After being conquered by the Japanese, the Okinawans were forbidden to possess or carry weapons -- including palace guards, law enforcement, and ordinary people. Turning the body itself into a weapon through karate training mitigated this problem, but it did not solve it. This was achieved by using contraband weapons imported from various foreign cultures that the Okinawans traded and had diplomatic relations with. Most of these weapons could not be seized by authorities, as many of them were multi-purpose tools, which were needed for daily life. Since much of karate and kobudō overlap, the two arts were -- and still are -- taught at the same time. As such, all Goshin-Jutsu Karateka are required to cross-train in kobudō by studying kata for the bō, sai, nunchaku, tonfa, and kama. Additional opportunities exist for black belts to train with other weapons (e.g. tanbō, eku, jō, and Chinese ring daggers) in their leisure.
The Goshin-Jutsu Karatedō Yudanshakai does not issue kobudō rankings. Instead, a basic kobudō course of study is integrated into our standard karate curriculum; one must become good at kobudō to become good at karate, and vice-versa. There are several reasons for this:
- Weapons magnify your mistakes. If you do not utilize the driving power of your legs, maintain perfect stances, or focus your techniques (via the Unbendable Arm, through weapon), weapons will not work. They will at best perform “wet noodle” blocks which will offer no defense, and thus, no opportunity to counterattack. Likewise, the length of the weapon will amplify the biomechanics used in your attacks, revealing the subtle differences between love-taps and bone-shattering strikes. Weapons will force you to acknowledge where you are using muscle to compensate for technique.
- Weapons training is prerequisite for confronting armed opponents. By learning how to use weapons, you will also learn how weapons can be used against you.
- Weapons training builds a proper mindset. Weapons training have a special and tangible way of developing the warrior mentality, since you can’t kind of bludgeon someone with a large pole.