Friday, July 6, 2018

NUNTEI BO: Okinawa Fishing License for Traditional Karate and Kobudo

"After kobudo, we will fish for dinner with our nuntei-bo."

Yes, some Okinawans, even though disarmed by their king (Sho Shin) in 1480 AD, and later by Satsuma Samurai clan from neighboring Japan in 1609 AD, still found weapons of self-defense in tool boxes, mill houses, boats, etc. One of these, known as nuntei bo, was used to catch fish and capture fishing nets, and vaccinate samurai.

Each spring, the Arizona Hombu Karate Dojo in Mesa, schedules a traditional Shorin-Ryu Karate and Kobudo Clinic with members of Utah Shorin Kai from the Salt Lake valley. Karate-ka arrive at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport to attend the annual clinic, scheduled a few weeks prior to the Juko Kai National Black Belt Clinic in New Braunfels, Texas, and the out-doors Gasshuku clinic at the East Canyon Resort near Park City, Utah. A few members from the Hombu, University of Wyoming, Gillette, Casper, Cheyenne, and Grand Canyon University also attend these clinics to learn more about traditional martial arts. Few other MA organizations in Arizona offer such a wide range of training for their students.

Soke Hausel and the Arizona Hombu dojo are 
recognized as the best martial arts instructor 
and martial arts school for the past 5 years,
in the Phoenix Valley. Expertise chose our school
and grandmaster as the best of  360 schools with
all of their instructors (Expertise).

In the late spring of 2018, members of Utah Shorin-Kai and their headmaster, Hanshi Robert Watson, 9th dan, presented Soke Hausel with a beautiful gift of nuntei-bo (Okinawan dialect) referred to as nunti-bo (Japanese), and sometimes spelled nunte-bo. Many great Okinawan karate and kobudo masters fished with this tool and used one to defend against muggers, samurai, and government agents. Other common fishing kobudo tools include yari, tinbe, and eku.

Soke Hausel at Arizona hombu karate dojo in
Mesa with nuntei-bo 

Nuntei-bo is a fisherman’s gaff mounted on bo with its central, sharp, shaft bordered by opposing short shafts similar to manji saiNuntei-bo is designed to stab wayward fish, while the bordering yoko tsuka (opposing prongs) assist in pulling and pushing fish nets in water. But for members of Seiyo no Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai, this toll can also be used to select food at Long John Silvers, chase away irritating door-to-door salesmen, or just train like the Okinawan peasants of old. The tool is an extension of the empty hand (karate) and like any traditional Okinawan martial arts school, the Arizona Hombu Dojo in Mesa, Arizona teaches all students to use kobudo tools and samurai weapons from the beginning of their martial arts path. But unlike other schools, we do not charge an extra fee to train in weapons.

Often, nuntei-bo is practiced with two manji sai. The sai are thrown during execution of kata. The throwing of sai is practices outside in the dirt, with a thick wooden block on a dojo floor, or most often just taken from one’s obi and placed on the dojo floor to symbolize where one would throw the weapon. 

In the Okinawa hogen (dialect), the tool is referred as nuntei, and means ‘thrusting hand’. At first glance the weapon looks like a spear, but is composed of bo used as a handle with a manji sai mounted on one end of the bo that is used for piercing and trapping. Because it was a common tool of Okinawan fishermen, these martial artists were allowed to carry it during years when weapons were banned on Okinawa - after all, it was only a fisherman's tool. But the tool could be effective in dealing with pirates, samurai, and fish, in the hands of an expert.

The origin of the weapon is thought to be China, and likely was imported about 6 centuries ago. A similar weapon is mentioned in the Bubishi known as sabu. As a martial art, nunteijutsu resembles bojutsu and even sojutsu, both also practiced at the Arizona Hombu.

Training in sojutsu with yari (Okinawan spear) at the 2018 clinic.

