Kobudo is the art of studying ancient weapons. True, the primary purpose of learning traditional Okinawan weapons is to learn the basics of these classical edged, blunt, and flexible weapons from antiquity. To assume that kobudo training only leads to weapons proficiency would be a misnomer. The entire body is required to make any weapons or empty-hands art work smoothly. Many hand strikes can derived from the original use of a weapon. A "karate chop", for example, is similar to the hand inflection of a sword strike. The idea is that hand striking and weapons use share similarities. Overlooked, however, is the benefit kobudo training presents to those wishing to learn kicking offense and defense.
Kicking and Minor Modifications
Since striking or defending with a weapon appears so far removed from kicking offensive and defensive tactics, novice practitioners might think major changes are required to transfer kobudo skill to kicking. In reality, only minor changes may be required. A few basic examples illustrate just how this is so:
- Bo Staff Evasions
A low-line bo staff sweep to the legs can cause a lot of damage on impact. The staff can also be used to sweep a leg out from under an opponent. Kicks can do the same thing in a different manner. The defensive tactic to deal with both incoming attacks can be the same: move the leg out of the way of the staff strike or kick and let it pass harmlessly.
- Swinging Upward Nunchaku Wrist Snap
Constructed with two hard sticks connected by a chain, the flexible weapon named nunchaku mostly employs swinging strikes. With the right forward wrist inflection, one of the sticks snaps straight into the opponent. An upwards swing of the nunchaku combined with a wrist snap sends on stick on a straight line towards a target. Rotating on the heels of the feet aids in accurately hitting a target. These same motions can be applied to an upward front kick. The leg swings forward in an "uppercut" motion and then snaps in a straight line to its target.
These are two of many examples that could be made. Through all the many examples, two consistent components are present.
Balance and Weight Distribution
Since energy and weight must be directed at the tip of a weapon, the body has to be in perfect balance and positioning for a strike to be effective. A sword tip won't pierce armor unless full body weight is perfectly behind the thrust. Similarly, a kick won't generate force unless the body's weight—weight being balanced on one leg—is effectively distributed. Training with weapons helps the cause of gaining better balance and weight distribution which, in turn, may translate into better kicking.
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