How to Tie Your Belt-the Okinawa Kenpo Way

Okinawa Kenpo is rich in tradition with regards to kata (non-weapons based forms) and kobudo (weapons-based forms).  It has an amazing array of formulated nerve strikes, “knock out” points, joint locks, ground fighting and a myriad of internal dynamic Ki building exercises that are specialized in the Okinawa Kenpo curriculum.  The problem is very few people were lucky to study for a really long time in Okinawa under different Okinawa Kenpo sensei as well as not having enough opportunity to “enjoy” the mulitiple kumi-te waza (no rules, no gear, full contact fighting, usually involving Marines or other service personnell.)

Okinawa Kenpo of Oregon

Yes, this means you.

The problem with Okinawan Karate, at least for Okinawa Kenpo, is that it seems it clearly was not learned as a whole system.

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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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Okinawa Kenpo 101- The Basics

The problem with karate today, especially karate practiced in the United States, is that it is typically:

[1] no longer traditional, [2] no longer reality-based and [3] not easily transmitted.

Rodeo Clown 1

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.

Okinawa Kenpo Junior Dos Santos

Will someone PLEASE give Mr. Dos Santos a glass?

What makes Okinawa Kenpo, ‘Okinawa Kenpo?”

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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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The Once and Future King, Part 2: Crossroads of Okinawa Kenpo

At this juncture it is important to provide some clarification on the Okinawa Kenpo lineage and style decisions that were made about the events after Shigeru Nakamura passed away.  I will phrase them in the forms of questions in order to provide the most concise and clear information to date.

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The Once and Future King: Okinawa Kenpo, A History (Part 1)

The late great Shigeru Nakamura tells us  “there is no RyuHa (meaning there is no such thing as a style) in Karate.”  In one noted meeting to a group of younger karateka, Nakamura continues:  “Karate originates from the same universal ‘body’ of knowledge.  Karate consists of many singular unique expressions of the same body of information.”

Okinawa Kenpo of Oregon

Shigeru Nakamura, (1894-1969).

Shigeru Nakamura firmly believed there was no “one style” of karate.  He thought the divisions of karate styles would only bring the downfall and demise of a great combat tested martial art.

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The House that Nakamura Built

World War II changed the fate and history of Asian martial arts forever, particularly those in Japan and the Ryukyu islands.  In the advent of the Battle of Okinawa,  few Okinawan masters survived the aftermath, (e.g. Kyan Chotoku died of starvation in 1945.)

Okinawa Kenpo of Oregon

Kyan Chotoku, (1870-1945)

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