Maezato no tekko - training with tekko at the Arizona Hombu Karate Dojo

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Okinawa Gardening is a Hoe lot better with Kuwa

Kuwa - a gardening tool that packs a serious punch. 
The Kuwa (gawa or kue) is one of many traditional Okinawan kobudo weapons practiced by members of Seiyo no Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai. Better known in the West as a garden hoe; in the East it is not only a garden tool, but also a common peasant weapon of self-defense, or one of the many so-called classical karate weapons. When training with this tool in a dojo, you can use a common, everyday, hoe from your local hardware store such as Lowes, or search for a traditional kuwa on the internet. You will not find them at martial arts supply houses because few instructors teach this weapon. But when you purchase kuwa; before you take it to the dojo, be sure that the blade (igashira) is securely attached to the handle (iii)!

Years ago, Soke Hausel purchased a common hoe from a hardware store in Laramie, and took it to the University of Wyoming dojo and started teaching kihon (basic techniques). On the very first strike, using a down cut (top-of-head strike) - the kuwaba (blade) shot off the iie (handle) like it had been shot out of a cannon. Soke is know for his fast, focused strikes 

A kuwa from our local hardware store works well in training,
but the blade must be securely attached, and also the handle
is often breakable.

At the shomen (front) of the University dojo, we had a large tatami (mat) hanging on the front wall used for jujutsu. The blade hit the mat with considerable force and echoed throughout the Educational Building Gym and halls. We had no idea that garden hoes were so poorly constructed. Luckily, Soke was facing to the front of the dojo with no one was in-between; otherwise he would have had a tough time explaining to the ER physician as to how the blade of a hoe got embedded into one of the students. So now, when people visit their local hardware stores to purchase a hoe, it is requested that they drill a hole through the metal blade jacket and wooden handle to secure the blade with a nut and bolt.

The kuwa can be used in many ways for self defense. Using the kuwaba (blade) for cutting is pretty obvious, but it can also hook an arm, leg, or your attacker’s weapon. This can also be used to thrust, particularly after hooking the attacker. The opposite end of the blade known as the igashira, is for striking and is devastating when swung like a bat. 

Kuwa kata, at Arizona Hombu dojo, Mesa, AZ
As with some weapons containing a wooden handle, the kuwa has a handle that is typically the length of a jo (4-foot long bo) that can be used for horizontal thrusts and blocks. However, blocking a katana (sword) with the iie is not recommended except as a last resort. The iie can also be used for outward, inward, high and low blocks with the ijiri (pommel) used for thrusts.

Basically, only one kuwa kata has survived over the years known as kuwa no te with variations. If you are interested in a traditional kuwa, you might check the internet. Our recommendation is to buy a small hoe because Japanese kuwa are slow and cumbersome.

There is a two-person kata on the internet which uses kuwa and eku (Okinawan oar).

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Tekko - Okinawan Horse Sense

Another traditional Okinawan kobudo tool members of Seiyo Shorin-Ryu learn is tekkō (鉄甲). Tekko (also ‘tecchu’) is known as Okinawa ‘knuckle dusters’ in English and have a North America equivalent known as ‘brass knuckles’. But if you decide to train with the North American version, it is best not to ‘horse’ around and get of the wrong side of the horse. Brass knuckles have been outlawed in some states as well as in some countries just like nunchaku - so learn your local laws. 
Using car keys as tekko, a very good
  self-defense weapon for women and men.
The origin of tekko is not clear but it appears to have originally been an accessory tool found in the ‘horse’ stables of Okinawa. There are many varieties of tekko and one simple variety was a horseshoe or modified  horseshoe

As a horseshoe, the curvature (‘U’) of the shoe was placed in the palm of the hand with the two ends projected outward. The curve was usually wrapped in a rag or rope to give the defender gripping capability. A modification included sharpening the tips of the horseshoe, while others were made from two horseshoes tied or welded together. There are likely many other designs, as these tools were easily carried by Okinawa martial artists.

Another variety of tekko originated from saddle stirrups. Many traditional tekko look similar to Western-style saddle stirrups, rather than those used by Japanese samurai. In its simplest form, such a tekko made from a horse stirrup would have been a D-shaped tool that wrapped around the hand. As these  evolved, stubs and sharpen protrusions were added to the arch of the D to deliver greater damage. These types of tekko were made from both metal and wood and the hand grip was also used for striking and blocking.

