Is Zakimi bōjutsu the original Tsuken-bō?

In a similar line of thought as in the previous article, I continue the search for hints to the spread and characteristics of Tsuken-bō.

This time it is about Zakimi bōjutsu, sometimes simply called Zakimi-bō as handed down in Zakimi in Yomitan. It is preserved by the Zakimi Bō Preservation Society (Zakimi-bō Hozonkai), established in 1975, and usually performed during the Yomitan Festival and similar events.

Just as in case of the Namihira-bō previously described, Zakimi-bō as well uses 3-foot staffs and 6-foot-staffs as well as spear (yari) against 6-foot-staff in what is called Sī no Bō.

There are a total of eleven kata, namely

  • 1. Ichiban-bō,
  • 2. Niban-bō,
  • 3. Sanban-bō,
  • 4. Fui-uchi-bō (“sudden bō strikes”),
  • 5. Keiryū-bō,
  • 6. 3-foot-staff,
  • 7. 3-foot-staff and 6-foot-staff,
  • 8. Sanbō-bō (three directions or persons bō),
  • 9. Three-person 3-foot-staff,
  • 10. Three-person 6-foot-staff, and
  • 11. Ushiwaka-bō.

A characteristic feature are fierce swings of the .

It is said to have been handed down for about 500 years. Although it was interrupted for some reason in the early Meiji period, Zakimi bōjutsu was revived under the direction of Yamashiro Heizō (nickname: Uehara) as “combat kata” based on Tsuken-te (Chikin-dī).

With the above it is possible that this is an original old version of Tsuken-bō as described by Majikina Ankō 100 years ago as follows.

 There was also a staff method handed down by Tsuken Uēkata Seisoku as Tsuken-bō, which was very similar to the swordsmanship of the Jigen-ryū

Bōjutsu in Okinawa used the 6-foot-staff and 3-foot-staff. The first represents the spear, the latter represents the sword.

In short, while long ago Tsuken-bō might have originated on Tsuken Island, it spread out variously long ago to places such as to Zakimi in Yomitan and other places.

© 2023, Andreas Quast. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted in Bojutsu Kata Series, Shima Society, The Technique of Okinawa Karate and Kobudo, Theories of Historical Karate in Comparative Perspective, Tsuken and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.