Monday, May 13, 2013

Martial Arts Students from Arizona Learn to Use Farming Tools

Kobudo, the ancient Okinawan martial art of farming and fishing tools for self-defense has been so effective, that many law enforcement agencies around the globe adopted many of these tools for their line of work. One notable tool was the tonfa, a side handle baton that replaced the common ‘Billy club’ for a few decades until the expandable baton was introduced. But even the expandable baton, known as a kibo and referred to as ASP, has a Japanese martial arts association. For instance, the hanbo, a 3-foot baton, is used in many styles of traditional jujutsu and ninjutsu and is even used in some styles of Shorin-Ryu Karate. Other similar tools include nitanbo and kobuton.
 Other kobudo tools, or weapons, include an unusual fork-like weapon known as sai. The sai is a classical kobudo martial art weapon and one of the hardest to learn. Even so, members of Seiyo No Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai at the Arizona Hombu in Mesa tested for certification with this weapon. To certify, the group was required to demonstrate four separate advanced kata (forms), bunkai (self-defense applications) and ippon kumite (sparing). Six martial artists from the martial arts school successfully passed exams and were awarded certification in this complicated weapon. The six included Adam Bialek, Sensei Bill Borea, Amanda Nemec, Ryan Nemec, Alexis Pillow and Sempai Patrick Scofield.

Utah Black Belts train in Arizona

Shihan Kim Schroeder and Sensei Jeff Schroeder train with hanbo
Each year, the Seiyo No Shorin-Ryu Karate Hombu welcomes members of the Utah Shorin-Kai for advanced training in karate, kobudo, samurai arts, etc. When the hombu was located at the University of Wyoming, members from the Utah martial arts association would travel to Laramie to train at the university. Now that I'm no longer at the university, the Utah martial artists jump aboard a plane in Salt Lake City and travel to Phoenix's Sky Harbor airport, rent a van or two, and drive to Mesa to stay at Days Inn while training at the Arizona Hombu dojo.
Explaining a technique for locking an attackers wrist to two Utah brown belts
Sensei Paula from Gilbert and Shihan Neal from Phoenix work
on restraints at the Arizona-Utah Karate Clinic.
Ryan from Mesa works on advanced martial arts technique with Jesse from Tempe.
This year, we welcomed some of the Utah yudansha (black belt rank) and sempai (senior brown belts) from the Utah Shorin-Kai who came to train in advanced martial arts techniques and hanbo on May 3rd and May 4th, 2013. The group arrived at Sky Harbor on Friday morning and checked into their motel near the Arizona martial arts training center on the border of Gilbert and Mesa near Baseline and MacDonald. On Friday evening, the Utah group led by Kyoshi Rob Watson, 8th dan, arrived at the martial arts facility and exchanged hugs, handshakes and greetings with a few members of the Arizona School of Traditional Karate.

After exchanging greetings and renewing friendships, we bowed in, warmed up, and started our training with hanbo. The hanbo is a 3-foot bo (stick) often seen with ninja or jujutsuka. I was introduced to this very practical art by my instructor several years ago. Weapons similar to hanbo include tonfa, nitanbo and kioga. The kioga, also referred to as kibo, is a common tool of law enforcement that is referred to as ASP or expandable baton. The difference between the use of the hanbo and kioga is that the hanbo is always the same length, but many techniques are similar. The difference between law enforcement officials and martial artists is that law enforcement training is limited in use of this tool. True traditional martial artists never end training and use the hanbo to activate pressure points and use it for blocks, strikes, restraints and throws. Following two hours of training with the hanbo, the Arizona-Utah group retired until the next morning.

On Saturday morning, training began in advanced empty hand (karate) techniques. These included blocks, strikes, chokes, throws and restraints. The group trained for five hours before the clinic ended. At the end of the clinic, Kyoshi Rob Watson, 8th dan and Renshi Todd Stoneking, 6th dan, and members of both Arizona and Utah said their goodbyes and it was the consensus that the time went by too fast. But many had bruises to remember. I will travel to Utah in the fall for the Utah gassuku (adverse training) at the East Canyon resort near Park City.

Professional photographs during the training were taken by Amanda and Ryan Nemec of NemecPhotos. We are very thankful and appreciated by the excellent quality of the photography at this year’s clinic.
The 2013 Arizona-Utah clinic ends with bows to one another.
Bunkai (application) from Meikyo kata