Chapter Six

MARTIAL ARTS HISTORY

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE MARTIAL ARTS
 
  • The connection between the classic martial arts and Yuishinkai Kobujutsu
  • The Japanese connection
  • The Okinawan connection
  • Classical Kenjutsu at a temple in Tokyo

Ryu Kyu KobujutsuThe traditional martial arts that are taught in the Yuishinkai Kobujutsu dojo have a very long history in Japan and Okinawa.

The classical martial arts that developed in Japan go back a very long way in time.

The Ryu faced the problem of not having actual military battles to fight any more.  How to teach, practice and refine martial arts techniques posed a real problem. Practising with live katana caused many injuries and as a result the four-piece bamboo shinai was developed.

While these changes were happening to the Japanese martial arts, other developments related to the martial arts were taking place in Okinawa, the Ryu Kyu islands south of Japan.

In the early 1600’s Okinawa was taken over by Japan after a military battle.   All weapons, especially the sword were subsequently banned as was anything related to the martial arts.  Karate was taught in secret by the masters. A variety of weapons and their techniques were developed. The Emperor of Japan visited Okinawa in 1918 and one of the things he was shown about Okinawan culture was a Karate demonstration.

During the American occupation of Japan, after the Second World War, all forms of martial arts were banned.  Fortunately, there have always been a number of traditionalists in Japan who considered that their Ryu should continue to teach the full curriculum of their martial art, especially kenjutsu.

There is also a very real history of the Shinto religion and the Kami to whom the samurai turned to for protection and guidance.  The sword was their unique fighting weapon and anything to do with the samurai of Japan will inevitably conjure up stories about their exploits with the katana.

Come with me now, for a short while back to 1498, into the fascinating world of the Sword Maker and learn something about the Samurai’s sword.

After that I will take you a little more deeply into the military history of Japan. Then it will be time to go back to Shimizu.

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