Kobudo is the study of a system of weapons including the Bo sometimes called Kon, (six-foot staff), Sai (small trident), Tonfa or Tonkua (wooden side handled baton) and the Nunchaku as well as less well-known items such as the boat oar (Eku) and the hoe.
Like Karate, Kobudo has its origins in one of the islands of present-day Japan, Okinawa, dating back hundreds of years. The exact origins of who started the practice of Kobudo are difficult to confirm due to a lack of historical documentation from the period. The most popular view is that peasants secretly turned common, everyday items such as water-bucket carrying poles, boat oars, hoes and horse bridles into weapons to defend their families and property during a very turbulent period in their history and at a time when they were banned from possessing any weapons. Others have suggested that the warrior class were also involved in Kobudo and other forms of marital arts training.
Regardless of its precise roots, we do know that various styles started to emerge publicly around the turn of the last century. One of these is the Matayoshi style, named after its founder, Shinko Matayoshi (1888 – 1947). Shinko Matayoshi was taught by many different instructors and was heavily influenced by Chinese martial arts weaponry, having travelled in China beginning at the age of 22. Interestingly, during a visit of Prince Hirohito to Okinawa in 1921, Matayoshi Shinko Sensei participated in a martial arts demonstration with Miyagi Chojun Sensei, the founder of Goju-Ryo Karate and the principal style of karate taught at Rideau Osgoode Martial Arts.
The Rideau Osgoode Martial Arts Club, as an accredited dojo of the Okinawa Kobudo Doushi Rensei-kai (OKDR), teaches traditional Okinawan Kobudo developed by Matayoshi Shinko Sensei.