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Budo Weapon Arts (Kobudo)

Budo specializes in quality, practical Weapon Arts programs that allow the student to study what they are interested in. Students may focus on and perfect one or a few weapons for self-defense purposes (Zen Okinawan Kobudo), progress in an elite traditional kobudo style (Matayoshi Kobudo), or learn the basics of a large variety of weapons (particularly useful for those who may one day face them, such as police officers and security personnel).

The program focuses on Self-Defense Arts and not the flashy showmanship that is available at most martial arts schools.

Weapon Arts are the ability to use objects for defensive purposes. These objects may have been constructed specifically as a weapon or not. Almost any object can be useful for self-defense. Budo offers one of, if not the, most extensive and elite Weapon Arts programs in Minnesota. The program focuses on Self-Defense Arts and not the flashy showmanship that is available at most martial arts schools.

The Weapon Arts program offers practical and complete art forms, giving the defender a full range of options.
Unlike modern, eclectic, “self-defense” weapons programs, Budo’s program is grounded in traditional knowledge refined over generations when these skills were needed everyday to protect one’s self and one’s family. Further, unlike military based programs, the program is a complete art-form giving the defender a full range of options, not just focusing on “killing” the attacker. And, although grounded in traditional knowledge, Budo’s Weapons (Kobudo) Program does not merely propagate “traditional forms.” It is practical for today’s self-defense.

Our Head Instructor, Sensei John Dombeck, PhD., has spent the better part of the past two decades studying the elite Okinawan style of Matayoshi Kobudo. In addition he has also spent that time studying the incredible weapons arts (Zen Okinawan Kobudo) of the head of our karate style, the renowned Master Tadashi Yamashita, as well as training in a variety of other traditional weapon arts. These three traditions form the basis of the Budo Weapon Arts Program.

Empty-hand Martial arts experience is strongly suggested but not required, and practitioners of other empty-hand styles are more than welcome (although it is customary to obtain permission from one’s instructor before training at another dojo). The program also offers teaching certification in the various weapons for interested instructors. Teenagers (13+) and older children (10+) with sufficient martial discipline, generally brown belt in our empty hand karate-do or black belt at most other schools, may also learn beginner-level weapons with parental permission. Some weapons may have more strict age requirements.

New students start with Beginner weapons (First Bo Staff, then Sai, Tonfa, Nunchaku and NiTanbo). Later on, you may continue perfecting the practical, extensive training in those weapons or choose to add additional weapons to your studies.

Learn More About the
Difference in Weapons Arts at Budo

Weapons in the program include:

Beginning weapons:

(6’ Staff)

Tonfa (Wooden Handled Nightsticks)

(3-Pronged Iron Truncheons)


Nunchaku (2 Short Sticks w/ Rope or Chain)

Nitan Bo (2’-3’ Stick(s))

(sword training with a wooden sword)

Fist Load Weapons (Tetsuko, Pocket Stick, etc)

Semi-Advanced Weapons:

(4’ Staff)

(Boat Oar)

Katana (Samurai Sword (Iaido & Combat))


(Butterfly Knife)

Flexible Weapons
(Belt, Towel, Rope, etc)

Advanced Weapons:

(Fisherman’s Spear)


(Short Sword and Shield)

San Setsu Kun
(3-Sectional Staff)

(Warrior's Spear)

(Halberd / Bladed Polearm)