The traditional horse stirrup tekko
Another tool used in handling a horse harnessed to a carriage was used as tekko, while another tekko was developed by fishermen from a tool that assisted in hauling in fishing nets (similar to nunti bo) to protect hands from sharp coral.

There are similar hand weapons considered as a variety of tekko, such as the ‘yawara’ or ‘kuboton’, which were nothing more than a stick or rod held in the hand. Some had pointed tips, others had a flat surface that was used to strike an opponent as well as activate pressure points. 
Kuboton tekko

The chize kun bowas a short stick attached to a piece of rope that looped around the defender’s fingers to assist in retention of the weapon. Other tekko were made from wood with sharpened extensions which fit between the first and second fingers. 

The principal difference between Okinawan tekko and common variety of brass knuckles was not only mass of the object (brass knuckles have relatively high specific gravity) but most brass knuckles have four finger holes: traditional tekko had an open slot to place the hand and fist. 

There are modern versions of tekko, such as the ninja keychain tekko and the car key tekko. In the hands of a martial artist, the tekko can be an very effective weapon of self-defense for blocking, striking and  pressure point activation.

A ninjutsu tekko
Few martial arts schools include tekko in their curriculum; however, many affiliated with Juko Kai International train with tekko

Then there is the tekko-kagi, a farming implement used for reaping weeds and considered more of a ninjutsu weapon. The tekko-kagi included four iron spikes that looked more like a bear claw attached to a metal ring which fit around a person’s hand or wrist. Some of these were wicked-looking tools. 

A primitive tekko straight from the horse.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Okinawa Karate & Kobudo, East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona

Gavin and Dennis train in kobudo with sansetsukon (3-sectional staff) and bo (6-foot staff) at the Arizona Hombu

At the Arizona Hombu in Mesa, Arizona, a variety of Japanese-Okinawan martial arts are taught to  adults and families. We are an active member of Juko Kai International, Zen Kokusai Soke Budo Bugei Renmei, Seiyo no Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai and Soke Council. So, we have credentials and copies of our credentials are available to examine in our Hall-of-Fame dojo at the 60 W. Baseline Center in Mesa - right across the street from Chandler and Gilbert.

At our martial arts school, traditional karate is taught rather than sport. There are many reasons for this. One is that karate was thought to be a weapon for 4 to 5 centuries, and only certain factions of the art became sport in the 1950s removing many of the effective self-defense applications deemed unsafe for competition - so the sport was watered down. Another reason is in sport karate, the student is taught to "win" and to "lose"; whereas in traditional karate, the original goal is still the most important aspect of karate. As stated by Okinawan Shorin-Ryu master and father of modern karate, Gichin Funakoshi, "The Purpose of Karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of its participants". In sport karate, the focus is victory, in traditional karate, the focus is "perfection of the participants".

Karate and Kobudo go hand in hand. Many of the same blocking, striking, grappling and throwing techniques are used in both, thus one are should be bended and taught with the other art. This was the way it was taught on Okinawa for centuries and when introduced to Japan after 1922, Japanese karate systems began to either eliminated kobudo, or slowly removed it from the curriculum. By doing so, a very large segment of karate was abandoned by the Japanese and later European and American karate instructors and schools.

But at the Arizona Hombu in Mesa, Arizona, the traditions of karate and kobudo are retained and taught to all who become students. So, compare any martial arts school in Arizona with what is taught at the Arizona Hombu, and decide if you are learning enough about martial arts. Here are some of the many karate & kobudo arts taught at the Hombu:

