When one begins practicing karate one must accept a grim reality: karate techniques are designed to injure people. In the event that techniques are to be used for practical (physical) purposes there is a very likely chance that someone (hopefully the opponent) will get hurt. The pendulum, however, swings both ways. When engaging in an exchange involving karate, practitioners must accept the fact that there is a very real chance that they might also get hurt. Karate is the means and pain is the end.
At some point in their training, most karateka are either drawn to or invited to train with weapons. Weapons are designed to kill people. In the event that weapons are to be used for practical (physical) purposes there is a very likely chance that someone will get killed or seriously maimed. When handling a weapon, one must be prepared to accept this. Kobudo is the means and death is the end. This is a sobering thought.
Kobudo is the means and death is the end
Great care and due diligence must be taken when handling a weapon. Weapons training must be taken seriously and traditional weapons must be given the same respect as a modern firearm. Students should also remember that many have lost their lives to these weapons.
Weapons usually associated with traditional Okinawa-based martial arts include the bo, jo, tonfa, kama, nunchaku, sai, eku, tekko, surujin, tinbe and rochin to name a few. The sword (katana in particular) is also a seductive alternative to weaponless training.
At the Charles Fink Karate Dojo, we do not train in kobudo per se. However, weapons can be used as training tools or as a supplement to empty-hand practice. Weapons experts are brought to the Dojo as special guests on occasion – I look forward to these special classes because kobudo training, while serious, is fun.