Kobudo > historical news


Kobudo was born in Okinawa, the greatest among the Ryu-Kyu islands, situated between Japan and the eastern coasts of China, a strategic position in the communication net with the great trade centres of the East-Asia. Okinawa became a very blooming trade centre above all after 1429, when the first Sho dynasty settled on the island and put an end to a period of instability caused by an internal war. However, in 1470 the ruling dynasty collapsed and a period of unrest followed up to the restoration of the new Sho dynasty, seven years later. The new ruling house had to face immediately the lack of discipline of some rebel noblemen and so in 1483 an edict was promulgated: according to it nobody (noble or plebeian) could wear weapons; it was established, then, that all weapons were to be carried to the Shuri castle and that every nobleman should settle in the royal capital city, under the king's direct control.
The state of welfare continued up to 1609, when Okinawa refused to submit to the Shogun, so interfering with Japan's unification. As a consequence, Okinawa was occupied and subdued, the king was taken to Edo (Tokyo) and released only after being transformed into an important Japanese political pawn. The edict which prohibited the usage of weapons, remained in force only for the inhabitants of the island, surely not for the samurais who came from Japan. Such a situation brought to the development of Martial Arts in the island, in order to defend one's family, wealth and harvests from invaders and robbers. Farmers and fishermen, also thanks to the Chinese tradition, developed a style which utilized their own tools as if they were real weapons: Kobudo.
So, like their old predecessors who opposed to the Lords of Okinawa, the present Kobudo trainees practised the katas which represent the tradition to be handed on, from teacher to pupil, in order to preserve the characteristics and the secrets of a style. The katas are studied to let persons reach perfection in movements and coordination between body and weapon, which tends to become a natural extension of the human body.



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