Saturday, March 1, 2008


I study a traditional Okinawa Karate and Kobudo system. When we receive our black belt, we receive two certificates one for karate and one for kobudo. We wear a special kobudo patch on our obi when we reach Shodan. We spend at least one half of our dojo time working on weapons. Kyu rank students need to know weapons kata for testing starting at 5th kyu. There are 29 weapon katas and 21 open hand katas listed on the Federation website.

This is my first picture. Much harder to format that I expected.

Tunfa is my favorite weapon with bo a close second. The tunfa pictured above are made by Shureido. I had this pair since 1993 and would be heartbroken if anything would happen to them. Everything about them is perfect: size, weight, color and handle. I remember competing in an open tournament in a black belt weapons division and demonstrating the second tunfa kata. After the event, one of the judges came up to me and asked to inspect my weapon. I politely handed over my tunfa and the judge examined them looking surprised. He then told me that he never saw anyone swing tunfa like I did. My heart sank for a moment because I thought I had done something wrong. He further explained that he thought my tunfa were modified and "spring loaded" because I flipped the tunfa so quickly.

We have been working on tunfa in the dojo lately. There are several students who need the first tunfa kata for their next test. It is important that the weapon becomes an extension of the person holding it. A tunfa needs to be swung with the entire body not just the arms. I think that it is easier to learn how to use a karate weapon if you practice the practical application. The other night we worked on defense against bo attacks.


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