OKINAWAN KOBUDO SEMINAR
Ryukyu Kobudo Tesshinkan
 
 
August 13 - 15, 2004
Parksville, B.C. Canada
 
With special guest:
Sensei Hidemi Tamayose, Kyoshi, 8th Dan
President of the Ryukyu Kobudo Tesshinkan
 
Along with a group of my senior students I recently spent another three day training camp in the "original weapons system of Okinawa" with one of the finest Okinawan weapons masters teaching in the world today, Sensei Hidemi Tamayose, Kyoshi, 8th Dan, President of the Ryukyu Kobudo Tesshinkan.
 
To give you a brief history of Okinawan kobudo, Taira Shinken (1897-1970) established the "Ryukyu Kobudo Hozon Shinko Kai", (Ancient Weapons Promotion and Preservation Society) in 1955, and upon his death in 1970, Sensei Akamine Eisuke (1925-1999) his senior student, inherited the leadership of the organization.
 
In 1982 Tamayose Sensei began studying directly under Akamine Sensei at the Hozon Shinko Kai Hombu Dojo. As one of the senior students Tamayose Sensei was ranked Nana Dan, 7th Dan, by Akamine Sensei and Hatchi, 8th Dan, by the Okinawa Ken Karate Do Rengo Kai, and he served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors until the death of Akamine Sensei in 1999.
 
Tamayose Sensei, in order to perpetuate Ryukyu Kobudo in the manner he had been taught by his teacher Eisuke Akamine Sensei, formed the "Ryukyu Kobudo Tesshinkan" on May 22, 1999.
 
In the beginning
Sensei Tamayose, as always, made the ten bo basics the foundation of our daily training, morning, afternoon, and evening. Lasting from and hour to an hour and a half each session this was a great way to warm up prior to moving on to kata. Following the bo basics the various katas including, the bo kata, Shushi no Kon Sho, the tekko kata, Maezato no Tekko, the nunchaku kata, Maezato no Nunchaku, and the sai kata, Chikin Shitahaku no Sai.
 
In the end a great deal of knowledge was imparted to all of the students during the three day event. I know that everyone involved in this camp will take back to their respective dojo's, wonderful memories, new friendships, as well as a renewed desire to work hard on all aspects of their kobudo.
 
Focused on the task at hand
Sempai Katharine Kaye stays focused during the kata, Shushi no Kon Sho. Within the Ryukyu Kobudo Tesshinkan there are ten basic bo movements that need to be demonstrated correctly on both the right and left side. All ten basics must be performed is a specific series, which not only promotes good skills, but also allows the student to learn one form correctly before going on to the next one after which Shushi no Kon Sho is the first bo kata a student is taught. Unlike some North American version of this kata the use of hip rotation in Okinawan katas is considered extremely important and as such is strongly emphasised during each movement of the kata.
 
Taking their turn
Out in front of the class with Sensei Tamayose watching very closely, Sempai Katharine Kaye, and Sempai Marilyn Norman go through the kata Shushi no Kon Sho together, while another group of students await their turn on the floor.
 
Sensei Nicholson
Sensei Martin Nicholson, one of the highest ranked student in Ryukyu Kobudo Tesshinkan, makes regular trips to Okinawa to train with Sensei Tamayose in his private dojo which is attached to his home. During the many weeks of personal one on one training that he has received in Okinawa over the past ten years Sensei Nicholson has established himself as one of the foremost practitioners of old Okinawan Kobudo.
 
A watchful eye
Throughout the weekend Sensei Martin Nicholson kept a close eye on all of the students, and especially on all the corrections, no matter how small, that were made by Sensei Tamayose. Those students seated beside him also paid very close attention knowing that their turn in front of the Master and the other students was just minutes away.
 
Attention to detail
No detail was to small to escape Sensei Tamayose's attention. Here Sempai Tim Trytten gets an up close, one on one lesson, on the finer points of the kata, Maezato no Tekko. Sensei Martin Nicholson who hosted the seminar in his newly completed dojo can be seen watching in the background. Well done Sensei, the dojo is great, you are to be congratulated on a wonderful facility.
 
Four on the floor
Working in groups of four Sensei Tamayose put all of the students through their paces at various point throughout the day. Seen here waiting their turn are, Sempai Marilyn Norman, Sensei Colleen Nicholson, Uwe Bartley, and Sempai Katharine Kaye.
 
