Weapons Training and Karate

Bo Training and Karate Practice
by Senpai Ed Mundy, 3rd dan Shotokan

karate weapons bo training fighting martial arts

Many of us who have been in martial arts for any length of time have been aware of, or maybe even tried the various ancient weapons used in the past. 

The most notable are the Samurai Sword, Bo (long staff), Jo (Short staff), Nitanbo (two short sticks), Sai, Tonfa and let’s not forget everyone’s favorite toy the Nunchaku (nun chuks). 

Weapons’ training is called Kobudo and is not customarily practiced as part of a regular Shotokan Karate curriculum; but is integral to many other martial art styles at some time. There are many varying thoughts on if, or even when, a student should begin the practice of Kobudo and on what weapon to start with. 

My earlier instructors (Sensei) all said I must wait till I have mastered my body for then and only then can one think about mastering an Extension of one’s body, the weapon. 

Without a good solid understanding of basics to generate hip action, striking power all connected to stances; an extension without a good foundation would be meaningless. 

Today the times have changed and now more schools are offering Kobudo classes and many are now adding it as a standard event in their tournaments. However, the same basic tenet still applies: 

“Kobudo training is an extension of a student’s regular Karate training so that the foundational principals of Kihon are engrained so that the weapon can be effective”. 

At Camarillo Shotokan we have opened a special, once per week, Friday (7:10 to 8:10 PM) Kobudo class which is open to all practicing members of the Dojo for a one time flat fee. 

This fee provides for the purchase of the weapon, one DVD of the Kata and Bunkai needed to know for the Kata and a nominal contribution to the dojo for rent, Shihan John Bartholomay and Sempai Ed Mundy, as instructors. 

So far we have had three (3) four to five month Kobudo courses. The first Kobudo class was on the Bo (long staff) and the Kata Fukyu No Kon was taught. The second Kobudo class was on the Nitanbo (two short sticks) and the Kata Shihohai Nitanbo was taught. We are now on the third Kobudo class teaching the Jo (short staff) and the Kata Jo No Ho is being taught along with Bunkai, tactical knowledge of how to use the weapon. 

The learning of various weapons and how they are used, opens up the students mind to the use of any object within their immediate surrounds (or even the use of their belts from their clothes), that could be used like a weapon to defend themselves if needed. Traditional weapons of the past were everyday farm implements, in most cases found around the common man or laying on the ground. 

For more information, please contact Senpai Ed Mundy. www.CamarilloShotokan.com

also see Kobudo Videos (linked to Bartholomay Kyoshi & Hanshi Sells - mentioned in the above article):