The First Footprint of Modern Karate

In 2021, a list of “100 Footprints of Modern Karate” were published in the Okinawa Times. Footprint Number 1 refers to December 1, 1890, when Yabu Kentsū, Hanashiro Chōmo, Gabu Masae, Kudeken Kenyū and others volunteered to join the Imperial Army NCO School. According to Yabu Kentsū himself, he made use of karate while enrolled in the NCO school.

BEcause the school is not well known, I provide a description of the NCO school below.

The Imperial Army NCO School

The Imperial Army NCO School was an institution for training non-commissioned officers in the Imperial Japanese Army from December 1871 to November 30, 1899. Its predecessor was the Training Corps (Kyōdōtai) which was set up in the Osaka Military Academy (the later Imperial Japanese Army Academy) in May 1870. In December 1871, the corps was renamed to NCO School (kyōdōdan) and moved to Tokyo, and in October 1873, it was separated from the military academy and came under the direct control of the Ministry of the Army until it was abolished in 1899. Facilities were set up in Kōnodai (currently Ichikawa City) in Higashi-Katsushika County, Chiba Prefecture.


According to the General Rules of the Imperial Army NCO School and the Regulations of the Imperial Army NCO School revised on October 31, 1874, the outline of the Imperial Army NCO School was as follows.

The Imperial Army NCO School is an army corps that educates and cultivates those who should be appointed as non-commissioned officers of the army. The types of troops are classified into the following six departments. The number in parentheses is the number of people hired every year.

  • Artillery (about 193 people)
  • Combat engineers (about 78 people)
  • Infantry (about 1,335 people)
  • Cavalry (about 24 people)
  • Transportation corps (about 30 people)
  • Marching band and trumpeters (about 30 people)

During the training, the students were not allowed to return home or take holiday at all in order to concentrate on their study and to complete the course. When appointed as a non-commissioned officer, they had a military service term of seven years.

After graduating, those who excelled in scholarship, and especially those who were highly moral, were selected and transferred to the department of commissioned officers of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy. For this reason, the Imperial Army NCO School was not only a training institution for non-commissioned officers, but also a gateway for those who were aiming for career advancement in the army. In fact, many generals were produced from those who originated from the Imperial Army NCO School and who went through the Imperial Japanese Army Academy. As an example, Mutō Nobuyoshi rose to the rank of a Field Marshal.

Conditions of employment

The students of the Imperial Army NCO School were selected from among those who volunteered to join the Imperial Guards and as common garrison soldiers, and were chosen from among those who volunteered from among the nobility, persons with samurai ancestors, and commoners.

The requirements were as follows.

  • Age: 18 to 25 years old. Marching band and trumpeters: from 15 to 23 years old.
  • Height: about 151.5 cm or more. Artillery about 157.6 cm or more.
  • Body: Able-bodied physique. Marching band and trumpeters are people with dense dentition.
  • Writing: Those with unhindered written correspondence ability.
  • Reading: Those who understand the military drill books. However, this does not apply to marching band and trumpeters.
  • Arithmetic: Those who can use addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. However, this does not matter for marching band and trumpeters.


The following officials were set up at the headquarters of the Imperial Army NCO School.

  • Director
  • Deputy Director
  • Secretary (divided into 3 sections)
  • Copyist
  • Accountant (divided into 3 sections)
  • Instructor (divided into 4 sections)

The following corps were set up in the Imperial Army NCO School.

  • Artillery battalion (also served as a school for coastal seacoast artillery)
  • Engineer battalion
  • Infantry battalion
  • Cavalry battalion (also served as a school for the transportation corps)
  • Marching band (also served as a school for trumpeters)

The era from 1890 to 1899

According to the Regulations of the Imperial Army NCO School (Imperial edict No. 47, 1890), the outline was as follows: The purpose of the Imperial Army NCO School was to select persons from among nobility, family or person with samurai ancestors, and commoners, who volunteered to become non-commissioned officers of the infantry, cavalry, field artillery, combat engineers, and transportation corps, and to provide them with the education necessary to become a non-commissioned officer.

The semester started every year in December, and the period of study for each class was as follows.

