It has been 12 years since the passing of the late Grand Master of Okinawa Kenpo Karate Kobudo, Seikichi Odo. In the Okinawa Kenpo ‘family’, the years may weigh on us with fear, pain, joy and hope. We have come so far since Odo sensei’s passing, yet it seems like yesterday when he was telling me to do my kata, “one more time.”
I really thought my sensei spoke very little English. I felt sorry for him. Afterall, he DID keep telling me to repeat my empty hand or weapons form, OVER AND OVER, by saying “one more time.” LITTLE DID I KNOW there was something else going on…
Okinawa Kenpo, a complete ‘hard and soft’ system of Okinawan Karate, has a curriculum based on classical kata (empty handed forms) and kobudo (weapons-based forms). In addition, there is a foundation that involves rigorous body conditioning, a unique blend of nerve strikes, “knock out” strikes, and an aspect of bunkai which I call, translational bunkai. What separates Okinawa Kenpo from all other karate is the long standing established use of the Bogu Kumite ‘Gear’ to allow for free form full contact reality-based fighting.
Kenwa Mabuni, circa 1925, wearing Bogu Gear.
Shigeru Nakamura introduced the world to the Bogu ‘Kumite’ Gear in 1923. In 1925 he introduced the Bogu equipment to what was known as Siam, (now known as Thailand) and introduced the Bogu Gear to Indonesia and Malaysia in 1927. Historical records show that he had several prototypes that his uncles were developing around the turn of the century. Shigeru Nakamura, felt that the system that was later to be called “Karate” was not rigorous enough in its training methods and that new training methods and equipment needed to be developed. Shortly before he was made the next head of a Ryukyu Ti lineage that traced its roots back to the late 1400s, he pursued this endeavor and thus creating the Ryukyu Islands version of ‘mixed martial arts.’
Shigeru Nakamura, my teacher’s, teacher.
Posted in karate, Karate Dojo, kata, Okinawa Kenpo Karate, RyuKyu Hon Kenpo Kobujutsu, Ryukyu Kempo, Seikichi Odo, Shigeru Nakamura, Taketo Nakamura
Tagged Dan Inosanto, Gonzalo Flores, Kenwa Mabuni, Larry Gradolf, Okinawa Kenpo, Ryukyu Te, Ryukyu Ti, Traditional Okinawan Karate
Say It Ain’t So
There has been some written material in the martial arts literature with regards to the “Gojushiho” katas known in Okinawan, Japanese karate, Korean martial arts.
Um…not that kind.
Upon first glance, you think “yeah sure Gonzo, one is a short version and the other is a long version- [Dai and Sho].” Variations of these Gojushiho Sho and Dai kata are also known as “Ueseshi,” “Sushiho” “Hotaku” and “O Sip Sa Bo” among other variant form names. You can see some variations on You Tube here.
Oh no! No more weird stuff with kata– let me be ignorant in peace!
In addition, you can read in the martial arts literature and on informational sources that this kata means the “number 54” written like this: 五十四歩
All of this information is correct. Unless you are talking about the kata forms by the same name in Okinawa Kenpo. In fact, the discussion about tournament karate with JKA (Japan Karate Association) referees does not apply to this conversation or topic. The kata known as Gojushiho Ichi (aka Gojushiho Koryu) and Gojushiho Ni (Gojushiho Chu) have a completely different connotation in Okinawa Kenpo. This is the story of a kata by any other name…
Posted in Gojushiho Dai, Gojushiho Koryu, Gojushiho Sho, karate, Karate Dojo, kata, Okinawa Kenpo Karate, RyuKyu Hon Kenpo Kobujutsu, Ryukyu Kempo, Seikichi Odo, Shigeru Nakamura, Taketo Nakamura
Tagged Matayoshi Shimpo, Okinawa Karate, Okinawa Kenpo, Traditional Okinawan Karate, Ultraman
The problem with karate today, especially karate practiced in the United States, is that it is typically:
 no longer traditional,  no longer reality-based and  not easily transmitted.
Traditional Okinawan Karate? That’s a Clown question Bro!
The problem may just stem with the times; we have to compete against video games, reality TV and the many variations of what people consider martial arts.
Will someone PLEASE give Mr. Dos Santos a glass?
What makes Okinawa Kenpo, ‘Okinawa Kenpo?”
This is the Okinawa Kenpo Dojo Kun found in hundreds of martial arts schools.