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Kobudo is a martial art and exercise system from Okinawa, Japan. Translated to English, the activity is known as “the way of the ancient Okinawan warrior.” Although kobudo is sometimes categorized and taught alongside karate, kobodu is distinguished by its use of weapons such as a “sai” (dagger), “bo” (a long staff), “kama” (sickle), and “tonfa” (club). A variant of “nunchaku” (commonly known as “nunchucks” or “karate sticks”) is also sometimes used, as authentic nunchaku are illegal in Canada. Kobudo is typically taught in a group class setting, with the focus on demonstration rather than competitive combat. Participants often wear white robes which allow them to move decisively while being rigid enough to withstand contact.

What are the origins of the activity abroad and in Canada?

Kobudo originated in Okinawa (now part of Japan) over 200 years ago. It gained popularity in Canada with the arrival of Japanese immigrants. Its exact origins in Canada are unknown, but kobudo has been taught at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre since 1963.

Who takes part?

Although kobudo originates from Japan, female and male participants of diverse ethnocultural backgrounds take part.

When does it occur / How often do you take part?

Kobudo classes are offered at martial art schools several times a week.

Are there any organized clubs, groups, organizations or leagues?

The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre; Classical Martial Arts Centre

Cultural Significance

Although kobudo has a history that celebrates Okinawan culture, the activity is practiced in Torontoby diverse participants, many of whom are interested in it as a martial art, rather than cultural activity.

Is there anything else we should know?



Exercise System
Martial Arts
  • Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre
    6 Garamond Court
    Toronto, ON M3C 1Z5
  • Classical Martial Arts Centre
    52 St. Claire Avenue East
    Toronto, ON M4T 1M9
  • Classical Martial Arts Centre - Sakura Dojo
    978 Eglington Ave W
    Toronto, ON M6C 2C5
  • Classical Martial Arts Centre - Hasu Dojo
    1431 Yonge St
    Toronto, ON M4T 1Y9
  • Classical Martial Arts Centre - Enzan Dojo
    918 Bathurst St
    Toronto, ON M5R 3G5
  • Bell’s Martial Arts
    2200 Danforth Avenue
    Toronto, ON M4C 1K4
  • Honbu Dojo
    18 Chauncey Ave
    Toronto, ON M8Z 2Z3

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