Friday, December 16, 2011

Kama - Martial Arts Weapon from Okinawa & Arizona

Pencil sketch, by Soke Hausel
"A deshi who bares kama scars, knows kama well"  - Soke Hausel.

We start all of our students of Seiyo No Shorin-Ryu Karate Renmei in Arizona in both karate and kobudo (martial arts weapons) when they start training in karate. Karate and kobudo have always been taught together in traditional Okinawan karate, and there is no additional fee for learning kobudo. In Shorin-Ryu Karate, one is expected to learn both empty hand and weapons as the compliment one another and it is all part of their martial arts education. 

Dr. Adam (6th dan) trains with Adam Bialek during kobudo classes
at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate. Here, Adam
defends with kama while Dai-Shihan Adam attacks with bo (6-foot staff).
One of several traditional weapons taught at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate (martial arts school) and all of our schools around the globe as well as in our hombu dojo at the border of Gilbert and Mesa, Arizona with Chandler and not all that far from Tempe (60 W. Baseline Road) is kama. Kama is a traditional Okinawan weapon used by peasants and farmers that must be respected. This respect grows exponentially as one progresses to the kusarikama (kama with rope or chain) as there is greater potential for a collision with this later weapon. 

We recommended martial artists train with dull bladed kama, as sharpen kama leaves scars. One of our Casper Wyoming members returned from training in Okinawa a few years ago where he purchased gama (a pair of kama) and proceeded to cut himself in the dojo after he discovered the blades were sharp as razors. Because of this, we only allow non-sharpen practice weapons in the dojo as we only have so many bandages to go around.

Thursday evening classes are devoted to kobudo and start at 6:45 pm. We have extra practice weapons for new members to use. This training includes basic exercises, learning three complex kata (forms), bunkai (practical applications from the kata), and ippon kumite (one step attacks) using kama in self-defense against 6-foot pole (bo), samurai sword (bokken), 3-foot stick (hanbo), knife (tanto), and even guns.

Stop in and visit the Arizona School of Traditional Karate, a traditional dojo at the border of Mesa and Gilbert at 60 W. Baseline. We look forward to meeting you.

Charles Jean gives Ryan Harden (1st dan) a close shave during kobudo
classes at the Seiyo Hombu dojo in Mesa, Gilbert and Chandler, Arizona.