7 Things to Know about Okinawa Karate

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Okinawan Karate
Source: The Japanese book

The Karate was developed and practiced by the indigenous people of the Okinawa Island. From there it spread throughout the world and now millions of people practice the Karate. The Karate differs to some extent from one region to another region. Here we bring you 7 things to know about Okinawan Karate.

1. The History

Source: Wikimedia

The History of Okinawan Karate and the history of Martial arts is been traced by the archaeologist in the far East to Bodhidharma. The Indian Buddhist monk who traveled to China and taught an ancient form of Indian martial arts(Vajramushti).

From there it developed into Kung fu and spread throughout China. It is believed that many Chinese martial artist visited the Okinawan island and some of them settled and spread the knowledge of Chinese martial art into the region. Over the time, the art developed into a new, unique form known as Karate.

2. The onset of Meji Ishin

Onset of Meji
Source: Arnold Toynbee

In the 1800s there was the great disturbance in the land of Okinawa due to the Meji restoration, the king of Okinawa and his government was disbanded and made to be common people and there was concern over security and even they were not allowed to carry weapons for protection. So Matsumura and Itosu were developed for self-defense, Matsumura and Itosu are the hard styles that focused on defeating an opponent with very few and effective techniques.

3. The main purpose of Okinawan Karate

Self defense
Source: Project Gutenberg

Unlike other forms of Karate in the world, the main purpose of the Okinawan karate was not for competition it was for self-defense. In other places, karate is used as a medium for competition. Okinawa was a land with armed thieves and this explains why the Okinawan people used the weapons in the Karate.

4. Okinawan karate styles

Okinawa Karate Styles
Source: Nagamine Shoshin

There are totally three Okinawan styles that are practiced, they are named after the cities in which they were developed; Shuri-te, Naha-te and Tomari-te. These fighting styles are known as  Okinawan Te (the hand). It is interesting to note that all these fighting styles were developed in the cities that were merely a few miles apart.

5. “Imi” – the meaning

Okinawa karate
Source: Prosopee

In the Okinawan Karate you get to listen to this word “Imi” more often, the word translates to “Meaning” in English. The basic idea of Okinawan karate is to teach the meaning of the technique and not how to execute the technique. It doesn’t mean that they do not practice executing the technique, it just stresses more on the meaning technique.

6. OSU

Source: peppy

The world Osu (pronounced OSS) is never used in the Okinawan karate, you can see the use of this word in the other types Karate. Many people misunderstand that the word OSU was derived from traditional karate but the fact is it first appeared in Officers Academy of the Imperial Japanese Navy.

7. Okinawan Karate – a lifestyle

Source: Jjskarate

Okinawan Karate is not a sport it is the lifestyle of the people on Okinawa island. It is also believed that by practicing the traditional Okinawan Karate the longevity of the person increases. By the time the people have modified the Karate to meet their needs.

It is difficult to teach the Okinawan karate to the group of 50 people, it requires individual attention.

Have a good trip and travel!

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Asia, Japan, Kyusyu Region, Okinawa Prefecture