weapons used are taught with their original self-defense principals intact. Along with traditional katas, weapon to weapon drills are taught to sharpen basic skills and show how the weapon was actually used. Running water and efficient machinery may have replaced the old farm tools, but nothing looks as strong and beautiful as oak and steel in the hands of a great kobudo practitioner. Although not practical for today's society, kobudo teaches a special awareness and respect above and beyond empty hand.

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