About Kobudo

Meidokan Kobudo is a division of Kokusai Jujutsu Ryu-International Jujutsu Institute (KJR-IJI).

What is Kobudo?

Kobudo refers to KJR Jujutsu weapon arts. Within this institute, in order to effectively learn unarmed jujutsu defence against weapons (modern or traditional), students are given to opportunity to undertake basic and advanced study in the use of various Japanese weapons.

Whilst Kobudo falls within the “Ten Divisions of KJR Jujutsu”, it nevertheless has a separate curriculum which may be studied independently of jujutsu. Meidokan Kobudo is the ‘weapons division’ of Kokusai Jujutsu Ryu-International Jujutsu Institute’ (KJR-IJI). The separate syllabus and ranking system allows members to study “kobudo” without studying the jujutsu syllabus.

Meidokan means “a place for illuminating the way” and kobudo, within the KJR, refers to the modern way (do) of studying the traditional (ko) Japanese arts (bu). Meidokan was also the name of a pre-World War II Kyoto dojo, where Kokusairyu and Kanoryu jujutsu were taught. KJR jujutsu originated with the Kyoto Kokusai Jujutsu Daigakuin (Kyoto International Society of Jujutsu). The Society taught jujutsu, kuatsu (methods of killing and restoration of life) and kobu weapons arts. The Kyoto school opened at the end of the nineteenth century and closed in 1945.

Meidokan Kobudo Kyohan

The weapons syllabus is entitled “Meidokan Kobudo Kyohan”, and is documented in one of several books published by the Institute as training and research aids. The KJR has had an independent, but closely linked, weapons syllabus since 1993.

Weapons training has always been an integral the jujutsu training and a grading component for Yudansha (black belt) ranks. The late grandmaster Professor Kam Hock Hoe always taught weapons in special workshops outside the normal jujutsu classes and this precedent has not changed since ‘Kokusai Jujutsu’ was introduced into Australia in 1970. Having a separate syllabus has made KJR weapons training accessible to those unable to, not wishing to, focus on jujutsu.

Meidokan Kobudo ‘kyu-dan’ ranking structure and kyohan (syllabus) provides a solid introduction to other Japanese weapons study. The system has less detail (kata) than most koryu or traditional systems of Japanese martial arts (such as kenjutsu or jojutsu), but provides a strong framework for ongoing or advanced study outside the Institute.

The main weapons studied include:

  • Tachi (katana, iaito, bokken*, shin-ken etc) - Japanese sword.
  • Jo (tsue*) Japanese short staff (approx 1.2m. or 4 ft)
  • Ko-dachi (wakazashi, shoto*, machete etc) - short sword and similar sized weapons
  • Tanbo * (tanjo) - short stick (approx 47cms)
  • Tanto - knife, dagger etc.
  • Naginata - glaive, halberd spear with blade attached (2m long)
  • Some lesser weapons arts (sai, tonfa etc).

Note: * denotes wooden weapons, usually Japanese white oak, used for paired combat.

The kyu (student level) syllabus focuses on:

  • furyu (traditions, etiquette and handling weapons);
  • kamae (basic postures);
  • kumijo (jo against jo);
  • jodori (jo taking while unarmed);
  • jonage (defending unarmed attack with jo);
  • kumitachi (sword against sword);
  • tachidori (sword taking);
  • jodo (jo against sword);
  • battoho (drawing and cutting with the sword - wooden and metal)
  • jo no kata - jugata (extended kata as solo or paired exercise).

Other components are taught at dan level, with special consideration given for ranks and ability in other Japanese weapons arts (external qualifications).

KJR Kobudo members also have access to advanced Japanese weapons training through Institute affiliations and associations.

See Training Information for details on where normal sessions are held.