When I was learning Kobudo from Minowa sensei I could get away with asking him questions directly; something that my senpai would never be able to do. In hindsight I cringe at what I did, but when I trained with sensei it was during my first three years in Japan and I was so culturally inept and my Japanese was still developing. Read more →
Bunbukan, General Headquarters of the Okinawa Traditional Kobudo Preservation Society, Mr. Masahiro Nakamoto (Holder of Intangible Cultural Asset of Okinawa Prefecture)
Kobudo is my life. I’ve been chasing it my whole life, but there is no end to my study. Nakamoto Masahiro, 79, the only person in Kobudo who has been designated as an intangible cultural asset, wakes up at 3 a.m. every morning and devotes himself to studying and practicing the use of eight different weapons, including the bo and nunchaku. Fifty-five years have passed since he decided to carry on the tradition of Kobudo, which was on the verge of extinction, and at the age of 24, he knocked on the door of master Taira Shinken. He teaches the techniques and spirit he has developed at the Okinawa Traditional Martial Arts Preservation Society’s general headquarters, ‘Bunbukan‘ in Shuri, Torihori-cho, Naha City. Read more →
Another week and another onslaught of videos on the web showing hopelessly unskilled, out-of- shape “Kurodee” masters demonstrating kata or technique on hapless students, reinforcing my feeling that the internet is like reading the worst book on Karate ever written. Read more →
Posted by The Invisible Sensei Podcast on Sunday, April 19, 2020
I originally published this post on Derek English sensei five years ago which included an interview conducted by Mike Clark sensei (thank you wherever you are), but I am republishing it to include a wonderful new interview with him on the Invisible Sensei Podcast.
Derek English is a true power-house of Okinawa Budo – proficient in both Goju-ryu Karate-do and Ryukyu Kobudo. I first met Derek in Japan way back in 1995 at a conference we were both attending in Kumamoto prefecture, but it wasn’t until a few years later that I finally caught up with him on Okinawa and was able to train very briefly with him and his teacher Uehara Ko at the latter’s dojo in Naha.
Thank you to everyone who emailed me about trying to share my posts on Facebook, but were unable to. It seems that my website and/or posts don’t meet Facebook “community standards”. LOL. I have no idea what this means or how to fix it, but I’m not terribly concerned.
Since the lock-down as a result of Covid-19 I have had more time for self-training. This past week I was able to practice some Kobudo kata that I had been neglecting; in particular Soeishi no kon and Chatanyara no kon. After practice I began to think of a few years ago when I was visited by Fred Lohse and Russ Smith who put on a great empty-hand and Matayoshi Kobudo seminar in Vancouver. Afterwards we talked about “advanced” bo kata taught near the end of the Taira curriculum: Urasoe, Chinenshikiyanaka, Chatanyara, Sesoko, and Soeishi. These are very long and complicated kata that are typically taught only at the higher dan grades and after a long apprenticeship under a competent teacher. Read more →
Like everyone around the world I am experiencing the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Although regular practice has ground to a halt, I consider myself fortunate that I am healthy and continue to work and train from home. Since I have been given this gift of time I decided to temporarily restart my blog to provide some light reading to the Okinawa Karate-do and Kobudo Community. I have one request and that is if you would like to share the article you are welcome to do so. However, please share the link and not cut and paste the articles in their entirty. The first entry below is about Goju-ryu and Kobudo expert Kamiya Jinsei. The next article will be about his grandson Kamiya Masashi. Enjoy. Read more →