Tikko & Ticchu

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Examples of Ticchu
One of the more unusual and little known weapons employed in Ryukyu Kobudo are the tikko and ticchu (also known as tekko and tecchu  in Japanese) (1). The tikko can be roughly equated with what is commonly referred to as “knuckle duster” in the west. While the ticchu is a short tapered wooden or metal rod approximately 20 to 30 cm in length. According to martial arts historians, the use of the tikko appears to have originated when men in Okinawa used horse shoes as a make-shift weapon to defend themselves against a surprise attack (McCarthy, 1998; Nakamoto, 1983) .The weapon was later modified and developed into a simple and effective hand-held weapon (McCarthy,1998; Nakamoto, 1983). The ticchu’s origin is similar in many respects to that of the tikko, but less clear. There are two conflicting theories commonly held with respect to the origin of the ticchu. The first theory states that the ticchu was developed from the net weaver used by fisherman; suggesting a plebeian origin to the weapon (Minowa, 1998). In contrast to this, the second theory argues that the long hairpin used by Okinawan nobility, referred to as a kanzashi, was employed as a make-shift weapon when a person was attacked by surprise. Hence an upper class origin to the weapon (Nakamoto, 1983). Be that as it may, techniques for both the tikko and ticchu were not formalized into kata until the 20th century.
Vancouver, Karate, Kobudo, Martial Arts, BC, Lessons, Dojo, Goju-ryu, Richmond, Surrey, New Westminster, Port Coquitlum, Okinawa
Examples of Tikko

As an aside, there is a curious similarity between the tikko and the bankokuchoki of the Nagao-ryu. According the the late Don Draeger, the bankokuchoki was a metal ring grasped by the hand and used to deliver strikes (Draeger). The Nagao-ryu specialized in Kakushi buki (concealed weapons) and was popular with the common class during the Edo period. Whether the tikko could be used in a similar manner to the bankokuchoki is unlikely given the focus of the kata techniques (Maezato no Tikko) which seems more focused on defending against an unarmed attacker. Regardless, below you can see an example of bankokuchoki against sword.


In the Ryukyu Kobudo Shinko Kai, founded by Minowa Katsuhiko, there are two kata practiced for the use of hand held weapons. They are Maezato no tikko and Minowa no ticchu. Maezato no tikko was formulated by the late founder of the Ryukyu Kobudo Hozon Shinko Kai, Taira Shinken and was named after his original family name, Maezato (2) (Nakamoto, 1984; McCarthy, 1998). Maezato no tikko is based upon techniques which he had learned from his grandfather, Kanegawa Gibu and from the Shorin-ryu Karate-do Kata Jion (Nakamoto, 1984). However, there appears to be some discrepancy as to the Karate-do Kata which was used as the basis for Maezato no tikko. Although Nakamoto has stated the Kata Jion was used as the basis for some of the techniques and the enbusen (line of performance of the Kata), other martial arts historians have argued that the Karate-do Kata Jiin is more likely the basis for Maezato no tikko (Sells, 1998).

Maezato no Tikko

The second, and to a much greater extent, less known hand held weapon practiced within the Ryukyu Kobudo Shinkok Kai is Minowa no ticchu. Minowa no ticchu was created by one of Taira Shinken’s student, Minowa Katsuhiko and is named after him. The Kata itself is based upon his years of study under Taira Shinken, his background in Uechi-ryu Karate-do, and his own unique interpretation of the weapon.

Minowa no Ticchu performed by Yoshimura Hiroshi sensei.


Bishop, M. (1996) Zen Kobudo: Mysteries of Okinawan weaponry and Te. Rutland, VT: Charles E. Tuttle Co.

Bolz, M. (1995) The Okinwan Sai: Kobudo weapon for self-defence. Journal of Asian Martial Arts, Vol. 4(1) pp. 85-99.

Clarke, M. (1995) Hirokazu Kanazawa (Interview), Budo Dojo, winter.

Draeger, D. (1990) Classical Budo.

McCarthy P. (1998) International Ryukyu Karate Research Society,

Minowa, K. (1998) Personal communication.

Nakamoto, M. (1983) Okinawa Ryukyu Kobudo: It’s history and spirit. Naha: Okiinsha.

Sells, J. (1998) Personal Communication


(1) Tikko can be written in kanji as 鉄甲 or 手甲 . Ticchu can be written in kanji as 手中 or手柱.

(2) Taira had been put up for adoption as a child.