Monomane: Tou’on-ryu & Ryukyu Kobudo

Oscar Wilde is quoted as saying, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” It seems there is no shortage of Karateka and Kobudoka demonstrating kata they clearly never had any formal instruction in. It seems that when they post these videos, the teaching of humility conveniently vanished; or maybe it was never taken to heart in the first place. (more…)

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With my teacher Minowa Katsuhiko

A Lovely Day to Train

I hope everyone is safe and keeping well. In today’s post I wanted to say how much I enjoyed training this morning. It was a perfect Fall day to get outside and practice Karate and Kobudo. One silver lining to Covid-19 is getting me out of the dojo and back outside (rain, snow or sunshine) for practice and for that I am grateful. On days like these I have no desire to return to training inside, even if it was safe enough to do so. (more…)

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Taira Shinken & Yamani-ryu

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. (more…)

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Taira Shinken

The Legacy of Kobudo is a Living Destiny – Dojo Visit 3

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. (more…)

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Nakamoto Masahiro

Jadou: You’re doing it the wrong way!

Jadou, Karate, Kobudo, Vancouver, BC

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. (more…)

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An Interview with Derek English

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.

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Part 2