Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Ryukyu Kobudo

With my kobudo teacher, Akamine Hiroshi sensei of the Shimbukan dojo
I've made scant mention of my training in kobudo up to now, but that's not because I don't practice it much, I do; my silence on the subject is because I'm not well known as a kobudoka, and that's the way I'd like to keep it. My teacher, Akamine Hiroshi sensei, however, and his dojo, the Shimbukan in Tomigusuku, are well known throughout Okinawa, and the world of Ryukyu kobudo.

Akamine sensei is not much older than me, only one year in fact, but his linage in the ancient martial tradition of his homeland, and his experience, place him light years ahead of me in the use of weapons. During my first meeting with him in 2006, my interest in the weapon arts of Okinawa was re-ignited, and I've been practising diligently ever since.

I have no official standing in kobudo other than being a direct student of Akamine sensei, and this is enough for me. Three others from the Shinseidokan dojo have trained at the Shimbukan, and between us, we keep each other honest as we struggle to develop our skills with the kon (Bo), sai, nunchaku, and tekko; it's not easy, but it's a great way to spend a couple of hours on a regular basis.

So, why mention kobudo and Akamine sensei now? Well, given how generous Akamine sensei has been to me, I believe it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge him from time to time. I feel extremely fortunate to have met Akamine sensei, and to have him accept me as a student. He asks little of me other than I try my best to improve, and once again, I find my obligation to do that, is enough for me.

Gratitude, and a sense of obligation to your teacher, requires a level of maturity not so easily found in today's world of corporate martial arts; where budo is bought and sold like cigarettes and beer. When gang "loyalty" and homage to the leader is thrust upon you, you can rest assured you're no longer involved in authentic budo training...merely an imitation it.