  • Kempojutsu
  • Iaido (fast draw sword)
  • Sojutsu (Okinawan spear)
  • Naginatajutsu (Japanese Naginata or pole arm).
  • Jujutsu
  • Kenjutsu
  • Hanbo (3-foot staff)
  • Tanto (knife)
  • Hojojutsu (rope restraint)
  • Kubotan (short stick)
  • Bokken (wooden sword)
  • Jo (4-foot staff)
  • Bo (6-foot staff)
  • Kuwa (hoe)
  • Ra-ke (rake)
  • Tsune (cane)
  • Tekko (horse stirrups - knuckle dusters)
  • Sai (forks)
  • Tonfa (Side-handle batons)
  • Kioga (expandable baton)
  • Shurichin 
  • Manrikigusari & short rope
  • Nunchaku (two-sectional staff)
  • Sansetsukon (3-sectional staff)
  • Nitanbo (2-sticks)
  • Kama (sickles)
  • Gusarigama (chain & sickle)
  • Hara (Fish Hooks)
  • Eku (boat paddle)

In addition, the Seiyo Shorin-Ryu karate kobudo system contains about 70 kata compared to many arts that have only 8 to 20. These include short and long kata and each kata contains many bunkai (practical applications). 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Sansetsukon (3-sectional staff) at the Arizona Hombu, Mesa

Suzette blocks bo attack using sansetsukon during kobudo class at the Seiyo no Shorin-Ryu hombu in Mesa.

A few months ago, Ben, one of our more dedicated students at the hombu, arrived with san-setsu-kon (translates as ‘three-segmented-bo’) in hand, asking about its use and if we would learn to use this weapon in class. Ben is into martial arts weapons and periodically shows up with uncommon weapons. Not too long ago, he came to our karate school (dojo) with an odachi in hand – a samurai sword that is as long as most people are tall.

You will find little information about sansetsukon on the Internet even though a few books have been written by Chinese martial artists on the subject. I have not seen these books so I have no idea if they are of value, but I warn people to be careful of purchasing martial arts books: most have little value and most are poorly written and not worth reading, but there are a handful of martial arts books that are good.

A sansetsukon is a Chinese martial arts weapon adapted by Okinawan karate practitioners for kobudo. In Chinese, sansetsukon is known as sanjiegum (三節棍) and referred to as a coiling dragon, probably because it gives the impression of a coiled dragon, and also because it bites its user like a coiled dragon until they can tame this beast with considerable training. The weapon consists of three  sectional sticks with a combined length typical for many bo. These are attached by rope, chain, or rings and originally used as a flail by Chinese farmers. In martial arts it is used similar to surujin, bo and nunchaku combined. And like the surujin, it causes problems even for the most adept kobudo practitioners. 
A coiling dragon, sketch copyright by Soke Hausel

In the past, staves were manufactured from bamboo, white oak, wax wood, red maple or metal. Today, most are made of aluminum, bamboo, rattan, foam rubber or a variety of hardwood.

The three-sectional staff is a brutal weapon particularly to those new to its use, whether you are on the receiving or attacking end. Even so, you will find it is an effective tool after you begin to feel comfortable with it. And just like the nunchaku, I recommend starting with foam padded sansetsukon

Some suggest that the sansetsukon was introduced to Okinawa from the Chinese Fuijian province by Soke Shinko Matayoshi (1888-1947) who also created two kata for the Matayoshi Shorin-Ryu Kobudo system. The two kata were referred to as sansetsukon dai ichi and sansetsukon dai ni. At the Arizona Hombu, we will learn basics, bunkai and sansetsukon no kata

The sansetsukon, or three staved nunchuku, is a
difficult weapon to master. 
Soke Shinko was succeeded by his son Shimpo Matayoshi (1921-1997). Following the death of Shimpo, Matayoshi Kobudo fragmented into different groups with one headed by Yasushi Matayoshi who operates the Matayoshi hombu dojo in Okinawa known as the Kodokan. Kodokan refers to a place where one can receive “Instruction in the Way”; and there is more than one Kodokan training center. The best known is that of the Judo Kodokan (35o42’28”N; 139o45’13”E) founded by Jigiro Kano in Tokyo, which is an incredible, 8-story dojo. If you use the above coordinates on Google Earth, you can visit the Judo Kodokan on aerial photography.

