2023 Training tour to Okinawa

It is often said that Karate and Kobudo are like husband and wife; two facets of the same entity which is Okinawan martial arts. Ryukyu Kobudo Hozonkai exists to preserve and promote the old ways of Okinawan weapons.

As a result Damien, Hannah and Bree have made Kobudo a significant part of their practice as Taira sensei’s own practice inspired to add kobudo training to their karate practice.

The Ryukyu Kobudo Hozonkai is headed by Masakazu Kinjo Hanshi (9th dan) from the Kubagawa Dojo in Okinawa. One of Kinjo sensei’s notable students is Masaji Taira sensei from the Okinawa Goju Ryu Kenkyukai, who holds his Shihan’s licence from Kinjo sensei. As you may have seen on other areas of our website, Taira sensei is Damien’s karate teacher in Okinawa.

The Kobudo practiced at Southern Cross Martial Arts incorporates the Bo (staff), Sai (three pronged truncheon), Tonfa (side handled stick), Tekko (knuckledusters), Eku (paddle), Nunchaku (flail) and the Rochin & Tinbe (spear and shield).

The Ryukyu Kobudo Hozonkai is of the lineage of Taira Shinken sensei. Taira Shinken sensei was born Maezato Shinken on the tiny Island of Kumejima in the Village of Nakazato, in what is now Okinawan Prefecture, on June 12, 1897. He graduated from Nakazato Jinjo Elementary School and later began work at a mine in Minami Jima. A serious mining accident, which disabled Taira Shinken, leaving him with a limp to his right leg led to Taira sensei resolving to make his body stronger and deciding that Bujutsu (martial arts) was the best means to reach his goal.

In 1929 Taira sensei began training with Yabiku Moden Sensei. During Taira Shinken’s study under Yabiku Sensei, he mastered the use of such weapons as the: Bo (6′ staff), Eku (oar), Sai (metal truncheon), Tonfua (right angled hand truncheon), and Nunchaku (wooden flail). In 1933 Taira received his “Menjo” (formal teaching licence) in Ryukyu Kobudo from Yabiku Sensei.

Taira sensei founded an organization to preserve the weapons and techniques he had mastered calling it “the Society for the Preservation and Promotion of Ryukyu Kobudo – “Ryukyu Kobudo Hozon Shinko Kai”. Taira Shinken passed away in 1970. 

One of Taira sensei’s senior students was Minowa Katsuhiko sensei. Minowa Sensei began studying Ryukyu Kobudo under Taira Shinken Sensei, at the age of 29. From Taira Sensei, he became proficient in the use of the bo, sai, tonfa, nunchaku, eku, rochin and tinbe, tikko, niccho-gama and suruchin. By 1970 he had received his teaching license in Kobudo, and established his own dojo in Matsukawa-cho, in Naha.

In 1977 Minowa Sensei turned over his Matsukawa dojo to his most senior student, Kinjo Masakazu Sensei, and returned to his place of birth, Amami Oshima. Minowa Katsuhiko passed away in 2003. He served on the executive of the Ryukyu Kobudo Hozon Shinko Kai while a student of Taira Sensei, and he attained the rank of 8th dan in Ryukyu Kobudo. 

Kinjo Masakazu sensei passed away in 2023. He had attained 9th dan in Kobudo and 10th dan in Uechi Ryu karate and was a legend in the world of Okinawan Kobudo. He was a direct student of Minowa Sensei, one of the most respected students of the legendary Hanshi Shinken Taira. Hanshi Kinjo Masakazu was renowned not only as a world authority on Kobudo as a practitioner but also as a Kobudo historian. His sons Shihan Satoshi Kinjo and Shihan Kenta Kinjo are both multiple world champions.

The instructors at Southern Cross Martial Arts have travelled to Okinawa many times to train with Kinjo Satoshi sensei (7th dan).

Sensei Damien is the Australian branch chief and is a 3rd dan with the Ryukyu Kobudo Hozonkai.