Okinawan Karate and Kobudo(Japan)

01/06/2008 09:43:49

A long time ago, Okinawa Prefecture was known as the Ryukyu Kingdom, a nation bridging other nations through maritime trade. Making use of its geographical conditions, it held trade with China and Southeast Asian countries, venturing as far as the Strait of Malacca. From this commerce and the friendly relations built along the way, Okinawa developed a unique and original culture.

With this history as a background, karate and kobudo were developed from the introduction of Chinese martial arts that merged with the indigenous fighting techniques found in Okinawa to nurture a traditional martial culture that Okinawa is highly proud of. Martial arts developed as a self–defense system by people bearing no weapons, they are passed on today still as martial art aimed at character-building emphasizing the respect of courtesy and loyalty.

Today, karate and kobudo are said to be practiced in 142 countries by more than 40,000,000 people worldwide, with its main purpose being mutual understanding and friendship.

In karatedo, the way of karate, the major styles are Shurite, which includes Shorin-ryu, Matsubayashi-ryu, Shorinji-ryu, and Nahate, that evolved into Goju-ryu and Uechi-ryu. While representative kata are Kusanku for Shurite and Suparinpei for Nahate, there are more than 60 traditional kata transmitted today.

In Okinawa, weaponry is called kobudo and includes weapons like bo (long staff), sai (steel truncheon), nunchaku (horse bit), tonfa (grinder handle), eku (oar), tekko (horse shoe), kama (sickle), tinbe (shield and halberd), and suruchin (chain), among others. Based on daily tools and farming utensils, these weapons were systemized and are transmitted today as a unique Okinawan martial art.

Through the Hue Festival, we are proud to introduce the representative kata of karate and kobudo like bo, kama, Chatan yara no sai, konbo, nunchaku, eku as well as Wankan, Passai dai, Gojushiho and Kusanku dai.

Eisho Nakazato
Zen Okinawa Shorin-ryu Karatedo Association