Okinawa Kenpo: The Four Ways of Fighting

Okinawa Kenpo of Oregon

We practice a traditional style of Okinawan Karate that traces back it’s roots to the late 1400s.  The framed scroll you see at my acupuncture and medical clinic is the lineage chart that illustrates the genealogy of our karate system.

Okinawa Kenpo of Oregon

Naha Bushi Sakiyama lineage of Okinawa Kenpo

4 Ways Of Fighting (面面戦闘技 Men Men Sento- waza)
Okinawa Kenpo incorporates four ways of fighting. Each method has different skills that need to be acquired. They are implemented at different ranges and for different situations. The goal is to be able to integrate all of the skills together seamlessly rather than keeping them compartmentalized.  These four methods go as follows:

  • Striking (当て身技 Atemi-waza): Punching and striking is more than just swinging a fist. Any strikes originating from the upper body fall into this category. The principles that make for a good punch extend to elbow strikes, or even shoulder bumps.
  • Kicking: (足技 Ashi-waza): Like punching, kicking is a broad category for any attacks coming from the legs. Front kicks, side kicks, knee strikes, hip checks, and more. There is even good technique to doing a stomp.
  • Grappling: (固技 katame-waza) Seizing, controlling, and locking joints. Grappling is not limited to working on the ground or positioning the opponent for breaking limbs. Grappling can be as subtle and simple as controlling someone’s balance with a push or a pull.
  • Fall and flow (受け身技 Ukemi-waza): In general terms the person “receives” the strike, grapple, kick and throw in order to identify the weakness or compromised structure of your opponents body.

First Learn How Not To Fight

Okinawa Kenpo of Oregon

Karate Ni Sente Nashi- “There is no first movement in karate”

The first rule of karate is “not to fight.”  It is a maxim made famous by Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of mainland Japanese Karate known throughout the world today.  Our lineage of Okinawa Kenpo descends through a famous Okinawan  martial artist named Choki Motubu (本部 朝基).

Okinawa Kenpo of Oregon

Choki Motobu performing Naihanchi kata.

Motubu Sensei was not only an instructor of Shigeru Nakamura, but also “family” friends of the Nakamura clan in the north of Okinawa. Choki Motobu is perhaps most “famous” for a ‘boxing match’ that occurred  in 1925, where Choki Motobu challenged and defeated a “Russian” (other accounts say German or Slavic) world champion boxer.

Okinawa Kenpo of Oregon

Okinawa Kenpo of Oregon

Okinawa Kenpo of Oregon

You get the idea.

Martial arts movies such The GrandMaster (2013), Ip Man 2, (2010), Fearless (2006), depict such battles of Asian martial arts versus Western boxing, Chinese versus Japanese martial arts, etc.  Don’t get me wrong. I love these movies. After all it is entertainment.

Here’s the thing: When Choki Motobu defeated the western boxer in 1925, he was 52 years old.

Okinawa Kenpo of Oregon

Choki Motobu, Ryukyu Ti master

We as students of this life-protection art understand that in order for you to become proficient you need to train.  I am proud of all my student that do their best in class. Sometimes we may be a “little off” but that just shows that we are human.  Karate first and foremost believes in taking care of your body, mind and spirit.  Taketo Nakamura taught me this. So did my parents.

And for those who missed the last time we posted it is again.  Now go tie your belt!

One response to “Okinawa Kenpo: The Four Ways of Fighting

  1. Excellent as always Gonzo Sensei. Osu. Can you please change my email address to, so I can receive your publication in my new email please. Thanks a lot.

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