Kobudo refers to the weapon system that is used throughout Okinawan martial arts. A variety of different tools can be used as a weapon, each lending itself to a unique fighting style. This brief guide will give you some idea of some of the most common weapons that are used in the practice of kobudo.


The sansetsukon is similar in construct to the more popular nunchaku. It consists of three pieces of metal or wood that are tied together with a durable cord. This cord allows for mobility in the usage of the three pieces. Various stances allow the wielder of this weapon to attack from above, below, or take a defensive stance in order to block physical blows from fists and weapons alike.


The bo, or bo staff, is a weapon that is derived from an every day use as a farm tool in the Okinawan countryside. The six foot long staff was attached to a shovel spade, originally, before being repurposed into the weapon that is commonly used in the practice of kobudo. This staff, generally made from a strong oak, is generally considered the "base" from which all other kobudo weapons are based, as most other kobudo weaponery is constructed to exploit its shortcomings.

Nunti Bo

The nunti bo is similar to the bo, in that they are both six feet long staffs. However, the nunti bo has an added three prong sai attached to one end. This will give the wielder the ability to not only block attacks with brute force, as is the case with the bo, but can disarm bladed opponents from a long range, without putting one's self in short range danger. The sai can intercept bladed attacks and with a deft and sturdy twist of the bo, can send the weapon flying out of the wielder's hand.


The hanbo is a bamboo stick that is approximately three feet in length. It is quick and sturdy, and is great for use in quick striking attacks. The hanbo's weakness lies in the fact that, while it can inflict pain and is very much lightweight, it is not quite as resilient as some of the other weapons used in kobudo. Bamboo weapons can splinter and wind up harming the individual wielding the weapon, for example.

If you are interested in kobudo, it is highly recommended that you speak to a practitioner at a local and trusted martial arts institution or dojo. Contact a business, such as Tanaka's Martial Arts Academy, for more information.