"What style of karate do you practice?" We get asked this question when anyone calls or messages about joining us. We usually answer by saying; "We practice Okinawan karate" or to be more precise, we practice; Ryukyu Karate Jutsu or in the Okinawan dialect, simply Uchina-Di (沖繩手).
So what is Uchina-Di? Is it like Shotokan, Kyokushin or Taekwondo?
No. Uchina-Di is not a style in the modern sense. Uchina (沖縄) is Hogen dialect for Okinawa, while Di (手) means “hand”. This name summarizes all the martial arts that evolved on the island of Okinawa. We use this name to distinguish our karate from its modern counterpart, our interpretation of what karate should be with the sporting element removed.
"Ryukyu" (琉球), the name for the islands of Okinawa, the birthplace of karate, before Japanese annexation in 1879, is used to represent that our karate is based upon old-school (Koryu-古流) tradition and practices. We also use the kanji "唐手" (Tang/China hand) for "To-te" or "To-de" instead of the modern "空手" (empty hand) to represent the Chinese origins of karate. The term "Jutsu" [術] means method or art.
The main difference in the way we practice and teach our karate, is the underlying philosophy that all our studies are based around the use and creation of techniques and principles used in actual self-protection, rather than used in any sporting context.
Uchina-Di utilizes punches, strikes, kicks, throws, joint manipulations, strangles, pressure point strikes and ground fighting, derived from the old fighting arts of Chinese origin as handed down to the old masters in Okinawa. Our karate style has its roots in Shuri-te, Naha-te, Tomari-te, Hakutsuru karate, and Okinawan Kobudo.
Karate in Okinawa prior to the 1900's was taught as a way of protecting oneself from civilian attacks and wasn't governed by style as it is today. To simplify, for today's person interested in the martial arts, it means that Uchina-Di is not sports based and has elements of REAL self-defense.
Uchina-Di training prepares the student for dealing with unwarranted acts of aggression in the real world, using "old school" karate practices. At the same time the methods used to achieve this, conditions the body, cultivates the mind and nurtures the spirit.
Therefore, Uchina-Di offers the advanced practitioner a set of tools designed to help them master their art. The beginner will be guided though a system that will help them grow, teach them how to defend themselves and improve their health.
Our mission at the Shuri Karate Dojo is to promote and preserve the true essence of the art of karate and to preserve its Okinawan cultural heritage.
温故知新 ("On Ko Chi Shin") - study the old, understand the new.
Join us at the Shuri Karate Dojo. Your martial arts journey starts HERE.