Monday, 14 April 2014

Kobudo training makes you smile!

John with Akamine sensei, at the Shimbukan dojo, Okinawa - 2012
This is going to sound a bit selfish, but one of the things I enjoy most about my kobudo training is my lack of standing; that is to say, the absence of a grade or rank. It's not that I don't see some value in a grading system if it's employed properly, but the truth is, in so many karate and kobudo groups these days, rank is sought after rather than being allowed to arrive.

When I'm in Okinawa, I split my training time between karate at the Jundokan dojo in Azato, and kobudo at the Shimbukan dojo in Tomigusuku. At first the two different practises felt just like that....different! But as the years role by I'm beginning to grasp a little feeling for kobudo, and as that feeling grows, so I have begun to note the similarities that exist between karate and kobudo.

I've reached a point where I can't imagine not practising kobudo as part of my ongoing engagement with the martial culture of Okinawa. This morning, I spent a wonderful two hours training with a student; we reviewed all six kobudo kata that we practise, spent time on bo, nunchaku, and sai kihon, and finished the training with a series of bo/sai kumite drills.

Later, after I'd showered and began to get ready for the day, I found my mind was still going over the morning training: I also found I was still smiling.