July 13, 2024

Ryukyu Te: The word “Ryukyu” comes from the name of the islands of Okinawa which are called Ryukyu Islands. The word “Te” comes from the usage of “Te” in Karate meaning hand. Ryukyu-Te is a family style martial art that has it’s roots tracing back to the 17th Century Okinawa. 

The arsenal of techniques of Ryukyu Te are called Te-jitsu (also known as Tuite or Torite):  Not all Te-jitsu techniques are contained in the Okinawan Kata.  The movements of the Okinawan Kata refer to only one specific application of a technique. The underling joint twisting (Tuite) or pressure point Strike (Kyusho) is reference for other types of attacks and variations of applications to those attacks. Each technique is like a letter of the alphabet, as you learn more techniques, you start to see the letters become words and the words become a language. The Kata techniques are the beginning level for  understanding the language of Te-jitsu. Once these techniques are mastered, they can be used to overpower an opponent with a never-ending series of techniques that flow from one to the other.

These techniques are:

  • Odori-te: dance hand
  • Kaeshi-te: return hand
  • Tori-te: take or release hand
  • Nage-te: throw hand
  • Tori-te Kaseshi: take or release hand – reversal
  • Atemi or Kyusho: pressure point strikes

Some say that Te-jitsu is related to Japanese Aiki-jujutsu.  However,  a number of characteristics differentiate Okinawan Te-jitsu from Japanese aiki jūjutsu. First, the waza of Te-jitsu are generally applied from the palm side of the hand rather than the back of the hand. Second, Te-jitsu waza employ linear movement whereas aiki jūjutsu emphasizes circular motion. There is also no za-waza–aiki-style seated defense–in Te-jitsu

Introduction to Okinawan Tuite, This video was produced in Okinawa, it is Matsumura Shorin-ryu Karate. Sokan Matumura (1797-1889) was taught by Kanga Sakugawa (1733-1815) Matsumura was the chief martial arts instructor and bodyguard for the Okinawan King Shō Kō (1787-1834) As a Royal Court Guard, Matsumura was exposed to the fighting techniques of the Minamoto Clan, which traces it’s skills to Heian Period of Japan (794-1185) 

Most martial art styles of Okinawa have self-defense techniques or Tuite which have been codified within their kata. Some of these techniques have evolved from Chinese Kung-fu. The hand techniques ( Te or Te-jitsu) of Motobu-ryu are an exception. These techniques are indigenous to Okinawa and the Royal Court Guards.  In 1968 Shian Toma, Seikichi Uehara and Seiyu Oyata formed the Ryukyu Karate-do Renmei. Then in 1969 the dojo became an official member of the Motobu Undun Di society and the style came to be referred to as Seidokan Motobu Ryu. In 1977 Oyata Sensei came to the USA and established the “Ryukyu Kempo Association” and taught Te-jitsu. This was the first time that Te-jitsu was taught in the USA.