A “Bo” is usually a wooden staff of which any part can be turned into a weapon. The techniques of Bojutsu, the art of the staff, were devised by our ancestors by combining the local system with various systems from overseas.
The trident called “Sai” was brought from India through China to Ryukyu. It embodies the human body, and in the past was a Buddhist instrument. In Okinawa, Sai were carried by Ufuchiku (the equivalent to today’s police officer). Chikusaji (policemen under the level of assistant inspector) carried a Bo or staff. They used these weapons for the protection of the king and his escort, the control of the crowd, and also to catch criminals.
It is said the “Nunchaku” originates in the Okinawan horse bite called muge. Nunchaku-jutsu technique is originally intended to weaken the offensive power of a large number of opponents, and to calm the enemy. When being demonstrated, the art is characterized in that it starts with a defense.
“Tekko” is a kind of horseshoe that was originally used for farming. In time of emergency, the handy horseshoe was a weapon with considerable effect, so it was researched to reach the present form. There are similar weapons found in ancient Greece and in China. Although it can be said that it is an international weapon, the way to use it is different.
“Tonfa” is a wooden stick with a handle. It is use in pairs. While there are various names and pronunciations for this weapon, in Shuri it is called Tunfa and Tuifa, etc.
“Timbe” is composed of a shield and a dagger. It is said that the dagger was originally an instrument (Teibiku) still used by farmers in Okinawa.
“Niccho-gama” is a pair of two sickles also called “Kama no te”. It is clearly a tool that Okinawan farmers could use as a weapon. It is the only blade weapon of kobudo.
The way to use “Ueku” or paddle is almost similar to Bojutsu. It is a practical powerful weapon. Musashi won his duel with Kojiro Sasaki supposedly using such a paddle. It is sometime called “Kai” for paddle.
There are usually two types of “Suruchin”, the short 60 cm long one and the 180 cm long one. It is said that the ropes were knitted with hemp palm with stones or weights attached to the ends of the ropes. It It is a weapon used for self-defense.
Reference: Basic survey report on Karate and Kobudo (issued by Okinawa Prefecture Board of Education)