Okinawan kobudo is a Japanese term that can be translated as “old martial way of Okinawa“. It is a generic term coined in the twentieth century.
Okinawan kobudo refers to the weapon systems of Okinawan martial arts, included the rokushakubo (six foot staff, known as the “bo”), sai (dagger-shaped truncheon), tonfa (handled club), kama (sickle) and the eku (boat oar of traditional Okinawan design).
Okinawan kobudo may not be confused with the term Kobudo, which is described in the article Koryu, because the term Kobudo refers not to a weapon system but refers to a concept of moral from the feudal Japan.
It is a popular story and common belief that Okinawan farming tools evolved into weapons due to restrictions placed upon the peasants by the Satsuma samurai clan when the island was made a part of Japan, which forbade them from carrying arms. As a result, it is said, they were defenseless and developed a fighting system around their traditional farming implements. However, modern martial arts scholars have been unable to find historical backing for this story, and the evidence uncovered by various martial historians points to thePechin Warrior caste in Okinawa as being those who practiced and studied various martial arts, rather than the Heimin, or commoner. It is true that Okinawans, under the rule of foreign powers, were prohibited from carrying weapons or practicing with them in public. But the weapons-based fighting that they secretly practiced (and the types of weapons they practiced with) had strong Chinese roots, and examples of similar weapons have been found in China, Malaysia and Indonesia pre-dating the Okinawan adaptations.