  • Infantry: 16 months
  • Cavalry: 18 months
  • Field artillery: 20 months
  • Combat engineering: 20 months
  • Transportation corps: 18 months

During the training, the persons were not allowed to return home or take holidays. Those who passed the final exam at the end of the semester were given a certificate of graduation from the Imperial Japanese Army NCO School and appointed to the rank of a staff sergeant.


There were the following staff members.

  • Leader: Infantry Colonel or Infantry Lieutenant Colonel. Also serves as a commanding officer of the infantry students.
  • Adjutant: 1 Captain, 1 First Lieutenant
  • Hospital Director: 2 Surgeon Lieutenant-colonels
  • Student commanding officers: 1 Major, 3 Captains
  • Corps officers: 4 Captains, 20 First Lieutenants
  • Infantry Student Corps Adjutant: 1 First Lieutenant
  • Artillery Student Corps Adjutant: 1 First Lieutenant
  • Army treasurer: 6 persons
  • Military physician / surgeon: 8 persons
  • Pharmacist: 1 person
  • Veterinarian: 3 persons



  • Major General Soga Sukenori: February 6, 1873-
  • Colonel Fukuhara Kazukatsu: June 10, 1873-

Instruction leaders

  • Colonel Takashima Tomonosuke: February 7, 1875-
  • Colonel Watanabe Hiroshi: March 16, 1881-
  • Infantry Lieutenant Colonel Hatano Takeshi: March 26, 1890-November 22, 1892
  • Infantry Colonel Okihara Kōfu: November 22, 1892-May 3, 1893
  • Infantry Lieutenant Colonel Yamanaka Nobuyoshi: May 3, 1893-December 26, 1895 (Promotion to Colonel in December 1894)
  • Infantry Colonel Oki Shigeyoshi: December 26, 1895-February 17, 1897
  • Infantry Colonel Nishijima Sukeyoshi: February 17, 1897-March 3, 1898
  • Infantry Lieutenant Colonel Sunaga Takeyoshi: March 3, 1898-October 1
  • Infantry Colonel Obata Shigeru: October 1, 1898-November 30, 1899

Chairman for the liquidation of the NCO School

  • Infantry Colonel Obata Shigeru: November 30, 1899-

Graduates of the NCO School

Those who have risen to the rank of a general

  • Mutō Nobuyoshi: General 1925, Marshal May 3, 1933.
  • Tanaka Giichi
  • Nakamura Satoru: Joined in July 1872, Corporal of the Army in November 1873, and General in January 1915.
  • Kamio Mitsuomi: Joined in October 1872, Infantry Sergeant in February 1884, and General in June 1916.
  • Sameshima Shigeo: Joined in January 1873, Corporal of the Army in June of 1873, and General of the Army on September 6, 1911.
  • Kawai Misao: Joined in 1873, and General in 1922.
  • Kikuchi Shinnosuke: Joined in October 1883, and General in 1923.
  • Shirakawa Yoshinori: Joined in January 1884, Staff Sergeant of the Army Engineer Corps in January 1886, and General in March 1925.
  • Suzuki Soroku
  • Kishimoto Shikataro: General in 1929.

Those who have risen to lieutenant general

  • Furukawa Nobuyoshi: Lieutenant General in March 1906
  • Kigoshi Yasutsuna: Trained and became Sergeant in September 1874, Lieutenant General in 1904.
  • Tōjō Hidenori
  • Hayashi Taichiro: Trained and sergeant in October 1878, Lieutenant General in 1911.
  • Kusuzo Tsujimura: Trained in July 1879, sergeant, Lieutenant General in 1913.
  • Senba Taro: Lieutenant General in November 1910.
  • Hagino Suekichi: Lieutenant General in March 1914.
  • Asakawa Toshiyasu: Lieutenant General in August 1914.
  • Shiba Katsusaburo: Lieutenant General in February 1915.
  • Koike Yasuyuki: Lieutenant General in May 1916.
  • Wada Kameji: Trained in May 1889, and Lieutenant General in August 1923.
  • Ushijima Sadao: Joined in December 1893, and Lieutenant General in August 1931.
  • Ryokaku Saburo: Lieutenant General in June 1921.

