Sunday, July 17, 2016

On Finding an Old Pair of Kama

In an old box I was going through I just came across an old pair of kama from a long time ago.


I had studied kama with Tris Sutrisno starting in 1980. Those kama were the lighter common Okinawan variety. The two kama forms I studied, Chosen No  Kama Sho and Chosen No Kama Dai were forms that built complexity to the forms as the progressed.


The weapons of the Sutrisno tradition all worked the same way. In  that the forms were progressive in nature each one building on the subsequent one. At that time I had studies 2 kama forms and 4 bo forms, while not the complete Sutrisno kobudo tradition they were representative as an approach to weapon instruction.


In those hand held weapons (kama, sai, sticks and tanto) a characteristic of the handling was continually changing the weapon handling from along side the arm (or closed position) to held pointing away from your body (or open position). Thereby making it confusing for the opponent to keep track of the weapon. This builds significant handling skill and is difficult to do.


In my program these kata are reserved for instructors to push their abilities. At the same time I have to admit they are beyond me. There is no way I can continue to do the kama position shifts these forms require.


As it turned out in 1983 I attended the Bando Summer Camp at the Maryland Boys Scout camp. The Bando people invited friends to attend.

Mr. Lewis sent me an invitation, and there were Bando Seniors I had met, Bob Maxwell and Rick Nemera through Mr. Lewis.


I was attending by myself, there were some students there from Mr. Lewis’ dojo and Reese Rigby’s dojo. Also in attendance was Mr. Don Bohan and a group of his students. This was the first time I had met him, but being a solitary 3rd dan I am sure I did not make much of an impression. My main focus that weekend was the depth of the arts shown, and I also had the chance to  learn the Bando stick for, The Hidden Stick.


I remember this very clearly because Bohan Sensei had some weapons for sale, and that is where I purchased the kama.


These kama were very different from the other ones I had. They were very stout, and the blades almost a ¼ inch thick. In construction they were so sound you could easily use them to dismantle a car.


It was impossible to do the kama kata I studied with these kama. Their size did not permit the same handling.


Time progresses. I was never a kobudo weapons kata collecter. Content to work on what I had, But once YouTube became available, that most Okinawan Kama Kata (but not all) did not use the same handling technique. I observe many of the kata use the kama held open in the hands. Which is logical in its own right, in an actual combat situation.


So I created a simple exercise to work many those motions with kama.

I never gave it a name, it was just a personal drill.




Now having found those kama, it seems a good fit for training for me. A way to preserve my strength.


I am not sure if there is a large lesson here. Just a memory that translated into a new way to train for myself.


But each time I touch these kama, I travel back to that Bando Camp, reviving memories of many people and finding new incentive to train anew.



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