Monday, 15 June 2009

First Kobudo Lesson

I had my first kobudo class last night. These classes are held in a different club to my karate classes so it was also a chance to see how a different dojo operates, meet new people and and work under a different sensei.

The club is a combined jujitsu/kobudo club but it is possible to opt for just one of those arts or both of them. I'm just doing kobudo. I thought learning three martial arts at one go would just be too much! However, I'm still joining in with the break fall practice at the beginning as I think it will be useful for karate.

The grading system works in a completely different way to that in karate. To get a full black belt you have to master 10 weapons but you can choose between 2 paths to get there. Option one is to study just 4 weapons initially and master them through 3 levels all the way to black belt. Though you can then wear a black belt you are only a black belt in those 4 weapons not a full kobudo black belt. You then study another 4 weapons up to black belt and then finally the last 2. Only when you have achieved black belt in all 10 weapons can you be regarded as a black belt in kobudo.

Option two is to study all 10 weapons at once. Taking each through levels 1,2 and 3 and then getting the full black belt in kobudo. Which ever option is chosen it still takes about 7-8 years to get the full black belt. I've decided to take option 1, I think four weapons at a time will be more than enough for me to cope with.

So what weapons am I choosing? I'm not entirely sure yet. Last night I had a little go with the nunchaku, the tonfas and the sword. For some reason I was expecting it all to be more kata based but we were straight in to learning some basic blocks, strikes, locks and strangle techniques against an attacker with the nunchaku and tonfas . I was surprised at how similar some of this was to some karate self-defence techniques except you used the weapons instead of your hands and forearms. That definitely made blocking less painful!

The sword was a little trickier! We practised drawing and re sheathing the sword. My main problem was that the sword is about 2 inches too long for me and I found it really difficult to get the tip of the sword back into the sheath.

Last night was a bit of a taster session really. I quite liked the 3 weapons i tried out so I may stick to them. What to choose for the 4th one though - that is the question. Any suggestions as to what is a good weapon to start with?

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Matt "Ikigai" said...

The bo can be a good weapon to start with as it introduces you to long range techniques.

Also, a tip for the sword - when performing noto(resheathing), utilize saya hibiki to counter the length issue. Saya hibiki is when you rotate the hips slightly to the left, pulling the sheath back at the same time, so as to open up your stance and create more margin for sheathing.

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Sue C said...

Matt - thanks for the tip, it makes a lot of sense. I'll try it next time.

Michele said...

In Okinawa Kenpo Kobudo, we need bo, tunfa, sai and nunchaku for Shodan.

I am going to agree with Matt and suggest the bo.

Sue C said...

It seems that the bo is the weapon of choice amongst you guys. I'll definitely add it to my group of four weapons. However as my husband and I have agreed not to learn the same weapon at the same time (and he wants to learn the bo or jo) I have decided to make my first weapon the tonfa. I'll then learn the bo after that. Thanks for your advice.

John Vesia said...

We first start with the bo in Isshinryu. Personally I like sai, because it mimics the hand techniques I already know.

Studying 10 weapons at once seems way too much.

Sue C said...

John - I agree 10 weapons at once is way to many, which is why I'm sticking to groups of four. Even then we concentrate on one weapon at a time until we've taken the first grading in it. I don't know much about the sai so I'll have to research that one.


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