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.