In 2003, the University of Wyoming Campus Shorin-Ryu Karate and Kobudo club brought the well-known Okinawan martial artist Tadashi Yamashita to the university to teach a clinic, which some of you reading this newsletter likely remember. Yamashita is one of the more famous students of Shimpo Matayoshi

If you are into martial arts movies, this weapon was used by Jackie Chan in the 2000 movie Shanghai Noon. It was also seen in the 1980 movie The Victim and the 2006 movie Fearless. 

"Optimism" - pencil sketch of a coiling dragon,
copyright by Soke Hausel

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). 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 Lawn Aerator Sandals 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 Samurai Arts training. 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.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Martial Arts Weapons and Gardening in Arizona

As Ryan attacks with tanto (knife), Adam blocks with the ei (handle) of the
kuwa. We found that most hoe from Lowe's will work as long as the
blade is secured to the
Weeding a garden can get boring quickly. To stem boredom, I often take a break and shadow box the imaginary ninja climbing over my wall while invading my back yard with their chains (manrikigusari), sickles (gusarigama), swords (katana), star darts (suriken) and nunchuks (nunchaku). But the Gilbert ninjas are no match for my hoe (kuwa) or rake (ra-ke). 

The battle begins after I've removed a few weeds and my mind  wanders. Soon, there are ninjas climbing all over my back wall! Using my peasant hoe I purchased from the nearby hardware store, I take on the well-armed ninjas. 

I block the attack from a club (hanbo) from the ninja who strikes to the top of my head using my 'ei' (handle) and follow with a cut to his toes using the kuwaba (bladed end of the hoe). While the ninja is hopping around on his good foot, I finish him by hooking the back of his good knee with the kuwaba pulling him off balance and quickly chambered my weapon to finish him with tsuki (thrust strike) on the knee cap. You should of heard him yell. 

Amada blocks bo strike from Adam using the 'ei' of the kuwa.
I strike overhead in an attempt to hit the next ninja - but he blocks my hoe with his bo. So I quickly hook his bo pulling him off balance and swing the hoe striking with non-bladed end knocking him into my swimming pool. I strike the next ninja with the butt of the handle and the battle is over. I take a deep breath, observe the damage to my garden, and then continue removing weeds until the next wave of ninja invade my garden (and mind). It was a good day to be a peasant in Gilbert Arizona.
Neal attacks with knife but is stopped by thrust with blade
end of kuwa.

We teach peasants from Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale. Kuwa is just one of the many garden tools that we teach our peasants. A form of shadow boxing, known as kata, helps all of us karate practitioners to become experts in martial arts. How else could we defend against so many ninja with just a hoe or rake?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Mesa Martial Arts Weapons Classes

Soke Hausel demonstrates kama at the Arizona Hombu dojo, Mesa, Arizona
Okinawan karate and kobudo (martial arts weapons) go hand in hand. In fact, they are inseparable. They are like wheels on a bicycle. You need both to make the bicycle (and martial arts) go. But most martial arts schools do not teach both, and of those that do, many teach what some term as 'cheerleader' kobudo. Lots of twirling but no pragmatic use.

In Shorin-Ryu Karate, practitioners use kobudo as effectively as they use karate. This is important as both build on one another. Students of Shorin-Ryu also learn what every move in every kata (martial arts forms) is used for and use dozens of techniques as kobujutsu (combat arts). The students practice with weapons training with uke (a partner), so the weapons begin to feel very natural. In the advance stages of kobudo, they practice kumite (sparing) with weapons.

As the Shorin-Ryu student becomes more and more familiar with the weapon, just like in the empty hand (karate) techniques, they learn to use full power and focus with the weapon, both in practice during kata as well as in combat training with bunkai (self-defense applications from the kata). This is a very important part of the evolution of their karate and kobudo. Without achieving this last step, their kobudo can become a liability rather than an asset. 
Shihan Gewecke (5th dan) applies wrist lock using
kibo on
 law-enforcement officer Brett (2nd dan).
So how can this happen? Karate and Kobudo are dependent on muscle memory. It is common knowledge in the martial arts that "one will defend as they train". If a martial artist practices with little effort, power and focus, muscles learn to defend with the same lack of enthusiasm. 

