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Spartacus Maximus
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Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1714

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The idea that farmers and fishermen came up with kobudo isn’t entirely false. It just didn’t happen the way it has been popularized by some martial arts stories.

The facts that the popular stories leave out is that the farmers and fishermen were formerly wealthy nobles or even royal lineage. All men who had been trained in martial arts and with several types of weapons.

The social upheaval of the time forced many of these people to become fishermen, merchants or farmers to continue to make a living after losing their wealth and status or being stripped of them. They continued to train and practise in secrecy and their familiarity with weapons lead them to devise ways to adapt and use the tools of their new trades for training. This phenomenon is just about as old as the formal annexation of the Ryukyu kingdom by the Empire of Japan in the late 1880’s. None of the reknowned practitioners and teachers of that period or after are of lower birth. Every single one is noble or higher samurai class.
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Wastelander
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spartacus Maximus wrote:
The idea that farmers and fishermen came up with kobudo isn’t entirely false. It just didn’t happen the way it has been popularized by some martial arts stories.

The facts that the popular stories leave out is that the farmers and fishermen were formerly wealthy nobles or even royal lineage. All men who had been trained in martial arts and with several types of weapons.

The social upheaval of the time forced many of these people to become fishermen, merchants or farmers to continue to make a living after losing their wealth and status or being stripped of them. They continued to train and practise in secrecy and their familiarity with weapons lead them to devise ways to adapt and use the tools of their new trades for training. This phenomenon is just about as old as the formal annexation of the Ryukyu kingdom by the Empire of Japan in the late 1880’s. None of the reknowned practitioners and teachers of that period or after are of lower birth. Every single one is noble or higher samurai class.


The trouble with that is one of the timeline. That absolutely did happen...during the Meiji Restoration in the late 19th Century. I don't think we can necessarily say that the masters during that time period were wholly responsible for developing karate/kobudo. That was the start of systematizing them, though. Prior to that, even after the Japanese invasion in 1609, they allowed the Okinawan government and nobility to remain in place, so that Okinawa would act as a Japanese tributary state, and a go-between for trade with China, since that was prohibited on mainland Japan.
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MatsuShinshii
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Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 1423
Location: Kentucky
Styles: Machimura Suidi Rokudan, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo, Judo

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have read many, many opinions about who created Karate and Kobudo.

First off when you delve into this subject you will quickly realize that the myth that farmers and fishermen created these arts under the cover of darkness and secrecy is one purely of western invention.

The myth that it was created due to the Satsuma clan taking away all weapons is another western misconception as Wastlander has pointed out.

The truth, per actual documentation is the nobles created the art(s). To say this it needs to be clarified. When we say nobles that does not mean just Ryukyu nobles. The arts that make up what was called Tuidi (To-de), where created and passed down by Chinese nobles, Siam nobles and yes Okinawan nobles.

Many of the open hand techniques come from China, Indo-China and Okinawa itself. This is also true of Kobudo, which contrary to popular belief, did not only entail just those weapons that we are most familiar with today. As Wastelander said this included swords, spears, and the like along with those weapons we are all familiar with. These arts and weapons were not all indigenous to Okinawa, in fact not too many were.

I understand that "some" nobles fell into poverty and had to pick up farming or fishing to support their families but if you research this you'll find this is the exception rather than the rule. Most nobles turned to government or local municipal positions, education or the like. This is due to the simple fact that they were educated and peasants were not.

Oh and just a word of clarity about who invented Karate and Kobudo... the Japanese. The Ryukyu nobles created Tuidi and Buki.

Sorry, I couldn't help myself.
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Spartacus Maximus
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Joined: 01 Jun 2014
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Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One point about swords is that for the entire history of the Ryukyu Kingdom and beyond, they were weapons that only the privileged classes could possess or afford.

The Ryukyus did not have the resources to produce blades in significant numbers and therefore had to obtain either the raw materials or the finished weapons through trade. The training in swordsmanship and other blades weapons came from Chinese teachings and later from Satsuma Samurai. Ryukyu nobles has access to such training opportunities because they had the connections to be in contact with Chinese or Japanese experts, and travel to train under them. An often overlooked fact is that many Ryukyuan martial arts/Tuide experts were also equally brilliant swordsmen in addition to several other weapons not included in ”kobudo” as it is known now. For example, Matsumura Sokon the originator or Shorin-ryu was also an expert in the Jigen-ryu school or swordsmanship, which is the style taught to Satsuma samurai. Azato(Friend and fellow of Itosu and teacher or Funakoshi) was also known to be a fine blade.
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MatsuShinshii
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Joined: 15 Aug 2016
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Location: Kentucky
Styles: Machimura Suidi Rokudan, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo, Judo

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spartacus Maximus wrote:
One point about swords is that for the entire history of the Ryukyu Kingdom and beyond, they were weapons that only the privileged classes could possess or afford.

The Ryukyus did not have the resources to produce blades in significant numbers and therefore had to obtain either the raw materials or the finished weapons through trade. The training in swordsmanship and other blades weapons came from Chinese teachings and later from Satsuma Samurai. Ryukyu nobles has access to such training opportunities because they had the connections to be in contact with Chinese or Japanese experts, and travel to train under them. An often overlooked fact is that many Ryukyuan martial arts/Tuide experts were also equally brilliant swordsmen in addition to several other weapons not included in ”kobudo” as it is known now. For example, Matsumura Sokon the originator or Shorin-ryu was also an expert in the Jigen-ryu school or swordsmanship, which is the style taught to Satsuma samurai. Azato(Friend and fellow of Itosu and teacher or Funakoshi) was also known to be a fine blade.


