Kanazawa No Bo is a DVD by Seamus O’ Dowd , with Kanazawa Nobuaki and introduced by Kanazawa Hirokazu Kancho. The DVD includes eight main chapters entitled:
Kanazawa No Bo Dai
Karate-Do and Kobudo
Kanazawa No Bo Sho
Comparing Dai and Sho
The DVD also includes a bonus section called Jitte No Bo, where Seamus O’Dowd takes a kata we are very familiar with in Shotokan and performs it using the Bo.
I am always nervous when reviewing karate DVDs. Quite often you will encounter badly designed artwork, badly produced scenes and badly explained content. As soon as I saw the introduction section I knew this was not going to be a low budget attempt at putting together a quick DVD. The camera work is professional, and at no point did I need to rewind the DVD to try and figure out what was being said because of bad sound recording. This genuinely is a beautifully put together exploration of Kanazawa No Bo.
Having never, ever, experienced any real weapon work in my training history I did not quite know what to expect from this presentation, but what I found was a fantastically structured insight into the world of kobudo.
During the section on basics we are introduced to some of the foundation techniques that can be found in the kata. We are shown techniques such as the ‘triple strike’ ‘deflecting block’ and ‘Parry & Jab’ both as basic performance and in their applications. This section also contains an ‘Explanation of the Bow’ chapter, where we are shown the meaning of the bow with the bo. As in karate, when we bow, from the ‘yoi’ position we open ours hands and place them on our thighs in a neutral position during the bow. When using a bo, the meaning is much the same, with the focus on placing the bo on the floor to the side, as Seamus O’Dowd says “literally laying down our weapons” to show that we are disarmed and to highlight the trust we have in our opponent. O’Dowd also goes on to explain that this bow is specifically meant to align with the philosophy of the traditional karate bow, and does not replace the traditional kobudo bow.
In the section Kanazawa No Bo Dai, O’Dowd gives a brief history and analysis of the kata. The kata is demonstrated slowly from three angles; front, back and side; and again at the correct speed to display timing and intonation. After the kata demonstration one of the more difficult manoeuvres when using the bo is explained in more depth, as it is an essential technique to master when performing the kata.
In the section Karate-Do & Kobudo O’Dowd gives a brief insight into the relation between traditional karate as we recognise it and the role of the weapon. It is very interesting section and details Kanazawa’s reasons for studying such a weapon alongside his karate-do. There is a fantastic little section where O'Dowd, alongside Kanazawa Nobuaki, performs Kanazawa No Bo alongside each other, with Kanazawa Nobuaki performing the kata with the bo, and O’Dowd performing a Shotokan interpretation of the kata. This section helped immensely in emphasising the relevance of bo training for Shotokan Karateka, and helped to highlight the link, and the connection between karate-do and kobudo. Even where the techniques are not identical, the principles certainly are.
In the Bunkai section the kata Kanazawa No Bo Dai is demonstrated with bunkai for the kata’s entirety, and then certain sections of bunkai are selected and repeated slowly for a more in depth study, with explanation to aid the study provided by O’Dowd.
In the section Kanazawa No Bo Sho, again we are treated to a brief history and analysis of the kata, and are provided with three angles of the kata; front, back and side; both slowly and at correct speed. The correct speed viewings provide a particular focus on the difference between the fast and slow movements in the kata.
In the Comparing Sho and Dai section we see both kata performed simultaneously side by side, and it becomes evident that Kanazawa No Bo Dai and Kanazawa No Bo Sho are two variations of the same kata. We are also given an in depth explanation of the ‘yoi’ and ‘yamae’ positions for the kata within this section.
Whilst watching this DVD it becomes evident that so many of the principles explored within these kata are more than relevant to us as Shotokan practitioners, and are even easily recognised, if you know how to look!
A thoroughly enjoyable DVD, a professional job that allows us an exploration into the kobudo practices of Kanazawa Hirokazu Kancho. Highly recommended.