Friday, November 15, 2013

Martial Arts Weapons - Gilbert & Mesa, Arizona

This morning, my thoughts are about karate and kobudo (for those who don't speak Japanese, 'kobudo' is the term for martial arts weapons) and how much I enjoy teaching at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate in Gilbert and Mesa. This is what I was born to do! Well, not entirely. I also like to write and chase after gold and gem deposits. But knowing karate is helpful when I find one of those gem deposits and forget to bring along my rock hammer.

Last, week, while we were walking through our local garden center, I was elated. My wife looked at me like I was nuts and placed her hand on my forehead to see if I had a fever. No fever, so she tried to ignore me.

Gardening the Okinawan way. Ryan uses kuwa (hoe) to defend attack by Adam at the Arizona Hombu Karate dojo in Mesa, Arizona.
"Let's see, I need a Bachi Gata Hoe, an asparagus sickle, two nobori gama sickles, two hand forks, maybe a copper nunki weeder, two ko gama hoes and two sod sickles, a short handle nejiri weeder, a long-handled scraper, a hammer - ah, make that two. Wow, I must have two of those hoe-cultivators. Hey, look at those - I'll take two of of those hand cultivators and a long handle fork, two vegetable harvesting knives, a brass-tipped tamper dibber, one hand pruner and - hey what is that?!"

The employee picks up the Bypass pruner and hands it to me.

"Yes, I can definitely use this! And let me have a look at one of those landscaper pole saws".

As we walk by the chain saws - I stopped and day-dreamed. My wife saw that look in my eyes and grabbed my earlobe and we were off to another part of the store.

During the Samurai Arts class at the Arizona Hombu, training continued with hanbo. Our students began to understand the diversity of old school martial arts weapons, and those of modern day samurai and how these weapons can be interchangeable.

We started with hanbo (半棒) and added techniques from the hoko tsue (歩行杖) (cane). We moved on to a technique using a kakucho kanona baton (拡張可能なバトン) (expandable police baton known as ASP), switched to a ropu (ロープ) (rope), a manrikigusari (weighted chain), a sansetsukon (3-section nunchaku), then to a nunchaku, a broom, a mop, nitan bo and then obi (belt). With all of these, we applied the same defensive techniques. I like to do this to show how the same technique can apply to many weapons as well as classical karate (empty hand) techniques. It places the students into a creative thinking mode and broadens their martial arts experience and education.

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