Very true. Those around the time of Matsumura were in close proximity to the Satsuma Samurai and many learned the sword. You also point out a good point that debunks the myth of peasants developing MA's. Only the noble class had the time and money to learn and develop the Okinawan MA's.
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Age-Uke
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Joined: 11 Feb 2019
Posts: 18

Styles: Shotokan

PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:55 pm    Post subject: Kubudo Reply with quote

Nunchuku I believe was a rice and millet thrasher, Tonfa was at first a handle to millet and rice millstones.

Maybe the peasant mythos of Kobudo came from those?

IMO At the beginning of The Shimazu clan's occupation of Ryukyu with samurai at every checkpoint, focusing on weapons that were easily concealed or held in plain sight as non-threatening tools make sense. Nunchucku, Bo, Tonfa, Eku, Hanbo, Kuwa

The belief Karate itself was made up by peasants, I believe is also false.

As for Bo being a peasant weapon... Musō Gonnosuke founder of the Koryu school of jojutsu known as Shintō Musō-ryū defeated the famed Miyamoto Musashi with a jodo (short staff)
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Wastelander
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Joined: 18 Oct 2010
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Styles: Shorin-Ryu, Shuri-Ryu, Judo, KishimotoDi

PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:33 am    Post subject: Re: Kubudo Reply with quote

Age-Uke wrote:
Nunchuku I believe was a rice and millet thrasher, Tonfa was at first a handle to millet and rice millstones.

Maybe the peasant mythos of Kobudo came from those?

IMO At the beginning of The Shimazu clan's occupation of Ryukyu with samurai at every checkpoint, focusing on weapons that were easily concealed or held in plain sight as non-threatening tools make sense. Nunchucku, Bo, Tonfa, Eku, Hanbo, Kuwa

The belief Karate itself was made up by peasants, I believe is also false.

As for Bo being a peasant weapon... Musō Gonnosuke founder of the Koryu school of jojutsu known as Shintō Musō-ryū defeated the famed Miyamoto Musashi with a jodo (short staff)


There are similar-looking items that were used as a grain thrasher and millstone handle, but I find that to be a retcon. Nunchaku were likely some conglomerate of the iron flails of China and the horse bridles of Okinawan nobles. Tonfa come from Siam/Thailand, and are called "mae sawk" (arm shields) there.

As for the concealed weapons, what was the point? The Japanese had specifically signed an edict allowing Okinawan nobility to keep and carry weapons appropriate to their station, and only banned firearms. Okinawan nobles could confidently march through any checkpoint with their swords, spears, and whatever else, no problem.

It's easy to claim that bo, jo, hanbo, etc. are peasant weapons, because they are essentially just sticks. That doesn't change the fact that the standard issue weapon for guards at Shuri Castle were octagonal hardwood bo, with the faces painted alternating red and white.
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Age-Uke
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Joined: 11 Feb 2019
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Styles: Shotokan

PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree 100%

On Concealed.. I was thinking right after the occupation. With the tension that had to exist, to me makes sense that investing in weapon systems that were camouflaged either right out in the open and unknown to the occupying force, or kept out of sight, seems very plausible. IMO some of the weapon systems of Kubudo could easily fit the profile.


on Karate and peasant origins: IMO Doesn't compute

From

: https://toshujutsu.wordpress.com/2015/01/23/the-lost-master-anko-azato/

Anko Azato (Funakoshi O-Sensei other Sensei) studied Jigen Ryu swordsmanship directly under the noted Japanese instructor Ishuin Yashichiro. However, among all the combative disciplines, it was the swordsmanship of Jigenryu that Anko Azato most favored. In Funakoshi O-sensei opinion, Anko Azato was peerless in karate but judging by his preoccupation with Jigen Ryu, his swordsmanship was his real passion.”

Anko Azato held the nobility title of "Keimochi" which was like that of a lower Daimyo in Japanese society.”

And Anko Itosu was a Pechin (upper class noble)

Practicing a peasant's art would have been unheard of.
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Wastelander
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Styles: Shorin-Ryu, Shuri-Ryu, Judo, KishimotoDi

PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Age-Uke wrote:

On Concealed.. I was thinking right after the occupation. With the tension that had to exist, to me makes sense that investing in weapon systems that were camouflaged either right out in the open and unknown to the occupying force, or kept out of sight, seems very plausible. IMO some of the weapon systems of Kubudo could easily fit the profile.


I could see that, although I haven't seen anything written to suggest that was the case. Certainly plausible, though. My own pet theory is that some of it derived from boredom--many Peichin were tasked with guarding temples, palaces, and gardens, which would be a rather peaceful occupation most of the time, after the Ryukyu Unification. I could easily see highly trained martial artists/nobles being bored and picking up the gardener's kuwa or kama and start trying things out . Of course, there is no written evidence to suggest that is the origin, either, but it's just as plausible, to me.
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