Chapter Two


  • My first trip to Japan
  • A cold morning in the Shimizu Dojo
  • The Fifteen Kumite – something new
  • Questions – Who made my Bo?

Ryu Kyu KobujutsuThe densely wooded lower hills of Shimizu surrounded the Inoue dojo that had been built there some fifty years ago.  It was winter and the cold morning air seemed to hold everything in its icy grip.

I stood in the centre of the dojo. I looked down for a moment at the highly polished wooden floor of the dojo and saw the reflected images of the eight men who were watching me.

Each man was holding a Bo lightly in his hands and I felt myself gripping my own Bo a little more tightly than usual. Suddenly the Shihan spoke a single word “Hajimemasu!” – Start!

The man in front of me suddenly moved and thrust for my throat with his Bo at full speed.  ….the Fifteen Kumite had started in earnest!  The next man took his place – and the next – until all eight men had “attacked” me.  It was an intense few minutes in the centre of the Dojo floor.

I now stood in the group of men waiting for my turn to attack the next “defender” in the Fifteen Kumite. I held my Bo lightly in my hands.  What was it about one’s weapons, I thought, as I looked down at my Bo that I had used since 1985.

In one sense, it was only a piece of wood about one point eight metres long, about two point five centimetres in diameter and tapered at both ends. Yet, whenever when I trained with it and let my mind flow, there was always that feeling that it was “alive” in some indefinable way!

I often wondered if I would ever get to know the history of my Bo and something about the man who had made it.  It seemed very unlikely but then life does.


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