"Kobujutsu" (or Kobudo) is a term for all Okinawan weapons training, military or civilian - although it occasionally describes ancient (pre-Meiji) martial arts in general. According to some accounts, a 15th-century Okinawan king banned all weapons but ceremonial ones among civilians. Okinawans responded by learning to fight with weaponized versions of day-to-day tools, as well as by honing their unarmed fighting arts (see Te, pp. 169-170). Later, Japanese invaders banned all weapons - ceremonial or otherwise - along with unarmed-combat training. All this did was drive the Okinawan martial arts underground and further encourage practitioners to disguise kata and weapon drills as dances.

Okinawan military weapons included the bisento, bow, broadsword, crossbow, katana, knife, naginata, shortsword, and yari. Even the musket and pistol eventually entered the fold. Post-ban civilian weapons were the bo (staff), eku, jo, kama, kusarigama, nunchaku, rokushaku kama (kama-staff combination), sai, spear, tekko (brass knuckles), tonfa, and tuja, and such hidden weapons as the fan, pipe, and umbrella. Traditional Kobujutsu also covered the timbe, a form of buckler used both to block and to strike. For weapon descriptions, see Chapter 6.

Given the number of weapons involved, it was rare for a school to offer training in everything. Most emphasized a few choice weapons. Thus, the style described here covers only the weapons most commonly associated with Kobujutsu. Traditionalists, Weapon Masters, instructors, and so on should still learn most or all of the listed weapon skills. The complete style would only be readily available in Okinawa, however!

Like Karate, Kobujutsu seeks to deflect an incoming attack and then retaliate with a single crushing blow. Kobujutsuka (Kobujutsu stylists) commonly take the Wait maneuver and attack the enemy when he steps into range, or parry his attack and then counter with a blow aimed to finish him. Many strikes are Deceptive Attacks, because while they're direct and linear, they're also quick and difficult to defend against. Stylists learn to fight against each weapon using any other.

Today, "kobujutsu" often refers to training in the civilian weapons developed under the weapons ban. Some masters do still offer the complete art, but this is rare. Modern schools tend to focus on the kama, nunchaku, sai, staff, and/or tonfa. In many cases, these weapons are taught as part of a Karate style.

Skills: Axe/Mace; Flail; Jitte/Sai; Savoir-Faire (Dojo); Staff; Tonfa; and at least one of Broadsword, Knife, Kusari, Polearm, Shield (Buckler), Shortsword, Spear, and Two-Handed Axe/Mace.

Techniques: Disarming (Jitte/Sai); Feint (Any weapon skill in style); Reverse Grip (Axe/Mace or Jitte/Sai).

Cinematic Skills: Power Blow.

Cinematic Techniques: Dual-Weapon Attack (Axe/Mace, Flail, Jitte/Sai, or Tonfa); Dual-Weapon Defense (Any weapon skill in style); Whirlwind Attack (Any weapon skill in style).

Perks: Grip Mastery (Staff); Off-Hand Weapon Training (Any one-handed weapon skill in style); Technique Adaptation (Feint); Technique Adaptation (Whirlwind Attack).

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