When it comes to martial arts, people are often familiar with karate, kung fu, and tai kwon do. Kobudo is a term that isn't as familiar to most Americans. This is the study of martial arts from ancient Japan. Most commonly, the term is used to refer to the study of the use of weapons used in the ancient era in the Okinawa islands.
Practitioners of kobudo work with weapons, which means that they are moving these weighted objects around, sometimes quite quickly. While some of these weapons, such as the tekko (a kind of metal or wooden knuckleduster) are relatively light, others, including the bo (a six-foot long staff) can be relatively heavy and weigh a pound or more. In order to perform the necessary movements, a person also has to build up a strong core and strong legs, as many of the stances used are deep ones which place a lot of demand on the legs and core muscles.
Kobudo involves making a lot of fast movements while holding weapons in the hands. A significant part of this martial art includes learning various kata, which are series of moves that are performed one right after the other in a sequence. This requires a lot of dexterity, which people tend to build up over time as they practice. With practice, hand-eye coordination improves, as does flexibility and range of movement.
As practitioners become familiar with the moves required, they are able to perform these moves quickly and will actually do so at a speed and for a duration which brings up the heart rate and can help to improve cardiovascular health. They will eventually build up their endurance and be able to practice for longer and with heavier weapons. Sometimes the weapons are even made to weigh more than they would need to in order to increase strength and endurance further.
People who have started to grow a little bit bored with karate may want to try kobudo, as it uses many of the same stances and katas but also introduces some new ones to give people more variety to work with. Keep in mind that kobudo has its own belt system, though, so you'll need to start as a white belt and work your way up. As with karate, you'll learn the basics (kihon) and the forms (kata), as well as how to use the weapons for fighting (kumite).
Contact a company like Tanaka's Martial Arts Academy to learn more.