Traditional Okinawan Weapons


Nunchaku Yamane Ryu Kobudo IMG 2687

Nunchaku are two, three or more sections of wood connected by a cord or chain. Okinawan nunchaku were originally developed from a wooden horse's bridle and were used to defend against knife attacks. Because of the scarcity of metal on Okinawa when you went into town on your horse you would remove the bridle because the bit was metal. If you left it on the horse someone would steal it to get the metal. You would then keep it in the sleeve of your kimono and if you were attacked you then had easy access to it so you defend yourself.

Chinese nunchaku are usually rounded and were developed from fails used to thresh rice.  Okinawan nunchaku now tend to be hexagonal and are more like the Chinese version.



Kama Yamane Ryu Kobudo IMG 2686

The kama are based on a traditional farming sickle, and are normally used in pairs(Nichogama). You can slice with the blade, hook with the blade, hammer with the rear of the handle, stab with the point of the blade and thrust with the butt of the handle. Difficult to learn due to the inherent danger in practicing with an edged weapon. Most techniques are designed to be used against a Bo.

Kama 01


Tekko Yamane Ryu Kobudo IMG 2680

Use of the true "Tekko" started with the "Horseshoe Tekko". Because weapons were banned in Okinawa they used a horseshoe in the hand to punch with. However, the popularity of the horseshoe tekko faded as attention turned to the smaller, more concealable horse stirrup. The horse stirrup ("abumi") version consists of a semicircle, with two ends connected by a bar to  create a fist-loaded weapon. The traditional stirrup tekko consists of light metal and wood. 

the main form of usage from that of empty-hand technique, whilst also introducing slashing movements. The tekko is usually made to the width of the hand with anything between one and three protruding points on the knuckle front with protruding points at the top and the bottom of the knuckle.



Eiku Yamane Ryu Kobudo IMG 2692

The Okinawan style of oar is called an eku (this actually refers to the local wood most commonly used for oars), eiku, iyeku, or ieku. Noteworthy hallmarks are the slight point at the tip, curve to one side of the paddle and a roof-like ridge along the other. One of the basic moves for this weapon utilizes the fact that a fisherman fighting on the beach would be able to fling sand at an opponent. While not having the length, and therefore reach, of the , the rather sharp edges can inflict more penetrating damage when wielded properly.

Eiku 01


Tunpa Yamane Ryu Kobudo IMG 2683

The tonfa may have originated as the handle of a millstone used for grinding grain. It is traditionally made from red oak, and can be gripped by the short perpendicular handle or by the longer main shaft.  The tonfa is more readily recognized by its modern development in the form of the police Side-handle baton, but many traditional tonfa techniques differ from side-handle baton techniques. For example, tonfa are often used in pairs, while side-handle batons generally are not.

Tunpa 03

Tinbé & Rochin

Tinbe Rochin Yamane Ryu Kobudo IMG 2688

The tinbe-rochin consists of a shield and spear. It is one of the least known Okinawan weapons. The tinbe (shield) can be made of various materials but is commonly found in vine or cane, metal, or archetypically, from a turtle shell (historically, the Ryūkyū Islands' primary source of food, fishing, provided a reliable supply of turtle shells). The shield size is generally about 45 cm long and 38 cm wide. The rochin (short spear) is cut with the length of the shaft being the same distance as the forearm to the elbow if it is being held in the hand. The spearhead then protrudes from the shaft and can be found in many differing designs varying from spears to short swords and machete-style implements.

Tinbé & Rochin 01


Sai Yamane Ryu Kobudo IMG 2682

The sai is a three-pronged truncheon and appears similar to a short sword, but is not bladed and the end is traditionally blunt. The weapon is metal and of the truncheon class with its length dependent upon the forearm of the user. It was was one of two weapons used by Okinawan law enforcement officals, the other is the Bo. The two shorter prongs on either side of the main shaft are used for trapping (and sometimes breaking) other weapons such as a sword or bo. 

Weapons Sai IMG 1713


Bo Yamane Ryu Kobudo IMG 2691

The bō is a six-foot long staff, sometimes tapered at one or both ends.  The bo is the earliest of all Okinawan weapons (and effectively one of the earliest of all weapons in the form of a basic staff), and was the other weapon used by Okinawan law enforcement officals. The Bo is the major weapon of the Yamane Ryu system with seven Katas and many basic exercises. It is also one of the most effective weapons with its reach and ability to strike and thrust from both ends.

Bo IMG 2659