Ryu Kyu Kobudo is the Okinawan art of using faming tools as self defense weapons. These include the (bo) or staff also called kon or kun, the (sai), the kama, the nunchaku, the tonfa, and the eku/leku/kai (boat oar). These faming implements first gained prominence around 1314 A.D. when the Japanese government passed two laws which deeply outraged the people of Okinawa. First it barred all of the Ryu Kyu
inhabitants from owning or possessing any sort of lethal weapons. Second, it imposed on them a monumental tax increase. Deprived of any conventional means of physical protest or ways to retaliate. The people turned not only to empty handed martial arts forms for protection, but to their farm implements as well using them as weapons. They soon discovered that when combined with martial arts movements the long stick used to carry water on each end suddenly became a vicious weapon. The Okinawan people grew in strengh and power but kept the newfound art a secret until one night when the samurai soldiers of the Emperor Hashi discovered just how deadly the art of kobudo can be. The townspeople gathered with their newfound weapons and attacked the unsuspecting samurai while they were getting drunk on the beach. Not one Japanese soldier was alive when the dust settled. The Okinawan people had made a very strong point. They had become a force which to be reconed with.
The Okinawan people discovered that their farming tools were very useful as a self defense weapon against the samurai. However the banning of their natural weapons increased the development of various farming tools such as the Kama, Sai, Nunchaku, Bo and Tonfa which the Okinawans practice in secrecy. The Okinawan people just didn't settle on farming tools, they found that a regular boat Oar (eku) or Brass knuckles (tekko's) were just as effective also around the docking ports and sand against the samurai.
History: The Bo is one of the five weapons systematized by the early Okinawan developers of the style known as te (hand). In feudal Japan it was part of the bugei (early Japanese martial arts) and was used by samurai, priests, and commoners alike. Its six foot length made it an apt weapon against swordsman, disarming the opponent while allowing the user to remain at a safe distance.
The Bo evolved from a pole lanced across the shoulders to carry water or other loads, such as (fruits or vegetables) as a fighting instrument, it allowed blocking and striking against a range of weapons.
Now part of the budo, the Bo is still used in kata performance. Physical conditioning with the Bo improves balance and upper body strength. Remember a Bo can be found anywhere; a pool stick, a tree limb, a broom, a mop, etc..
The Sai: Present in Okinawan and other Asian weapon arsenals, the Sai was used to stab, block, trap and punch. Practitioners often carried a Sai in each hand, and a spare at the belt. The Okinawans would also throw the weapon.
The Sai is believed to have originated from basically nothing more than a pitchfork. As a weapon, it was used in conjunction with various karate stances and techniques, and in defense against sword attacks.
With sometimes dulled points, the Sai is now a karate training weapon. It tests accuracy in striking and quick counter techniques. It also develops strong shoulder, forearm and wrist strength.
The Kama: In 1470, when traditional weapons were confiscated by the Japanese military, Okinawan commoners utilized the Kama as a fighting blade, often attaching a chain to the base for greater reach. This longer weapon was known as a kusarigama.
The Kama was originally used for cutting grass or sugar cane. In close range fighting, the sickle could be used to trap an opponent's weapon, or for striking.
The Kama is most commonly used in Kata competition and demonstrations although It is also still used in Okinawa today as a farming tool. The forms include circular movements which improve blocking and countering techniques. This weapon will strengthen the wrist and forearm.
The Tonfa was developed as a weapon by the Okinawans, specifically for use in conjunction with karate. Two Tonfa were often used simultaneously, and were very efficient against armed assailants.
Originally a bean or rice grinder handle, the Tonfa's circular movements as a farm implement evolved into its rotating strikes as a weapon. The side of the Tonfa was used for blocking, and the ends for direct punches.
Now an advanced karate training aid, the Tonfa aids in development block-and-strike strategies and upper-body strength. It is also used on many police departments throughout the United States.
The Nunchaku: Developed in the 17th century by Okinawans after the Japanese gained occupation of their land, the nunchaku was one of many harmless looking weapons implemented at the time. The two equal sections were originally held together by horse hair and could be used against armed or unarmed assailants.
The nunchaku was originally an agricultural tool used for threshing grain. As a weapon, it was used in conjunction with various stances and techniques. The sticks could be used for spearing or striking, and the horse hair rope could choke , block, or trap.
The nunchaku is a popular weapon for demonstrations. It is also used as a weapon of self-defense by karate stylists and some law enforcement agencies.
The Eku: is nothing more than a boat Oar used for rowing a boat. This hidden weapon was very assessable to the Okinawan people around the beaches and docks.
The Okinawans would use this boat Oar very effectively around the beaches when they were being attacked by the samurai warrior. The Oar or Eku would be used by shovelling or kicking sand into the eyes of the samurai warrior, blinding him while they make a killing blow. The Oar or Eku kept the Okinawan people at a safe distance from the samurai warrior, because of the lenght of the Oar and the skilled retreating tactics of the Okinawan people. This weapon can be found being proformed by any Kobudo practitioners of traditional Okinawan and Japanese styles.
The Seishi-Ryu Karate Kobudo School teaches the (Oar or Eku) to high level practitioners of Kobudo. This weapon conditions the body for quickness and strength for greater mobility. The Oar or Eku is rarely seen or done in the public eye, because it mentally challenges young students minds.