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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