Okinawan kobudo

I’ve wanted to learn Okinawan kobudo for years now – last year I got into weapons training at my current school, which emphasised some aspects of traditional Japanese weapons, but in a system fused with other stick-fighting techniques to emphasise a practical approach to the syllabus.

Anywho, weapons classes ended at the end of last year, and I’ve been contemplating going the full Okinawan Kobudo route, either later this year or next year, depending on the whole time/money/availability of classes thing. I was reading up on a few things today that have really inspired me to start looking into it though – Hanshi Heilman’s guest blog on BBM “There Are No Stances in Kobudo”, BBM’s recent post “A Comedy of Errors, Form of Weapons”, and Matt’s recent blog on Ikigai “Holding a Bo – So Simple It’s Complicated”.

So yeah, it’s on my “to-do” list. Mind, it probably doesn’t help that I’ve been watching the original TMNT cartoon from the 80s of late. Y’know, the one where they say “Cowabunga” and stuff? It’s awesome. What’s even more awesome is that Wifey’s the one who bought it for me 🙂

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Training roundup and grading

Had training again last night – went really well. We covered the usual gear – basic warm-ups (including the new hip strengthening exercise we learned the other week at the seminar), basic drills (which I’m getting the hang of now), kata and kata applications. I thought I was going well with my kata, but last night I had a mental blank getting the sequencing correct on the second-to-last part of Heian Nidan where you finish up your four shutos and move to your central line of blocks/strikes/kicks. I’m going to study some of Kanazawa’s kata videos and make time over the next couple of weeks to hone my technique.

There’s a grading next month, and I’m not sure if I’m ready to grade yet – I’ve decided that I’ll continue to practice hard and see how I go, and talk to Sensei about it and get his thoughts on the matter. I found that particularly during 2008 I wasn’t applying myself anywhere near enough in class to achieve more frequent gradings (not that karate is only about gradings, but for someone like me who tends to be very goal-oriented, they’re a great stimulus to progress with gusto), and I decided at the start of this year that I’d put more focus into my training. Whatever happens, I’ll post updates on the blog.

The other thing we did last night was kata applications, via 2-person continuous kata drills. This was really cool, and will no doubt help me when it comes time to apply bunkai to my grading. I’m still having trouble looking outside the most obvious application for bunkai though, but I think what we’ve been doing the last couple of weeks is gradually removing the pre-conceived notions of how each technique could be applied.

In fact, this whole discussion encouraged me to check if bunkai is on the list for grading – I just checked the website, and it looks like I don’t do it until the grading after this one. Sanbon (or Sambon, depending on which romanisation you take for Japanese phoenetics) tsuki is on the list though, along with geri (kicking) combination techniques, neither of which I’ve done a lot of in class so far this year. With all this taken into consideration, I’ll definitely have a chat with Sensei and gauge his thoughts on where I’m at. I also think I’m going to have to start training my basic drills and kata between classes for at least the next few weeks if I’m going to attempt a grading next month.

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