Category Archives: Shigeru Nakamura

Okinawa Kenpo: a complete system of self defense

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.

Okinawa Kenpo of Oregon

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.’

Okinawa Kenpo of Oregon

Shigeru Nakamura, my teacher’s, teacher.

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The “other” Gojushiho Kata: A Nakamura lineage contribution to 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.

Okinawa Kenpo of Oregon

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.

Okinawa Kenpo of Oregon

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…

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Understanding Okinawa Kenpo: Be True to the Music

Dojo Kun

This is  the Okinawa Kenpo Dojo Kun found in hundreds of martial arts schools.

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