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Kabumei, in various forms, has existed since the 8th century. It originated during the Han Dynasty when Chinese alchemists of that period were forced to travel through bandit-infested countrysides in search of rare minerals for their experiments, especially in firework-making. Forbidden by law from carrying swords, the art of Kabumei (derived from kabu, or tent-stake) was developed as a unique method of self-defense.
Due to the volatile nature of the chemicals used in the firing mechanism of the early kabu-chi, or “angry stake,” the art of Kabumei has nearly been lost several times throughout history via the unfortunate self-detonation of its practitioners. However, despite the decimation of its early adherents, Kabumei as a martial art managed to maintain a low-key (if not always silent) presence in the shadows of the better known arts such as kung-fu.
But with the advent of increasingly stable explosives such as TNT and the development of modern polymer fusing and detonation mechanisms, the interest in Kabumei has been widely rekindled in the martial arts community. The modern kabu-chi still retains its sharpened bamboo housing, but the explosive material and firing mechanism are a far cry from the flint-sparks and black powder (huoyao) of the 8th century alchemists. The modern Kabumei master is one of the deadliest foes to face in close-quarter combat, and there are few whose ceremonial gis do not bear the triumphant stains of “Sheng Li Jeou” (the Wine of Victory) from the spattered bodies of their defeated opponents.
We would be honored if you would join us for a brief glimpse of a modern master in the practice of Kabumei The Art of the Sharpened Grenade.