If you are a martial artist, ask yourself each time that you punch the next time you are in a dojo (martial arts school): "will my strikes and blocks stop an aggressor?"  Can my punch or kick knock down an attacker with one strike?  Does my partner flinch when I block? 

If you cannot give a positive answer to these questions, your karate and kobudo need to be tweaked. To train properly, you need to educate your muscles - send them to martial arts graduate school and teach them to punch, block and kick with full force. This is done by practicing full force, power and focus with everything you do in the dojo. You can also practice the same way with a partner as long as you direct strikes to the side of your partner and not directly at them. This is important, because no matter how long you have been training, every once in a while a muscle forgets distancing. Myself, I've been training for 5 decades and every once in awhile, I miss (to error is human).

Soke Hausel trains with katana in Arizona.
Our students learn to use a large variety of martial arts weapons and our curriculum is growing as new weapons are learned and new weapons are developed from common, modern everyday tools such as books, magazines, keys, cell phones, pens, etc. Soke Hausel has been greatly assisted by the creative Hanshi Neal Adam in developing and testing new martial arts weapons.

After joining Juko Kai International in 1992, Soke found this martial arts association was superior to any other  association and offers excellent instruction. Soke learned dozens of additional traditional Okinawa and Japanese martial arts weapons. 

Ryan from Arizona trains with Thadd from the Utah Shorin Kai
using hanbo (police baton)
Adam takes rifle from his uke.

Two of Soke Hausel's black belt students train in
kobudo. Dr. Adam (6th dan) defends attack from Kathy (1st dan)
in kobudo classes at Mesa, Arizona

Today, members of Seiyo No Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai and the Arizona community can learn traditional Okinawan martial arts at the hombu dojo (martial arts school) in Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler Arizona. Classes focus primarily on adults and the adults are a group of very likable individuals. Many people believe it is Hausel's background of being a professor of martial arts that attracts the positive type of people found in his dojos around the world.

For members of the Phoenix community - we highly recommend learning martial arts for self-defense - remember, you have to get to your gun to defend yourself, while in martial arts, you are carrying your tools (hands, feet, knees, elbows with you at all times.

O'Sensei Bill Borea uses kama against bo attack by Charles
For women, we highly recommend learning to use hanbo (3-foot stick), kuboton (short stick), nitanbo (two sticks), bo (6-foot stick), kibo (Police expandable baton), tonfa, nunchaku, tekko, tanto, book, magazine, car keys, manriki (chain), hojo (rope), purse, computer, coffee mug, pen, cell phone, coaster, rake, hoe, shovel, etc in ways that are hard to imagine.

And please remember, we only support social media that supports America. So, no, we do not support facebook, twitter, linked-in nor the other medias that censor our friends, family and other martial artists.

Officer Philbrick (2nd dan) applies arm bar to Shihan-
Gewecke (4th dan) after striking and throwing his partner
with kibo (ASP).
We teach our students to get a 'kick' out of gardening. Here Sensei Paula Borea
a real samurai from Japan, defends bo attack by O'Sensei Bill Borea using the
kuwa (garden hoe).
Adam trains with sai defending attack by O'Sensei Bill Borea

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

KUWA - Giving Arizona Gardening a Real Punch!

Shihan Adam of Phoenix hooks Rich's
 (of Mesa) knee with kuwa in ippon kumite. 
Kobudo is a an important part of Shorin-ryu karate, so much so that the karate and kobudo should be taught as being inseparable. Few weapons epitomize kobudo more than kuwa (the common garden hoe) also known as a gawa or kue. This is because kobudo is considered a peasant art, and what could better define a peasant than a hoe, a tool of the peasant class.

Karate and Kata are essentially the same, and this includes kobudo. Kobudo is developed through the study and continual practice of both karate and kobudo kata and each and every technique or movement in a kata must be understood as bunkai or self-defense. The bunkai also needs to be pragmatic otherwise the value of the technique is next to useless.

