Posted by Fumio Demura on Feb 11th 2017
KOBUDO & KARATE
To me there are three primary reasons why karate students should practice kobudo, even if they feel it has become outdated. The first is that kobudo training strengthens the muscles of the body: hands, fingers, arms, shoulders, and especially hips, in ways that ordinary karate cannot achieve. Kobudo training helps practitioners to make dramatic breakthroughs in their empty hand technique in a remarkably short period of time. Kobudo develops greater understanding of body mechanics and distance, which are critical concepts in karate. Moreover, without kobudo training, karate practitioners will never develop the speed that is necessary to generate ikken hisatsu (one-punch stopping power). This makes kobudo training fundamental to the development of karate as well. Historically, ikken hisatsu was the ultimate goal of karate training in Okinawa.
Second, and perhaps even more important than the physical attributes one acquires when practising with weapons, is the mental preparation and awareness which is honed by kobudo practice. Because of the inherent danger in training with weapons, kobudo forces the practitioner to exercise the highest level of concentration and focus. This may ultimately be the most important skill a warrior can possess. I believe that if students do not train in kobudo, their training will not fully prepare them either mentally or physically for anything beyond point-fighting competitions.
The third reason that kobudo is an important supplement to karate training is that it is a way for practitioners from all the different styles of martial arts to get together. Although empty hand fighting techniques between different styles can vary dramatically, with distinctive variations between styles, kobudo techniques transcend stylistic boundaries. Training with practitioners from different styles promotes the exchange of knowledge and ideas. This develops an even greater understanding of body mechanics and distance which are critical in karate.
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