Kuma-Ryu (or "Bear Style") is an Okinawan-based system of karate using upright stances, fast closing of space, and short-distance close-fighting techniques. Officially known as Kuma-Ryu Karate-Jutsu, the style incorporates joint locks, control and immobilization techniques, and meridian-point strikes (or "pressure points"). No high kicks are used in Kuma-Ryu; kicks are primarily directed at points on the legs. Techniques are extensively based on those found and concealed in the classical kata, or "forms" of Okinawa.
Although formalized in the U.S. in the 20th century, Kuma-Ryu seeks to replicate classical-style Okinawan karate, eliminating most aspects of sport karate in favor of actual fighting techniques. It is a Shorin-Ryu based system, with influences from Motobu-ryu, Ryu Te, and the qi meridian concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Motobu-ryu, originally known as Go-ten-te (Palace Hand), is among the most esoteric forms of Okinawan karate still practiced. It aims to achieve maximum effect with minimum effort and, unlike more mainstream Okinawan styles, Motobu-ryu incorporates a vast arsenal of throwing and locking techniques.
Ryu Te is another koryu ("ancient art") that has had a strong influence in the development of Kuma-Ryu concepts. It encompasses tuite, or joint manipulation, and kyusho-jitsu, or vital-point fighting. It was brought to the United States by Okinawan master Taika Seiyu Oyata.
Traditional Chinese Medicine includes the practice of acupuncture, which balances qi by stimulating or attenuating energy flow at points, or gates, along certain passageways throughout the body known as meridians. These same gates can be used in martial applications to block or flood qi energy as it flows to the various organ systems, causing reactions from weakness or paralysis of limbs, to a sudden catastrophic increase or decrease in blood pressure, to total shutdown of specific organ systems.
- Robert Sterling, senior practitioner
- McCarthy, Pat, Classical Kata of Okinawan Karate, 1987 Ohara Publications, Inc.
- Dillman, George A.; Thomas, Chris, Advanced Pressure Point Grappling, 1995 George Dillman Karate International
- Montaigue, Erle, Dim-Mak Death Point Striking, 1993 Paladin Press