Although this sounds absurd at first, there is a well known legend about the 12th Century samurai Satō Tadanobu beating back assassins with a goban. In the legend, he is said to have subsequently committed seppuku, which implies the board was an effective weapon.

I'm assuming 12th century game boards had more weight and solidity than modern, mass-produced boards, and Musashi Miyamoto is pretty outspoken on the point that a swordsman doesn't need a sword to kill enemies.

Chinese styles often incorporate "gimmick" weapons, probably to kindle interest in the arts, but also to make the point that anything can be a weapon. (Jackie Chan was a leading exemplar of "bench form", using a wooden bench as an effective weapon, in various films across his career.)

  • 6
    I think the point is just that, anything can be used, but it isn't necessarily practiced. A board game is by nature a game on a board and not a weapon. Just because something "can" be used as a weapon doesn't mean it should be incorporated as a style and taught. Jackie Chan is a movie actor and in the movies it looks cool to use odd things as weapons. That isn't the same as real life, and what you suggest is highly impractical to practice much less teach. If you are a chess master and play all the time then maybe...
    – mutt
    Nov 10, 2017 at 4:12
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    Not relevant to Martial Arts...
    – coinbird
    Nov 10, 2017 at 14:39
  • @mutt absolutely. I'd just make a comment that the child opera training of Jackie Chan firmly rooted in the real arts, (His teacher Yu Jim-yuen was the real deal) even though the requirements of choreography are different from actual combat. And of course, as my old teacher used to say, the practice is important, but if someone attacks you, pick up a brick and hit them in the head. And, of course, we live in the age of the gun so the function of martial arts in the contemporary landscape is different from the pre-gun era.
    – DukeZhou
    Nov 10, 2017 at 23:36

2 Answers 2


None of the 27 Shotokan kata include a go board, or anything similar in their applied applications. I've seen many Wado Ryu versions of the same kata and they do not include boards.

  • Is there a source that backs up your statement? I'm not doubting your experience, but answers backed up with sources, references, are preferred over anecdotal answers.
    – Mike P
    Jun 21, 2019 at 15:51

Chess Boxing

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The sport of chess boxing is a martial art combined with the game of chess.

Boxing skills wear down your opponent and make it difficult for him or her to concentrate on the mental challenge of speed chess. Players must make a chess move within 10 seconds. The match can be won in any round by a knockout or a checkmate.

No, you are not allowed to hit your opponent with the chess board.

Chess Boxing Rules

"Since 1992 the sport has gone global with countries including England, Germany, Netherlands, France, Russia and Japan all embracing the new sport.

Players have to be skilled in both boxing and chess to compete at the highest level...Players go head to head in chess boxing and the match starts with a four minute round of chess.

The players then go into the ring for a three minute round of boxing before again returning to the chess board.

The match consists of 11 rounds in all (6 rounds of chess and 5 rounds of boxing) with 1 minute intervals between rounds." Chess Boxing Rules

Introduction to Iepe Rudingh, Inventor of Chess Boxing

ESPN Video: "What is chess boxing, and how did it become a sport? Chess boxing inventor Iepe Rubingh explains the origins and rules of his quirky sport, which was inspired in part by a comic."

It's London vs Berlin: "...and please don't mention the war." Chess Boxing founder and President of the Chess Boxing Club Berlin, Iepe Rubingh, a Dutchman, talking trash to the Brits preparing to engage in chess boxing battle with Germany. Video: Chess Boxing Message from Berlin for London

Sadly, Iepe passed away at the age of 45 (17 August 1974 to 8 May 2020).

Photo Credit: Chess Boxing Demands a Rare Breed of Human: The 'Nerdlete'

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