Kuwa - Ancient Okinawan Martial Arts Weapon

We were surprised to learn how ancient the grub hoe is, that it was used in so many distant lands, and that occasionally it was used as a weapon!

Below is the surprising story from the islands of Okinawa, where they called it a Kuwa, Gawa, or Kue.

You can purchase either 4" or 6" wide versions of this tool on our Grub Hoe page, or see other similar tools on our garden hoes page.


The story of the Kuwa hoe...

kuwa is a hoe used as martial arts weapon

We received this message and picture from Sensei Doug Achterberg of the Antioch Kenyukai Shubukan - an Okinawan Karate and Kobudo in Antioch California.

I did not purchase the grub hoe for gardening, I purchased it as a Kuwa, (a traditional Okinawan weapon that a farmer could use for self defense against the Japanese Samurai in the 18th and 19th century). As you see I am a traditional Okinawan weapons practitioner, and this was one of the few weapons I did not have in my collection.

In Asia there are three names for this tool:

  • Kuwa
  • Kue
  • Gawa

In the west this tool is called a Grub Hoe, or an Azada in Spanish. We have sold these tools to many martial arts students and teachers in the US. They do come sharp, so be sure to dull the edge before using it for your martial arts practice or training.

Kuwa Videos - the Kuwa Kata in practice.

Here are a few videos showing the attacks and defensive moves done with a Kuwa. These moves are called a kata, which is defined as "a system of individual training exercises for practitioners of karate and other martial arts".

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Gakiya Yoshiaki, 8th dan, and president of the Okinawa Kobudo Doshi Rensei Kai demonstrates the Kuwa Kata in New York in 2002.

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Soke Hausel and Senpai Bill Borea demonstrate Kuwa kata at the Seiyo Kai Hombu in Mesa, Arizona 2011.

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Kuwa Kata - this video is a choreographed demonstration of a selection of Kuwa Kata moves.