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Kobudo In Rome

The Palaemi Sports Complex in Nomentana, Rome played host to the 7th International Kobudo Contest organised by Kaishu Italia in association with the Associazione Centri Sportivi Italiani. The competition on Sunday 18th of February was preceded by a seminar on the Saturday with Okinawan Kobudo master Oshiro Zenei Sensei, an eminent teacher of Matayoshi style of Kobudo as well as the Goju style of Karate.

With participants travelling from Germany, France, Canada and of course all over Italy for the prestigious event, White Tiger’s Martin O’Malley was invited to take part representing Ireland at the weekends activities where he earned two bronze and a gold for his efforts in the competition.

It was three Italian opponents for Martin as he began his competition with Bo Jutsu (6 foot staff) where he first came up against Casini. Here Martin performed Shirotaro no Kon to take the decision and move on to the next round. Shiromatsu No Kon against Casilli saw him facing off next against Muscatello where he began Shirotaru No Kon, but unfortunately an error forced him break off the performance early and he exited with the bronze medal.

The Sai and Tuifa are both forms of baton and so these two weapons were combined in the next division where Martin opened with Shima no Tuifa against Bonnard from France. This performance brought him through to the semi finals where he faced off against Muscatello from Italy again. Here he gave a fine performance of Hanagusuku no Sai, but unfortunately with three flags to two in favour of the Italian it wasn’t enough and he exited again for a second bronze medal.

The final category was the ‘Specialist Weapons’ category where Martin opened his run with Kishaba no Kama (sickle) against the Italian, De Cintio. Winning this round saw him face Muscatello once more. Here he chose Koga no Nunchaku (flail) for his performance which gave him three flags to Muscatello’s two and Martin progressed to the finals. It was a full circle for Martin as he faced off against his very first opponent of the day Casini, where a performance of Tsuken Sunakake no Eku (oar) saw him seal the win and take the first place slot.

Martin spoke with us after the event where he told us that he was ‘delighted to have been a part of this event, it was a privilege to be able to train with Oshiro Sensei again and to have the chance to be a part of the demonstration competition’. Martin was also very keen to express his gratitude to Ettore Morolli of Kaishu Italia, the principle organiser of the event. The two discussed the idea of Kobudo exchanges between Ireland and Italy on an ongoing basis and it is hoped that this will be something which they can bring together in 2019.

Kobudo is the study of Traditional Okinawan Weapons and forms an integral part of the study of Okinawan Karate and specifically for Martin, the study of Matsubayashi-ryu. He learned the use of the various weapons during his training in Okinawa and teaches the use of them to members of the Matsubayashi-ryu group at White Tiger Martial Arts in Co. Mayo.