What is Kobudo?

Kobudo (古武道 ) means something like older or traditional martial way. It refers usually to the forms of martial arts that were practised before the so called Meiji restoration of 1868. This was historically a chain of events that restored practical imperial rule to Japan in 1868 under Emperor Meiji. Although there were Emperors before the Meiji Restoration, the events restored practical abilities and consolidated the political system under the Emperor of Japan.

There are two categories of kobudo; Nihon No Kobudo (日本の古武道 ) which refers to mainland Japanese martial arts, such as kenjutsu, jujutsu, sojutsu, bojutsu, naginatajutsu, shurikenjutsu, etc. Essentially martial arts used by the Samurai warrior caste. Training methods for this category are almost always done in pairs when practical.

The other category is Ryukyu Kobudo (琉球古武道 ) or Okinawa no Kobudo (沖縄の古武道 ) which is refers to martial arts originating from  Okinawa.


The origins and training methods in this category of kobudo are very different from it’s mainland Japanese counterpart, due to Chinese cultural influences.

Ryukyu/Okinawa no Kobudo includes bojutsu (different in format to Japanese bojutsu), nunchaku-jutsu, saijutsu, tonfa-jutsu, suruchinjutsu and kempo/te/karate. Training methods are done solo in kata form to record and preserve technique as a database and then paired in kumite form to teach oyo/bunkai.

Kobudo is excellent for learning defence against weapons and learning how to use everyday objects as a means of self defence.



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