||This weapon is the most glamorous of
the Ryukyu system and exudes a feeling of history long gone.
The usage however is more akin to a combination of Zulu fighting
and European sword and small shield fighting.
Studied at Nidan level the Tinbe-Rochin is the most unique of all
the Ryukyu Kobujutsu weapons and is seen as the odd one out. Most
definitely constructed for fighting it follows in the footsteps
of fighting all over the world and many of the techniques are akin
to this standard approach.
||The Tinbe (Shield) can be made of various
material types but is commonly found in vine or cane, metal,
or for presentation, in turtle shell. The shield size is generally
about 45 cm long and 38 cm wide. For Kumite, fibreglass casts
are often used, as they are durable and can be designed to look
exactly like the real thing. Light in weight it helps the practitioners
quickly get used to holding the shield in the hand.
The Turtle shell is more ceremonial and originates form the
use of the Bekko Kame9Amber Shell Turtle) in Okinawa. Some use
the more common Green Turtle but in this day and age the use
of turtle shells is not necessary.
The Rochin (Short spear) is cut with the length of the shaft being
the same distance as the forearm to the elbow if it is being held
in the hand. The spearhead then protrudes from the shaft and can
be found in many differing designs. The favoured style has an expanded
middle section before the point, which is twisted upon insertion
to make the wound larger. The weight of the blade is critical for
the spear usage, which is swivelled between the fingers to use both
ends, smashing with the butt end and stabbing with the blade end.
If the shaft is made the same way as Kama with a tapering to a larger
butt end, it makes for ease of use and understanding of length in
hand without looking.
The techniques of the Tinbe are circular to avoid too much direct
contact and the glancing style is introduced early in the Kihon
stage. Keeping the Waki area tense and the Hara strong is paramount
as extending the arm too long in blocking can result in poor technique
and the inability to absorb, glance or deflect the opponents attacks.
The Rochin is predominantly used in an upward stabbing motion,
piercing armour under the rib cage, armpits, and throat. It is also
thrown and the study of Shingetsu Ryu Shuriken within the system
aids this technique significantly. Hiding the Rochin behind the
Tinbe is common and allows for the element of disguise and surprise.
Kumite drills are undertaken against the Bo and distance understanding
and getting close must be studied well.
||Good knees are essential for the Kumite
as many of the counter attacks (Go no Sen) are from a standing
position dropping low quickly whilst deflecting the attack with
circular blocking movements. An understanding of Ukemi is also
important and this requires much study as break falling incorrectly
with a sharp Rochin and Tinbe in hand can have dangerous consequences.
Clearly the origins of design and usage bear little resemblance
to agricultural needs and this beautiful weapon has been designed
for one thing: warfare.
The Ryukyu Kobujutsu syllabus has one Kata, which exudes
posturing, speed, agility, and balance. The Kata has a strong
Naha feeling with Sanchin Dachi usage and deep Shiko Dachi
usage. It also has moments of great speed resembling the more
open dynamic feeling of Shuri Te whilst demanding much dexterity
with Rochin usage. When the Kata is first taught the turns
are executed by pivoting on the heels but later this move
requires Ukemi and the ability to regain good Kamae instantly.