Taira Shinken with bo
|Taira Shinken was born Maezato
Shinken on the tiny Island of Kumejima in the Village of Nakazato, in what
is now Okinawan Prefecture, on June 12, 1897. He was the second son
of three boys, and as a child, acquired the nickname "mosa"
meaning rascal, due to his mischievous nature.
He graduated from Nakazato Jinjo Elementary School and later began
work at a mine in Minami Jima. It was a serious mining accident,
which disabled Taira Shinken, leaving him with a limp to his right
leg. Deemed "useless" or "worthless" by his
co-workers, Taira Shinken resolved to make his body stronger and decided
that Bujutsu (martial arts) was the best means to reach his goal.
Shinken first learned the fundamentals of bo and sai from Funikoshi Gichin
before beginning training with Yabiku Moden. During
Taira Shinken's study under Yabiku Sensei, he mastered the use of such
weapons as the: Bo (6' staff), Eku (oar), Sai (metal truncheon), Tonfua
(right angled hand truncheon), and Nunchaku (wooden flail).
the example Funakoshi Sensei and Yabiku Sensei demonstrated, Taira worked
hard to master what he had learned from both of them. After his
training was completed in 1932, he was granted permission to open a dojo
in Ikahononsen City in Gunma prefecture, where he taught Karate-do and
Kobudo. In the following year (1933) Taira received his "Menjo"
(formal teaching licence) in Ryukyu Kobudo from Yabiku Sensei.
Shinken founded an organization to preserve the weapons and techniques he
had mastered calling it "the Society for the Preservation and
Promotion of Ryukyu Kobudo - "Ryukyu Kobudo Hozon Shinko
Kai". Taira Shinken passed away in 1970. His tradition
was carried on by several students, including Minowa Katsuhiko.
Katsuhiko standing - Taira Shinken seated.
|Minowa Sensei began studying
Ryukyu Kobudo under Taira Shinken, soon after receiving Shodan in
Uechi-ryu Karate-do from Uechi Kanei, at the age of 29. From Taira
Shinken, Minowa became proficient in the use of the bo, sai, tonfa,
nunchaku, eku, rochin and tinbe, tikko, niccho-gama and suruchin. By
1970 he had received his teaching license in Kobudo, and established his
own dojo in Matsukawa-cho, in Naha.
In 1977 Minowa turned over his Matsukawa dojo to his most senior
student, Kinjo Masakazu, and returned to his place of birth, Amami Oshima.
Here he established his own association (the Shinshukai) and began
teaching Uechi-ryu Karate-do and Kobudo until his full retirement from
teaching in 1987.
In 1987, Minowa Sensei turned over his Amami dojo to his most senior
student there, Yoshimura Hiroshi.
Minowa Katsuhiko passed away in 2003. He served on the
executive of the Ryukyu Kobudo Hozon Shinko Kai while a student of Taira
Shinken, and later when Akamine Eisuke took over as second
president. He attained the ranks of 9th dan in Uechi-ryu and 8th dan
in Ryukyu Kobudo
Yoshimura Hiroshi - 7th
dan Ryukyu Kobudo
A native of the island of Amami Oshima
in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan. Yoshimura Hiroshi began his Ryukyu
kobudo training under Minowa Katsuhiko upon the later's return to Amami
in the mid 1980's. After Minowa Sensei retired from active
teaching, the Amami dojo was turned over to Yoshimura Sensei.
Yoshimura Sensei is currently ranked 7th dan in Ryukyu Kobudo. We
are very fortunate to have him as our chief instructor.
Mario McKenna - 6th dan
Mr. McKenna received his Master's degree in Sports
Psychology from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. He moved to
Japan in 1994, and while living on the island of Amami Oshima in Kagoshima
Prefecture, he trained under Minowa Katsuhiko Sensei, and his student
Yoshimura Hiroshi Sensei in Ryukyu Kobudo until his return to Canada in 2002.
Although Mr. McKenna holds a Sandan rank in
Gohaku-Kai Karate-do, and Godan in Tou'on-ryu Karate, his main interest
seems to be in Ryukyu Kobudo (Okinawan Weapons). Sensei McKenna
holds the rank of Rokudan and has teaching
certification in Ryukyu Kobudo Shinko Kai. Sensei McKenna has also
trained under Murakami Katsumi, a teacher of Yamane-ryu Bo-jutsu.
McKenna currently teaches Kobudo classes at the Hillcrest Community
Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia. Visit Sensei McKenna's
website to find more on Ryukyu Kobudo, or to inquire about commencing
Kobudo classes at the Hillcrest Community
Naab - 4th dan Ryukyu Kobudo
A native of North Vancouver, British
Columbia, Krister Sensei holds the ranks of Godan (5th degree black
belt) in Shotokan Karate-do, and Yondan (4th degree black belt) in
Ryukyu Kobudo. He began his Kobudo training in February of 2003 under Sensei
Mario McKenna, and successfully graded for his yondan (4th degree black
belt) under Sensei Yoshimura Hiroshi on November 30, 2016.
kobudo instruction at the Hinode dojo is conducted by Sensei Krister.
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