|Ben defends attack by Gavin at the Arizona Hombu during ippon kumite (one step|
Traditionally, kama was developed with other farming implements for self-defense on Okinawa. It became an important weapon due to King Shoshin of Okinawa outlawing the ownership of bladed weapons. Some suggest that the king was a devout Buddhist and was against violence, but in all likelihood, this notion was not correct, but instead the King was fearful of an uprising. Even though kama had a blade, these were not considered weapons, but rather farming tools so the Okinawan people converted traditional sickles into weapons of self-defense and trained in secret. Typically, one trains with two kama - one in each hand.
|Training with Nunchaku|
Anyway, kama was likely a weapon of the peasant class on Okinawa, simply because it would have been a tool of farmers – something beneath the Pechin class (Okinawan equivalent of Samurai). One of the great controversies of Okinawa karate was how the martial art developed. Many think of karate as a form of self-defense used only by Okinawan bodyguards and royalty, others argue it was a peasant art. The martial art of kobudo argues this was a combat art for peasants.
|Training in kama and bo at Kobudo class in Mesa, Arizona|
|Okinawan farmers at the Arizona Hombu dojo train with farming implements. Photo shows karate students|
and instructors training with kama (Okinawa sickles) during kobudo class.
|Kama and bokken - traditional Okinawan martial arts at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate.|