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Okinawan martial arts

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(Redirected from Naha-te)
Karate training with Shinpan Gusukuma sensei at Shuri Castle c. 1938, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan

Okinawan martial arts refers to the martial arts, such as karate, tegumi and kobudō, which originated among the indigenous people of Okinawa Island. Due to its central location, Okinawa was influenced by various cultures with a long history of trade and cultural exchange, including Japan, China and Southeast Asia, that greatly influenced the development of martial arts on Okinawa.


In 1429, the three kingdoms on Okinawa unified to form the Kingdom of Ryukyu. When King Shō Shin came into power in 1477, he banned the practice of martial arts, due to fears of the widespread teaching of the art of deception. Tō-te and Ryukyu kobudō (deception) continued to be taught in secret.[1] The ban was continued in 1609 after Okinawa was invaded by the Satsuma Domain of Japan. The bans contributed to the development of kobudō which uses common household and farming implements as weaponry.[citation needed] The Okinawans combined Chinese martial arts with the existing local variants to form Tōde (唐手, Tuudii, Tang hand, China hand), sometimes called Okinawa-te (沖縄手, Uchinaa-dii).[2]

By the 18th century, different types of Te had developed in three different villages – Shuri, Naha and Tomari. The styles were named Shuri-te, Naha-te, and Tomari-te, respectively.

Well into the 20th century, the martial arts of Okinawa were generally referred to as te and tii in Japanese and Okinawan for "hand". Te often varied from one town to another, so to distinguish among the various types of te, the word was often prefaced with its area of origin; for example, Naha-te, Shuri-te, or Tomari-te.

Shuri-te, Naha-te and Tomari-te belong to a family of martial arts that were collectively defined as Tode-jutsu or To-de.[3][4]

Karate (Okinawa-te or Karate-jutsu) was systematically taught in Japan after the Taishō era (after 1926).[5]


The genealogy of Shuri-te
Ankō Itosu, often called the "Father of modern karate"

Shuri-te (首里手, Okinawan: Suidii) is a pre-World War II term for a type of indigenous martial art to the area around Shuri, the old capital city of the Ryukyu Kingdom.

Important Okinawan masters of Shuri-te:

Important kata:

The successor styles to Shuri-te include Shotokan, Shitō-ryū, Shōrin-ryū, Shudokan, Shuri-ryū, Shōrinji-ryū, Shorei-Ryu, Gōjū-ryū, Isshin-ryū, Gensei-ryu and Motobu-ryū.


The genealogy of Tomari-te

Tomari-te (泊手, Okinawan: Tumai-dii) refers to a tradition of martial arts originating from the village of Tomari, Okinawa.

Important Okinawan masters of Tomari-te:

Important kata:

The successor styles to Tomari-te include Wado-ryu, Motobu-ryū, Matsubayashi-ryu and Shōrinji-ryū


The genealogy of Naha-te[citation needed]

Naha-te (那覇手, Okinawan: Naafa-dii) is a pre-World War II term for a type of martial art indigenous to the area around Naha, the old commercial city of the Ryukyu Kingdom and now the capital city of Okinawa Prefecture.

Important Okinawan masters of Naha-te:

Important kata:

The successor styles to Naha-te include Shōrei-ryū (earliest school), Gōjū-ryū, Uechi-ryū, Ryūei-ryū, Shito-ryu and Tōon-ryū.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Okinawan Masters. msisshinryu.com. Retrieved on 2011-06-20.
  2. ^ Higaonna, Morio (1985). Traditional Karatedo Vol. 1 Fundamental Techniques. pp. 18–19. ISBN 0-87040-595-0.
  3. ^ "Tomari-Te: The Place of the Old To-De". Retrieved July 25, 2005.
  4. ^ "Koshinrin School of Karate: Katas". Archived from the original on May 17, 2005. Retrieved July 25, 2005.
  5. ^ Donn F. Draeger (1974). Modern Bujutsu & Budo. Weatherhill, New York & Tokyo. Page 125.