What is Kobudo

by TonfaGuy

All martial arts are divided into their own sections, karate, Judo, jiu-Jitsu ect. But only Kobudo bridges that gap between all disciplines. So what is Kobudo?

There are many different styles and discipline that make up martial arts and Kobudo is one discipline that is normally found practiced within all the various martial arts.
There is, as to be expected, a general cross over of techniques, moves and styles between all the generally recognised martial arts. But nothing is exclusive to all martial arts as they all pick up something from each other.
The art of Kobudo very much links all martial arts yet stands alone as a very skilful and much envied style.

What is Kobudo.?

tonfa block

image credit

 The word Kobudo can be broken  breaks down into it's three main parts - 'Ko' meaning ‘Ancient’ - 'Bu' meaning 'to cease war' or 'Peace' and  'Do' meaning ‘the Way’ -         Hence we get "the ancient way of peace"
                                                                                Essentially, Kobudo, in it's more practical and modern sense, is now considered to be 'the use and practice of ancient martial arts weapons'. Weapons that were developed during the 17th century to ward off invading armies and are now used to keep those traditional techniques and skills alive. 

What common weapons are used in this martial art.?

image from freepik.com

 image credit

There are many ancient and not so ancient martial arts weapons that are used in Kobudo training today, ranging from simple hand held knives, known as a Tanto to the far more elaborate weapons like the art of Kendo known as the Shinai.
A shortlist of the most commonly found weapons, for both attack and defence, are shown below:  

The Tanto knife

A short bladed, single handed knife.

The Tanto knife can be easily concealed below the clothing and is a deadly weapon when used in close combat or as a secondary weapon. - Many women used to carry a Tanto for protection in ancient Japan.

In training you would use a wooden or rubber Tanto to practice techniques at both attacking with the Tanto and also defensive manoeuvres and methods of disarming.

Wooden practice Tanto

used for knife training in the dojo

The Katana sword

A long bladed, sometimes double bladed sword with sheath

The martial arts and Kobudo weapon belongs very much in the traditional history of Japanesse Samurai Warriors. A Katana would be the Samurai's prized possession and looked after like a family member.

Training with the Katana is very much done in the tradiational Kata style, following age old precision movements and cutting actions..

The Bo Staff

A bamboo cane stick

The Bo Staff is probably the most common martial arts weapon used in training today. Basically, it's just a long stick about 1" in diameter -  normally found in three sizes measuring 55", 60" and 72" respectively and used to perform many techniques throughout many martial arts disciplines.

The Bo Staff is, in fact, a very versatile weapon for both attack and defence. Giving distance between two fighters it can out manoeuvre many other traditional weapons.

The Tonfa

Tonfa come in matched pairs

The Tonfa is an of the most multi functional Kobudo weapons to be found today. Originating from a simple mill handle it is made from red oak and always comes in matched pairs.

Becoming proficient in Tonfa takes many years of practice, but once mastered the Tonfa is able to handle all combat situations.


Also known as Nunchucks, Nunchukas

These can be  made from wood, metal, plastic or just about any other material, although traditionally made from oakwood and believed to have developed from a farming swail used to cut down crops.

Probably the most famous and well known of all the Kobudo weapons. Made famous by the late Bruce Lee in many of his movie sceens.

Kendo Shinai

This Kobudo weapon is very traditional and part of ancient Japanese martial arts history.

The art of Kendo incorporates many strict movements and adheres strongly to tradition when practiced.

When practicing Kendo, body armour is worn to protect the most venerable body parts - a strike from a Kendo Shinai is extreamly painfull at he least and will break bones if no body armour is worn.!

Now you know what a Kobudo weapon is....

Would you try any of these weapons
Only logged-in users are allowed to comment. Login
Yes please they all look good.
Guest on 01/27/2013

Sure I am should be able to handle at least the Tonfa as Karate-Kohei

katiem2 on 01/23/2013

I'm a big fan of martial arts as it teaches balance and patience's. I've seen Kobudo used on tv but must admit I have not in real life. A new tool to experiment with.

Other great martial arts and Kobudo websites

All about Tonfa

Sparring with weapons - great videos

The history of Judo

A sample of some fantastic Tonfa skills from a true Kobudo expert - Alian Pia

single handed Tonfa techniques against and armed attacker.... enjoy

and finally - some very good Kobudo reading

Updated: 01/28/2013, TonfaGuy
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?

If you have enjoyed the page then please show a little Kobudo love by giving it the 'thumbs up' and adding your comments

Only logged-in users are allowed to comment. Login
cmoneyspinner on 02/12/2014

Never heard of Kobudo. But I dig the translation! :)

Rose on 01/25/2014

Those weapons look lethal. Kudos to marial arts guys for having the nerve to fight!

Guest on 01/27/2013

An interesting article. It is very hard to defend against these weapons and the first rule is to run if possible ;).

Mira on 01/26/2013

Interesting article. I've never heard of kobudo before. It looks much more heavy-handed than karate, with all those sticks and swords!

katiem2 on 01/23/2013

I felt martial arts would be the best way for my daughters to learn self-defense and the awareness of their mind and body in harmony. :)K

TonfaGuy on 01/23/2013

It's good when you see you children progress through the ranks.
I love teaching students - the latest generation of 'humans' are just so much faster, stronger and quicker than I ever was. I hope he continues for many more years.

JeanBakula on 01/22/2013

My son is a 2nd degree black belt in Goju Ru Okinawan Karate-do, it took him 6 yrs. to get his black belt. Karate has been great for him, he learned he loved working with young children and is now a teacher. He loves kobudo too, but his Sensei makes sure to call it "a self protection art" with the climate being as politically correct as it is. He is currently working with a nunte bo.

You might also like

History of Judo

Martial arts owes a lot to Dr Jigoro Kano, the founder of modern day Judo. Th...

Best Hamster Cages For Sale

What are the best Hamster Cages for sale that will give the very best Hamster...

Disclosure: This page generates income for authors based on affiliate relationships with our partners, including Amazon, Google and others.
Loading ...