Shihan-itis

I was on LINE with my Kobudo teacher, Yoshimura sensei (that his photo above), this…

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Yoshimura Hiroshi Sensei

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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Read more about the article Monomane:  Tou’on-ryu & Ryukyu Kobudo
With my teacher Minowa Katsuhiko

The next day.

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The next day Yoshimura sensei picked me up at my hotel. Before practice we went to Minowa sensei’s Ohaka to pay our respects. We burnt insense and said a brief prayer. It’s always hard emotionally for me visiting Minowa sensei’s resting place but it’s even harder on Yoshimura sensei who was his student for 20 years. As we drove to the dojo Yoshimura sensei commented, “even though I live in Amami, I don’t visit sensei as often as I should…” I don’t feel comfortable posting photos of Minowa sensei’s Ohaka; it just doesn’t feel dignified.

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Saturday

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Saturday I was at Kagoshima airport, slightly hung-over from the night before (or was it this morning?) waiting for my flight to Amami. I texted Yoshinura sensei that I was on my way and would see him that evening for practice at the dojo. The flight to Amami was uneventful which is a good thing as I hate flying. It also gave me time to relax and reflect on my trip so far. I was halfway through it and though it had been exhausting (I’m still not 100% after this summers misadventure) it had also been rewarding. I was able to reconnect with my teachers, have my technique critiqued, receive corrections and even learn a few new things to boot. I suppose you could say things had gone swimmingly.

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Just Jump!

Ryukyu Kobudo - Yoshimura sensei & Krister - Bo vs. Tonfa
Yoshimura sensei & Krister – Bo vs. Tonfa

Ryukyu Kobudo contains a variety of weapons ranging from the more common such as the bo, sai and tonfa, to the more exotic such as the  rochin and tinbe, and suruchin. All of these weapons require years of study with a competent teacher to gain mastery. This requires not only the detailed study of the solo kata, but naturally the two-person fighting sets handed down for each weapon.

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Uechi-ryu

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Know your weapon

The weaponry of Ryukyu Kobudo
The weaponry of Ryukyu Kobudo

The older I get the more I love Ryukyu Kobudo. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy my Karate-do practice, but not nearly as much as Kobudo. There is a wonderful depth and breadth to the art of Kobudo that I seem to appreciate more than Karate-do. It’s something that I can see myself practicing well into my old age. But, oddly enough, Kobudo is not any easy art to commit to and it is IMHO a much more unforgiving mistress compared to Karate-do. You see, in Ryukyu Kobudo, if you make a mistake you get hurt…seriously.

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