Those who have risen to thr rank of major general

  • Okuyama Yoshiaki: Joined in 1872, and Major General in 1906.
  • Hayakawa Akiyoshi: Major General in 1903.
  • Higuchi Kiyoshi: Joined in 1878, and Major General in 1915.
  • Yokota Sotaro: Joined in 1876, and Major General in 1908.
  • Watanabe Kenji: Joined in 1885, and Major General in 1915.
  • Izu Tsuneo: Major General in 1910.
  • Masatsune Kusao: Graduated from the infantry department in 1882, and Major General in 1912.

Those who have risen to the rank of junior officer

  • Tokio Zenzaburo: Enrolled in the Engineering Corps of the Imperial Army NCO School in 1874, graduated in April 1876, and became a colonel in combat engineering in 1904.
  • Iwakura Kumeo: applied as an combat engineer of the Imperial Army NCO School in 1884, artillery colonel in 1910.
  • Ogoshi Kanekichi: Joined in 1885, and lieutenant colonel in 1905 (Meiji 38).
  • Nezu Hajime: Major
  • Fujimaki Taneie: Enrolled in the infantry corps of the NCO School in 1872, major in 1874, and Infantry Captain in 1890.
  • Arao Sei: Joined the artillery corps in 1878 and became a captain.
  • Taizo Fukushima: Graduated from the Imperial Army NCO School in 1888, graduated from the Imperial Japanese Army Academy, and in 1898 became captain.
  • Benzō Hiraishi: Entered the infantry corps of the NCO School in 1893, became Major.
  • Kannari Bunkichi: Infantry Captain in 1901.
  • Shirase Nobu: Graduated from the the NCO School in 1881, Lieutenant.
  • Yabu Kentsū: Lieutenant
  • Hasegawa Jukichi: Joined in 1886, Cavalry Major.
  • Noda Masanobu: second lieutenant


  • Shibasaki Yoshitaro: Later Army engineer
  • Takeuchi Kakuji: Dropped out. Later, he became a doctor of law, a lawyer, and the president of Hōsei University.
  • Sakata Tasuku: November 1899 (Meiji 32) Sergeant of the cavalry. Later, the director of Kantō Gakuin University.
  • Iizuka Unro: Later a calligrapher

Staff members

  • Umezawa Michiharu: In March 1872, with the Imperial Army NCO School.
  • Fukuhara Kazukatsu: In June 1873, Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Army NCO School (Colonel).
  • Kosuga Tomofuchi: Instructor at the Imperial Army NCO School in May 1877.
  • Fukushima Yasumasa: March-December 1879, with the Imperial Army NCO School Infantry Battalion (Infantry Lieutenant).
  • Nagaoka Gaishi: In June 1880, Captain of the the Imperial Army NCO School (Infantry Second Lieutenant).
  • Akinori Nagamochi: March 1881-October 1884, Deputy Director of the Imperial Army NCO School.
  • Yamauchi Michiyoshi: October 1884-December 1888, Deputy Director of the Imperial Army NCO School.
  • Manabe Yasushi: Once served in the Imperial Army NCO School.
  • Toyobe Shinsaku: Once platoon commander of the cavalry of the Imperial Army NCO School.
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Was soll das heißen? – Terminologische und technische Implikationen des Nagahama Bō

Eine Terminologie bezeichnet die „Gesamtheit der in einem Fachgebiet üblichen Fachwörter und -ausdrücke“ oder einfach „Nomenklatur.“ Innerhalb der Entstehung von Karate- und Kobudō-Terminologien gibt es einige Punkte zu beachten. Erst einmal entwickelten sich die modernen Karate- und Kobudō-Terminologien erst im Laufe des 20. Jahrhunderts. Genauer gesagt begann die Entwicklung verschiedener Fachtermini langsam und fragmentarisch in der 1. Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts, und zwar in Anlehnung an das Vorbild der japanischen Budō-Disziplinen. Richtig ausgearbeitet wurden solche Karate- und Kobudō-Terminologien jedoch erst in der 2. Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts. Darüber hinaus wurden zahlreiche verschiedene Terminologien entwickelt, zum Beispiel in einzelnen dōjō, in einzelnen Stilrichtungen, in kleineren Verbänden bis hin zu nationalen und internationalen Sportverbänden. Meister X hat vielleicht bereits 1930 angefangen, Hauptkategorien von Techniken mit Namen zu versehen, um besser unterrichten zu können. Meister Y hingegen fing vielleicht erst 1985 an, eine Terminologie auszuarbeiten, um so Techniken zu standardisieren und für Prüfungen nachvollziehbar und eineindeutig festzulegen.

