Kobudo refers to the weapons system of Okinawan martial arts. These weapons are believed to have developed during from farming implements during a weapons ban enforced during Japanese occupation of Okinawa. Okinawan were no allowed to own or possess weapons of the period which mosty included bladed weapons such as swords. Using inginuity and everyday implements they developed a method for defending themselves against Samurai and anyone else trying to do them harm. Okinawan Kobudo's most popular weapons include: Bo, Nuncaku, Sai, Kama, Tonfa, and Eku.
Training in Kobudo benefits the Karate student in many ways. First the added weight of a weapon improves stregnth and stamina. Adding weapons to your curriculmn also teaches students how to use other non-Kobudo items in normal self defense.
Bo - The Bo is a 6' foot staff that may have been placed across the shoulders to carry buckets of water or baskets. It may have also been the handle of a shovel or rake. It's a very formidable weapon that allows one to fight from a distance. Shorter versions of the staff are called the Jo.
Nunchaku - The Nunchaku is two sections of wood connected by a string, cord, or chain. The history of this weapon isn't fully agreed upon as it may have been a thrashing weapon or made its way from China. It can be used for blocking, striking, trapping, or choking.
Sai - The Sai is a three pronged truncheon weapon. It may have been used as a farming implement to plant seeds, at the end of a staff as a fish spear or for some other unknown use. It is not a bladed weapon but the tips would be sharp and some belive they were carried in threes. One for throwing and two for combat. They are a heavy weapon who's blows carry much power.
Kama - Kama are believed to be a traditional farming sickle used to harvest grain. In the hands of an experienced Kobudo practioner they can be very dangerous self defense weapons used for cutting, blocking, striking, and trapping.
Tonfa - The Tonfa may have originated from the handle of a mill stone used for grinding grain. They are traditionally made of red oak and are gripped from the short shaft. They can be used for striking, blocking, trapping and choking.
Eku - The Eku is an Okinawan Oar. It's typically heaver than a Bo and has sharp edges on the sides of the paddle and a point at the tip. A very tough weapon to master but a very powerful one.