KOBUJUTSU means “the ancient art of the weapons” and it refers to as the way of becoming skilled in the art those weapons.
Ryukyu Kobujutsu is a weapons system from Okinawa. It includes the effective use of Bo, Sai, Tonfa, Nunchaku, Kama, Tekko, Tinbe and Rochin, and Surujin. Like karate, Kobujutsu training is divided into Kihon (basics), Kata (forms), and Kumite (fighting).
Kobujutsu has its beginning about 700 years ago. The masters of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries were worried that the techniques and kata were being lost and made great efforts to restore and promote Ryukyu Kobujutsu. One of these masters was Shinken Taira. He compiled and authenticated 42 Weapons kata, spread across 8 weapons.
The Ryukyu Kobujutsu appeared in history approximately 700 years ago. It is said that it was the period of heroes. With the wide spreading of Kobujutsu , many great teachers such as Soeishi, Sakugawa, Chatanyara appeared in the 17th ,18th and 19th centuries
In Taisho era [around the beginning of 20th century], some masters were deeply concerned about this heritage and made great efforts to restore and promote Ryukyu Kobujutsu.
Subsequently, the late master Shinken Taira, who was a disciple of master Moden Yabiku sensei, had comprehensively compiled 42 Weapon Kata which consist of eight kinds of Weapons specified previously and founded The Ryukyu Kobujutsu Hozon Shinko Kai a body for the preservation of this ancient art.
All of these Kata had been taught to the late master Kancho Inoue Motokatsu who was the closest disciple of master Taira and later president of RYUKYU KOBUJUTSU HOZON SHINKO KAI.
Grandmaster Shinken Taira 1897-1970.
Born in Kunejima, Okinawa, Taira sensei trained Shuri-te Karate with Funakoshi Senseiunder Master Itosu and Master Azato. He learned weapons from Master Yabiku Moden.
In 1935 he formed the Kobujutsu Research Society. In 1940 he changed the name to Ryukyu Kobujutsu Hozon Shinko Kai ( The Society for the Promotion and Preservation of Traditional Ryukyu Martial Arts).
Kancho Inoue Motokatsu 1918-1993.
Born in Tokyo in December 1918. Inoue O’Sensei studied martial arts from when he was eight. His first teacher was Fujita Seiko Sensei the 14th headmaster of Kouga Ninja Ryu He studied Karate under Konishi Yasuhiro, founder of Shindo Shizen Ryu. O’Sensei started training with Taira Sensei at the age of 20. Taira Sensei made Inoue O’Sensei president of Ryukyu Kobujutsu Hozon Shinko Kai. O’Sensei studied Aikido under Shioda Gozo Sensei one of the most senior disciples of Grandmaster Ueshiba Mohirei
Kancho Mamoru Miwa is the Master and Founder of the Tenshinkan Style.
He is a 10th Dan Black Belt Master and holder of a Masters Degree in Kobu-Jitsu, Aiki-Jitsu and Karate.
Kancho Miwa’s Grandfather was a Samurai (Emperor’s Warrior). His father also was a Shogun Samurai Guard to the Emperor until his retirement. Kancho Miwa started Martial Arts training at the age of five.
Kancho Miwa trained in Aiki-do, Ju-jitsu, Goshinjitsu, Kobudo and Bushido (Ninjitsu). Kancho Mamoru Miwa is extremely proficient in kobujutsu and kenjutsu and Tenshinkan Karate puts strong emphasizes on sabaki and aikijutsu
Hanshi Hans Haupt.
8th Dan Tenshinkan Karate and World Liaison Officer under Kancho Mamoru Miwa. Hanshi Hans was a disciple of O’Sensei Inoue Motokatsu in the mid 70s and obtained 4th in Ryukyu Kobujutsu Hozon Shinko Kai. Hanshi Hans also studied Ju-Jutsu Saito Ryu and obtained the rank of 4th Dan. Hanshi Hans founded Tenshinkan Ryukyu Kobujutsu to honour Kancho Mamoru Miwa
Shihan-dai Joe Bracone.
5th Dan Tenshinkan Karate and 3rd Dan Tenshinkan Ryukyu Kobujutsu trained and graded by Hanshi Hans Haupt. Before relocating to UK, he was South Africa Honbu Dojo deputy Chief Instructor, achieved many top 3 places in many national competitions. He is a keen student of goshin-jutsu and an avid practitioner of sabaki and combination techniques.
The kobujutsu weapons are known as :
Bo (or kon in Chinese), it is a 6 foot wooden staff the Japanese refer to it as Rokushaku Bo, (roku six, shaku is unit of measure slightly shorter than a foot, BO means wood). This implement had many uses in olden times, it could have being used to carry water (one vessel on each end of the staff) and as a walking stick,
Nunchahku, two pieces of wood joined by a short string, it appears that it could have been either horse bits or flails to beat grains it became popular in the 70s with Bruce Lee.
Tonfa, looks like a police baton with an handle attached at 90 degrees close to one end and they are used in pairs,
Tekko look like knuckle dusters and they were made out of horse shoes,
Kama a pair of short bladed sickles,
Sai a pair of metal truncheons possibly another farming implement.
Tinbe a small shield (35 t0 50 cm made of metal or tortoise shell or woven rattan) and
Rochin a short spear.
Surujin, it is a small links chain approximately 1.2 meters long and has a weight at one end of it.
These were weapons developed by the people of the Ryukyu kingdom during the period of weapons embargo imposed by the Samurai cast in the prevention of further revolts in the effort of establishing peace and unifying Japan.