The Kobudo lineage of




Shinken Taira


Shinken Taira (1897-1970) learned karate in Japan from Gichin Funakoshi and Kenwa Mabuni. Kobudo instruction came from Moden Yabiku. Taira began teaching kobu-jutsu in Okinawa about 1940. He is remembered for bridging the gap between karate and kobudo by applying weapons movements to karate techniques.

The Taira family name was Maezato. All the Maezato kata were created by Shinken Taira. Shinken Taira founded the Ryukyu Kobudo Hozon Shinko Kai, the Society for the Promotion and Preservation of Ryukyuan Kobudo.

Before his death in 1970, he named Eisuke Akamine the successor to his system. Sensei Akamine, who began training under Shinken Taira in 1959, supports the theory that weapons were developed from farming tools. He reorganized the association into the present day Ryukyu Kobudo Renmei.



A prominent student of Shinken Taira is Katsukiho Minowa of the Uechi ryu karate system. Sensei Dollar began the study of kobudo under Sensei Minowa in 1975, after receiving his Shodan in Uechi ryu karate from Kanei Uechi.

Alan Dollar performing a Sai  kata in Okinawa

The Sai

Alan Dollar performing a Teko kata in Okinawa

The Teko


Sensei Minowa's most prominent student is Masakazu Kinjo, an outstanding weapons expert and historian. He holds the rank of seventh dan in Uechi ryu and Okinawan kobudo. The tenacious dedication and ability of Masakazu Kinjo and his oldest son Satoshi give promise to a continued strong line of Okinawan kobudo for future generations.

His Uechi ryu/kobudo dojo and the Ryukyu Kobudo Hozonkai headquarters are located in Kubagawa, Okinawa.



Historically equal to Shinken Taira's kobudo system is Matayoshi ryu Kobudo. Shinko Matayoshi (1888-1947) traveled throughout Japan, Manchuria, and China, studying martial arts and weapons. While in China he learned the chaun fa style Kingai-noon.

Sensei Shinko Matayoshi made changes to the position of the bo when striking, one fundamental departure from the past. Under Taira's system the back hand holding the bo is locked at the side of the body near the belt when striking. Matayoshi felt that new students to kobudo lacked the proficiency to chamber accurately in this position. Newer students repeatedly hit themselves in the body, particularly the spleen, with the back portion of the bo. This caused many injuries and illnesses.

Shinpo Matayoshi (1921-1997) learned kobu-jutsu from his father. He also trained under Chotoku Kyan in Kadena village. He later learned White Crane from Gokenki, a close friend of Kanbun Uechi. Shinpo Matayoshi reportedly trained briefly with Shinken Taira.



Among Sensei Matayoshi's students was Yoshitsune Senaga, currently an eight dan in Uechi ryu and Okinawan kobudo. His grandfather was taught bo techniques by Sensei Akamine, who created the kata Seijun no bo, in the late 1800's. This kata, also taught by Shinyu Gushi, is not well known. Akamine kept his karate and kobudo instruction very secret in the small village of Uebara, where his family name was Seijun. Sensei Senaga's karate and kobudo dojo is located in Nakagusuku.


Master Shinyu Gushi performing an Eku kata

Master Shinyu Gushi performs
an Eku kata at Golden Gate 98


Seiki Itokazu passed his kobudo teachings on to Shinyu Gushi of Uechi-ryu. Sensei Gushi is the highest-ranking Okinawan Uechi ryu practitioner living in the western world. He holds the ranks of eighth dan in Uechi ryu karate and seventh dan in Okinawan kobudo. He currently resides and teaches at the headquarters of the Ryu-ko-ka-ku-ken Karate Kobudo Association in California.



Alan Dollar

After passing a four-hour workout and examination in the use and application of traditional karate weapons, Sensei Alan Dollar became the first Godan (5th degree black belt) and the first Shihan (master Instructor) promoted by Master Shinyu Gushi's Okinawan Ryukokaku Ken Association.


Alan Dollar in Okinawa with an Eku

Sensei Alan Dollar

last updated 3/1/05