photo by Alan Dollar
On the island of Okinawa, the origins of Matayoshi Kobudo can be traced back over hundreds of years through the ancestry of the Matayoshi Family. Their earliest documented ancestor was the famous Shinjo Gima (1557-1644) who was a leading Okinawan official at the time of the 1609 Satsuma invasion. Later members of the Matayoshi family served as members of the Ryu-Kyu royal guard but only in recent times did the art now known as Matayoshi Kobudo become formalised.
Shinko Matayoshi (1888-1947) was an exceptional martial artist who twice demonstrated Okinawan martial arts in front of the Japanese royal family earning him an unparalleled reputation and the nickname “Sickle Hands”. His son Matayoshi Shinpo (1921–1997) continued the family legacy of martial expertise and through the organisation and dissemination of Kobudo, he has become one of the most well known and highly respected of Okinawan masters.
photos by Kimo Wall
Today Matayoshi Kobudo is practised in over 2000 dojos worldwide and is considered by many to be the most comprehensive weapons system in existence with over 20 weapons comprising the syllabus. Most of the weapons have their origin as farm or domestic implements and for that reason Kobudo is known as the fighting art of the people.