Up next
Hands on is the best way to learn, here sensei Tamayose makes sure with two hands that Uwe Bartley knows just where he wants his upper hand to be at this point in the kata. As with any kata, the correct placement of the hands and feet, along with proper body posture, are all critical to proper performance.
 
Satisfied with what he sees
A little further through the same kata, Maezato no Tekko, Sensei Tamayose once again checks on Uwe's technique, stance, and posture. This time satisfied with what he saw he moved on to the next student in line who also performed equally well.
 
Posture first
Sensei Tamayose is always careful to stress that everything begins with good posture. Here he make sure that Sempai Marilyn Norman has her shoulders in the proper position before moving on with her lesson. Once again hands on helps the student to not only feel what is required, but this method also helps to instil body memory for those times when the students are practicing alone.
 
Leading by example
Setting the pace for everyone to follow Sensei Tamayose was always ready to lead by example when ever he felt it would help the students on the floor, or those waiting their turn, to better understand the point he was trying to make.
 
Always a beginner
While I hold Dan ranks in both Shotokan Karate and Goju Ryu Karate, in the years that I have been a member of the Ryukyu Kobudo Tesshinkan I have never graded for any rank within the organization. As a result, since being granted membership in the Tesshinkan, when ever I attend one of Sensei Tamayose's training camps I always make sure I am wearing a white belt, not a black one, and the same holds true for all of my students. As with all things in life if you want to learn anything, the first step is to keep and open mind, and the second step, is to always be sure that you check your ego at the door.
 
More than four
Bringing up several groups on this occasion Sensei Tamayose took everyone through Maezato no Tekko one more time before the lunch break, just to be sure that everyone was on the same page. Knowing what was coming in the afternoon session, however, most students ate very little, and instead used the time to go over what they had already been taught.
 
Sempai Jim Luck
A long time student of Sensei Nicholson's, Jim is a serious student of kobudo, as well as Goju Ryu karate. At the end of the three day camp Sempai Jim successfully graded for the rank of Ni Dan in the Ryukyu Kobudo Tesshinkan. Well done Jim - and congratulations from all of the Victoria students.
 
Maezato no Nunchaku
During a solo performance of her nunchaku kata Sempai Colleen Nicholson could always be seen in an excellent stance. Here Colleen is getting set to start moving forward into one of the final moves of the kata.
 
Kobudo bunkai
Just prior moving on to the sai kata, Chiken Shitahaku no Sai, Sensei Tamayose and Sensei Nicholson did a demonstration showing some of the bunkai applications that would apply to Maezato no Nunchaku.
 
 
Everyone got a turn
Tamayose Sensei, through out the weekend, made sure that each and every student had the opportunity to demonstrate what they had learnt in front of their fellow students. Sempai Katharine Kaye always made a point of working on good form when ever she was selected.
Just so
In the afternoon of the second day Sensei Tamayose once again spent time with each group of four, this time it was to make sure that all of the important aspects of the sai kata, Chikin Shitahaku no Sai, were adhered to. Nothing escaped his expert eye and all of his instructions were very detailed and specific.
 
Sai kata
With his years of dedicated training behind him Tamayose Sensei made every part of the sai kata he demonstrated look both powerful and smooth. To my left Sensei Colleen Nicholson shows good form during on of the many, many times we followed Sensei Tamayose through Chikin Shitahaku no Sai. Mo ichi do was a common phrase indeed.
 
An autographed bo
After the training was over Sensei Tamayose very kindly took the time to sign everyone's bo with the their name, the date, and name of his organization. I know that all of the students in attendance appreciated the gesture.
 
At the end of it all a grading
At the end of the camp several students took the opportunity to grade in front of Sensei Tamayose, and Sensei Nicholson. The ranks being sought ranged from brown belt to Ni Dan and each student knew in advance that very few mistakes would be permitted. A minimum score of 70.0 was required in order to pass.
 
A good score
All of the students who graded at this years Parksville summer camp passed successfully which had not been the case earlier in the week at the grading that had taken place after the Vancouver seminar. Here Colleen Nicholson receives the results and her point score from sensei Tamayose. Congratulations to all of those who graded.
 
We can't wait until next year
Thank you Sensei Tamayose for your time, and your knowledge. Both are greatly appreciated. Once again, as in past years, every student left the camp with a real appreciation for the skill and knowledge of this very talented, very humble, and very generous man.
 
 
Part the clouds - see the way.
 
"The objective of kobudo is to contribute to the evolution
of the human spirit through physical and mental training."
Sensei Peter Lindsay