If you’re over 40, like me, then you have the feeling that there’s been a general ” dumbing-down” of Karate-do. That there’s a lack of appreciation for quality Karate-do. You can blame it on whatever you want: ‘kurodee‘, sport Karate, or Karate tourism, or any other asinine activity that labels itself Karate, but the impression remains.

Kyoda Juhatsu

L to R: unknown, Kanzaki Shigekazu, Kyoda Juhatsu, Kyoda Shigeaki, Kyoda Juko

August 31 marks the date of the passing of Kyoda Juhatsu sensei, the founder of Tou’on-ryu. I spent that morning practicing Sanchin, Sesan, Sanseru and Bechurin and reflecting on what he had passed down to his students; not only kata but his moral and ethical teachings:


Posted by Kowakan Dojo | Karatedo
Shinshukan dojo

Front: Minowa sensei (L) & Yoshimura sensei (R) Standing: Tageshima san (L) & Me (R)

It’s been 20 years since I first entered the dojo of Minowa sensei and Yoshimura sensei to study Ryukyu Kobudo with them. Until then I had been practicing Goju-ryu for about 10 years and thought I was pretty set as far as my Karate-do was concerned. Initially I was only interested in learning Kobudo, but at their suggestion and encouragement I began to practice Uechi-ryu.

Rusty Tikko

Posted by Kowakan Dojo | Kobudo

Rusty Tikko 2

I purchased my first pair of Shureido tikko (手甲) way back in 1995 when I was training with Minowa sensei and Yoshimura sensei (as an aside, I don’t think Shureido sells them anymore, but I’m not completely sure). Like anything new, they were shinny with not a scratch on them, but over the years they’ve become a little worse for wear and have rusted quite a bit. So, this past week I decided I had better get off my as!@ and do something about that.

Know your weapon

Posted by Kowakan Dojo | Kobudo, Training
The weaponry of Ryukyu Kobudo

The weaponry of Ryukyu Kobudo

The older I get the more I love Ryukyu Kobudo. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy my Karate-do practice, but not nearly as much as Kobudo. There is a wonderful depth and breadth to the art of Kobudo that I seem to appreciate more than Karate-do. It’s something that I can see myself practicing well into my old age. But, oddly enough, Kobudo is not any easy art to commit to and it is IMHO a much more unforgiving mistress compared to Karate-do. You see, in Ryukyu Kobudo, if you make a mistake you get hurt…seriously.