There are few kuwa kata: such as Matayoshi No Kuwa Nu De (Kue no de), which is the kata of Seiyo No Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai and its variations. The kata has all of the strikes, blocks, digs, and cuts needed for self-defense.
O'Sensei Bill defends strike by Sensei Paula at the
Arizona Hombu dojo in the East Valley of Phoenix
Kuwa-jutsu can be done with modern garden hoe although one must be careful with these as the majority are not well made and tend to fly apart as some of my students witnessed during teaching kuwa years ago at the University of Wyoming. One of my first strikes during kihon practice sent the blade (egashira) flying like a missile into our tatami (mat) against the back dojo wall in the Education Building gym. It surprised everyone including me. Luckily, I was in the front of the class of 50+ students with no one in front of me. 

So if you purchase a common hoe from a local hardware store it is best to reinforce the weapon by drilling a hole in the metal sleeve of the egashira that fits over the handle and add and anchor screw to secure the blade to the handle. For those who want to remain traditional, search the Internet for a Japanese style grub hoe. I recommend a 4" grub hoe (we found a 6" grub hoe at the Mekong Plaza in Mesa). The kuwa has a butt end (ejiri), handle (eii), head of the hoe (egashira) and blade edge (kuwaba).

Kuwa is used similar to a bo, but it has the advantage of a blade at one end. The egashira is used to hook weapons to redirect them, hook an opponents knee, back of neck, foot, etc and is also used for tsuki (thrust strikes). The kuwaba is used to cut an opponent as well as remove toes, ears, and fingers. The butt of the kuwa (ejiri) is used for thrust strikes, while the bo handle (eii) has many uses including blocks and strikes. So the next time you are working in your tomato garden in Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale, Phoenix or even in California, Colorado, Utah or Wyoming, etc., remember, you have a weapon in your hands - learn how to use this fabulous weapon! After all, you never know when another thieving politician is going to try to steal your tomatoes!
Training with hanbo (3-foot stick) in Mesa, Arizona at the Arizona Hombu Dojo, 60 W. Baseline.
Dr. Bergkamp works with Adam to trap his hand.

Members of the University of Wyoming Campus Shorin-Ryu Karate and Kobudo Club in Laramie
learn to be Okinawan farmers at Kobudo Clinic taught by Soke Hausel from Gilbert, Arizona.

Blocking with kuwa at the Arizona Hombu in Mesa, Arizona

Dr. Adam defends against attack by Rich at the Mesa Arizona Hombu.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Arizona's Karate and Kobudo Classes, Schools and Instructors

Nunchaku training in Seiyo Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai. Photo
 shows (from Left to Right) Dr. Adam, Sempai Scofield, Sensei
Borea and Sempai Lang.
Traditional Okinawa Shorin-Ryu Karate training also involves training in kobudo (the ancient art of traditional weapons), jujutsu, shitai kori (body hardening) and much more. Our adult students learn to effectively use hands and feet as well as common every day tools and the traditional kobudo tools from Okinawa used by farmers, merchants and fishermen for weapons of self-defense.

Soke Hausel also teaches private clinics with a variety of modern weapons - including magazines, books,  car keys, rocks, coins, pens, etc..
shitai kori (body hardening)
Dr. Adam poses after demonstrating use of common everyday tools for self-defense for
a typical nerd. In this demo, he used pens, classes, belt and even his trousers as weapons.
Dr. Adam demonstrated the use of the Corn Huskers tools as self-defense
weapons. He stand here with a corncob pipe, farmers hat, corncob chuks
handkerchief, and suspenders, all potential weapons.
Been to the library lately? Soke Hausel teaches clinic to Chandler librarians
 on common tools for self-defense that included cell phones, car keys,
PC computers and even books.

Dr Adam hooks back of Rich's knee during bunkai training with kuwa (garden hoe) and
bo (6-foot staff) at the Arizona School of Traditional karate in Mesa, Arizona