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

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