Friday, October 20, 2017

Kuwa - the Okinawan Hoe

Another Okinawan kobudo practice is that of the Kuwa, of the Hoe.

A tool for gardening and farming, it would have been readily available in the Okinawan farmers life, It also can be used in a devastating manner for defensive purposes.

Using the Kuwa

When people first think about using the kuwa, they usually imagine a big gashing motion with the blade edge. It would seem at first glance that this is the most devastating move for the weapon. While that is indeed an option, there are actually more dynamic tactics you can utilize.


First of all, the egashira (top end) can be used for thrusting purposes. As opposed to relying purely on large swinging motions, the kuwa can be prepped almost like a bo and thrust forward at extremely quick velocity. Due to its relatively small size, the egashira can also be pulled back quickly and “reloaded” for another thrust.


The reverse end of the egashira (as in, the side opposite the cutting hoe blade), is also utilized. Swinging motions with this part of the kuwa result in blunt trauma. This may seem less effective than a full-on blade strike, but it also allows for quick follow-up techniques. If there are multiple opponents, or reasons to hit one opponent more than once, it is critical not to get the blade stuck or snagged in the opponent’s clothes, body, etc.


The ejiri (butt end) is an equally important aspect of kuwa technique. If you have a hoe with a thick metal blade plate, it can be fairly hefty at the top. This results in slower movements, especially when compared to a perfectly balanced weapon like a sword. In order to compensate for that disadvantage, one can use the ejiri as the initial blocking and striking aspect, and then follow up with a finishing technique with the solid front end.


The ejiri can be manipulated very quickly. When holding a kuwa with the ejiri facing your opponent and the heavy metal end to the rear, the metal actually serves as a fulcrum and helps increase the speed and dynamics of the ejiri. What results is a tool that can keep pace even with fast weapons, but can then follow up with punishing, heavy blows

 From the site


The following are some of the Okinawan kobudo studies that incorporate the Kuwa.



Shihan Nishiuchi




Matayoshi kobudo Kodokan Kata: Kuwa no te



Mushikan Kuwa Okinawa kobudo



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