Author Archives: Andreas Quast

Minowa Katsuhiko was a karate and kobudo practitioner and one of Taira Shinken’s original students. Minowa began training with Taira around 1960. At that time, Taira had no dojo of his own and training was conducted out of one of … Continue reading

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Maintaining the Unaltered Technique

In today’s Okinawa Times is an article on Mr. Nakazato Takeshi, 2nd generation Sōke of Shōrinji-ryū and Chairman of Zen Okinawa Shōrinji-ryū Karatedo Kyōkai. I would like to shortly share some parts of it. As for the context, the founder … Continue reading

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The “Weaponless Kingdom”

[This article was first published in: Quast, Andreas: Karate 1.0. 2013] One-hundred and fifty years after the visit of William Adams and his troupe to Okinawa in 1614-15, the Hungarian baron Benyowsky managed to escape his exile in Siberia. Benyowsky … Continue reading

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The First Western Eyewitness Account of Okinawa

[This article was first published in: Quast, Andreas: Karate 1.0. 2013] The first Western eyewitness accounts of Okinawa originate from Richard Wickham and William Adams (1564–1620).[1] The latter was later provided an estate and samurai status by shōgun Tokugawa Ieyasu, … Continue reading

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Offices and Craftsmen for Ryukyuan Weaponry

Recently, I have written about the Ming Dynasty’s need for sulfur and horses to produce gunpowder and to pull cannons to the battlefield. Ryūkyū was able to supply both (Takara 1996: 46). According to the Minshu (Book of Fujian), the … Continue reading

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Fifteenth Century: Chatan Nakiri

The Chatan Nakiri is one of the three treasured swords handed down within the royal family of Ryūkyū. It has an unsigned blade and its sword mountings include mother-of-pearl inlays, dust-coated sheat, pure gold fittings and hilt. Being an unsigned … Continue reading

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Urasoe no Kon (Oki.: Urashī nu Kun)

Urasoe no Kon is one of the higher kata in Okinawan Taira-lineage and learned for the 7th or 8th dan or so. It is rarely seen for several reasons, one being that it takes a long time until students get … Continue reading

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Fly the Flag – Did Ryukyu Adopt the Banner of Sea Adventurers and Pirates?

The military equipment during the 1st Dynasty of Ryūkyū included armor, helmets, bows and arrows, spears, shields, and there were also many short, regular, and long swords decorated with gold and silver, which were imported from Japan. There were also … Continue reading

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Warfare and Deception – How Shō Hashi Established the 1st Ryukyu Dynasty

King Shō Hashi, described as the “Hometown Hero” for Okinawans, is the main character of the musical named after him. “For Okinawans, King Sho Hashi was the first historical figure to have a truly positive impact on the country. I want … Continue reading

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Sulphur and Horses – The Military Origin of Okinawa’s Tribute Trade with China

Last year, under participation of ten grand masters of Okinawa karate and kobudō, a museum and memorial monument related to Ryūkyū horses have been erected in Naha City. The topic is embedded within the peace theory of Okinawa and the … Continue reading

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