Matayoshi Kobudo

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Matayoshi Kobudo
Focus Weaponry
Country of origin Japan Okinawa Prefecture, Japan
Creator Matayoshi Shinpo

Matayoshi Kobudo is a general term referring to the style of Okinawan Kobudo that was developed by Matayoshi Shinpo 又吉眞豊during the Twentieth Century. Martial arts were practiced by the Matayoshi family for over 9 generations and drew heavy influence from Japanese, Chinese and indigenous Okinawan martial arts styles. Currently the Matayoshi family practise no longer.

In the early 20th century Matayoshi Shinko 又吉眞光 was asked to demonstrate Kobudo to the Japanese Emperor. He did this twice alongside the likes of Chojun Miyagi and Gichin Funakoshi. The Emperor was so impressed that he awarded the Matayoshi Family the Royal emblem (Kiku Flower) to wear on their Kobudo logo. This alongside the Okinawan emblem (mitsu domoe) went on to form the logo of the Zen Okinawa Kobudo Renmei.

Following the death of Matayoshi Shinko in 1947, his only son Shinpo, continued his father's legacy by teaching kobudo. Matayoshi Shinpo started a dojo in the 1960s in memory of his father and called it the Kodokan 光道館. From the Kodokan he taught a wide variety of traditional weapons associated with Okinawan peasants. In 1972, Matayoshi Sensei created the Zen Okinawan Kobudo Renmei as an organisation dedicated to the teaching and studying of Okinawa Kobudo. Following the death of Shinpo Matayoshi in 1997, Matayoshi Kobudo now finds itself split into many different organisations.

Thanks to the extensive teaching of Matayoshi Shinpo and his students, Matayoshi Kobudo has great influence and respect around the world and an estimated 2000 dojos can now be found worldwide.

Weapons and kata[edit]

  • (6 ft Staff) - Shushi no kun, Choun no kun, Sakugawa no kun, Tsuken (Chikin) no kun, Shishi no kun,
  • Sai (Small Trident) - Matayoshi No Sai Dai Ichi (Nicho Sai), Matayoshi No Sai Dai Ni (Sancho Sai), Shinbaru / Chinbaru no sai
  • Tonfa (Wooden Side handled Batton) - Matayoshi No Tunkua Dai Ichi, Matayoshi No Tunkua Dai Ni
  • Nunchaku (Threshing short staff) - Nunchaku No Kata
  • Sansetsukon (Three Sectional Staff) - Hakuho, Sansetsukun No Kata
  • Eku (Boat Oar) - Tsuken Hakachu No Eku Di
  • Nunti-Bo (Spear) - Nunti No Kata
  • Tinbei (Shield) - Timbei No Kata
  • Kama (Short sickles) - Kama No Te
  • Surujin (Weighted rope / Chain) - Suruchin No Kata
  • Kuwa (Hoe) - Kuwa No Te

Matayoshi Lineage[edit]

The Matayoshi Family Home is above the Kodokan dojo in Naha Okinawa. Matayoshi Yasushi (the only son of Shinpo) is the spiritual head of the Kodokan as appointed by his father. Matayoshi Yasushi does not practice Kobudo but he does advise on techniques based on his memories of his father. Yasushi Matayoshi currently welcome various Sensei to teach his father's legacy at the Kodokan. At the time of his death, Matayoshi Sensei's next in line for technical competence was Yoshiaki Gakiya.

Family lineage:

19th century
  • Shingin Matayoshi,
  • Shintoku Matayoshi
  • Shinchin Matayoshi
  • Shinko Matayoshi (1888-1947)
20th century
  • Shinko Matayoshi (1888-1947)
  • Shinpo Matayoshi (1921-1997)
  • Yasushi Matayoshi (present day)
21st century
  • Yasushi Matayoshi (present day)

Some former students of Master Matayoshi now have their own organizations:

  • Itokazu Seisho "Matayoshi Kobudo Shinbukai"
  • Neil Stolsmark "Okinawa Kobudo Doushi Rensei-kai" (formerly Gakiya Yoshiaki)
  • Andrea Guarelli "I.M.K.A. - International Matayoshi Kobudo Association"
  • Kenyu Chinen "World Oshu-Kai Dento Okinawa Shorin-Ryu Karate Do Kobudo Federation"
  • Yamashiro Kenichi "Kingai-Ryu Matayoshi Kobudo"
  • Kinjo Takashi "Okinawa Budo Kokusai Renmei" and the "Okinawa Kobukai"
  • Seisuke Adaniya "Nippon Budo Club"
  • Zenei Oshiro "Academie Internationale de kobudo d'Okinawa"
  • Kimo Wall "Okinawa Kodokan"

External links[edit]


  • Kenyu Chinen "Kobudo d'Okinawa" 1985 - Sedirep Paris
  • Andrea Guarelli "Okinawan Kobudo: The History, Tools, and Techniques of the Ancient Martial Art" 2016 - SkyHorse New York