ABOUT RYUKYU KEMPO
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Ryukyu Kempo (which roughly translates into Okinawan kung-fu,
or Chinese boxing science) is the original style of martial arts
learned and taught by Gichin Funakoshi on the island of Okinawa
(1). It stresses the existence of body points within your opponent
that can be struck or grappled for more effective fighting.
Practioners of Ryukyu Kempo believe that karate-do is a popular
subform of Kempo, established within this century by Gichin Funakoshi.
People with original copies of Funakoshi's first edition book _Ryukyu
Kempo_ state that he is clearly is grappling and touching an opponent.
Later editions and current karate books only show a practioner
with a retracted punch, where the original shows actively grappling
an enemy. It is felt that Funakoshi was the last of the purists,
wanting all to learn the art.
In subsequent years, the Okinawans, who have a culture and history
of their own, became disenchanted with the Japanese, and were less
inclined to teach them the "secret techniques" of self
defence. When American military men occupied Japan after WWII,
they became enamored of the martial-arts. It is theorized that
the Japanese and Okinawans were reluctant to teach the secrets
of their national art to the occupiers, and so taught a "watered
down" version of karate-do usually reserved for children.
Contemporary Kempo practioners practice "pressure point fighting" or
Kyushu-jitsu and grappling, called Tuite. It is an exact art of
striking small targets on the body, such as nerve centers, and
grappling body points in manners similar to Jujitsu or Aikido(2).
Modern teachers of this are George Dillman of Reading, PA, Taiku
Oyata of Independence, Missouri, and Rick Clark of Terre Haute,
Indiana. Dillman was a student of Oyata years and years ago, but
it doesn't appear that they get along now.
The practioners of kempo believe that kata do not represent origin
or direction of attacks but positional techniques for the defender.
Concentration is made on physical perfection of kata and the Bunkai,
or explanation of the movements. Tournaments of kata and kumite
(sparriing) are encouraged as learning experiences, but not overly
stressed. Also taught is Kobudo, which is defined as weapons fighting
using ordinary hand tools.
Five principles to be observed in Oyata's school:
- Proper distance.
- Eye contact.
- Minimum pain inflication on your opponent.
- Legally safe.
- Morally defensible.(3)
There are a couple of physical differences in Kempo and many other
styles. One is a three-quarter punch, rather than a full twist.
Second is a fist whereby the thumb stops at the first finger, rather
than the first two fingers. Third is the sword hand, which has
the little finger placed as parallel as possible to the third finger
and the thumb straight and on the inside rather than bent.(2)
(1) _Karate-Do: My Way of Life_ by Gichin Funakoshi
(2) _Kyusho Jitsu: The Dillman Method of Pressure Point Fighting_ by
A. Dillman with Chris Thomas.
(3) _Ryukyu Kempo: History and Basics_ by J. D. Logue (Oyata student).
Karate Internet Resource)
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