Der entscheidende Punkt, auf den ich hier hinweise, ist, dass in diesen modernen Terminologien meistens die Bewegung der Waffe im Kobudō bzw. das ausführende Körperteil und dessen grobe Zielregion – unten, mittig, oben – angegeben.

Beispiele hierfür sind:

  • Shomen-uchi: Schlag nach vorne
  • Jōdan-uchi: Schlag zur oberen Höhenstufe
  • Furi-age-uchi: aufwärts geschwungener Schlag
  • Kagi-zuki: Hakenstoß
  • Ura-uchi: Rückhandschlag
  • Chūdan-zuki: Stoß zur mittleren Höhenstufe
  • Hiza-geri: Kniestoß
  • Nuki-zuki: gleitender Stoß
  • Tettsui-uchi: Hammerfaustschlag
  • Ippon-ken: Einfingerknöchelstoß
  • Empi-uchi: Ellenbogenstoß
  • usw.

Kurzum: Über die Terminologie alleine sind Zweck und Ziel einer Technik nicht definiert.

Nun, wie wohl in jeder anderen Alltagssprache auch finden sich im Deutschen zahlreiche Redewendungen, in der das Ziel eines Angriffs genau definiert wird:

  • auf’s Maul hauen
  • auf die Nase hauen
  • auf’s Auge hauen
  • in die Eier treten
  • ein blaues Auge verpassen
  • einen Leberhaken versetzen
  • einen Kinnhaken verpassen
  • vor den Kopf hauen
  • auf die Zähne hauen
  • in den Magen schlagen
  • eine Ohrfeige verpassen

und es gibt zahlreiche bildsprachliche Ausdrücke wie „umhauen“, „Blut am Schuh!“ (Ah, Entschuldigung, das ist vom Fußball), „Gleich klatscht es!“ usw.

Anders als in den modernen Karate- und Kobudō-Terminologien handelt es sich dabei also hauptsächlich um Zielangaben.

Im Karate wurden ursprünglich auch Zielangaben verwendet, wie ich vor einigen Jahren am Beispiel des Begriffes Kasumi beschrieb:

Recently I read about Motobu Choki using the archaic term “kasumi-uchi” instead of the modern “haishu-uchi” for a specific technique in Naihanchi. It is said that Itosu changed this to “haito-uke” (ridge hand block). Both haishu-uchi as well as haito-uke refer to the body-part used to perform the technique. Kasumi-uchi, on the other hand, uses the name of the target to label this technique. This is an extremely interesting point.

Es gab im Karate und Kobudō also eine terminologische Kehrtwende im 20. Jahrhundert, für die im Übrigen zahlreiche weitere Beispiele existieren. Hier reicht es jedoch zu verstehen, dass im Unterschied zu den modernen Karate- und Kobudō-Terminologien die ursprünglichen Techniken ebenfalls durch relativ genaue Zieleangaben am gegnerischen Körper gekennzeichnet waren. Ein Beispiel dafür finden wir im Nagahama Bō.

Nagahama Bō bezeichnet ein traditionelles Stockfechten aus Nagahama im Dorf Yomitan. Es handelt sich um ein sogenanntes Mura-bō oder Dorf-Stockfechten welches vor etwa 200 Jahren während der Zeit des Ryukyu-Königreichs entstanden sein soll, also um die 1820er Jahre. Seit ca. 2009 oder 2010 gab es keine Aufführungen mehr aber im Juli 2019 versammelten sich der Jung-Männer-Verein (Seinenkai), der Kinder-Verein, die Trainer und wichtige ehemalige Mitglieder im Gemeindezentrum zum Zwecke der Wiederbelebung des Nagahama Bō.

In dieser Stockfechttradition gibt es insgesamt dreizehn Kata, die alle von zwei Personen ausgeführt werden. Das heißt, es handelt sich ausschließlich um sogenanntes Kumi-bō, oder Stockfechten mit dem Partner. Aus diesem Grunde gestaltet sich die Überlieferung schwierig, denn ohne Partner ist es nicht möglich, diese Kata aufzuführen. Der praktische Ansatz zeigt sich auch in der Bezeichnung „Ikusa Bō“, die für Nagahama Bō verwendet wird: Ikusa Bō 戦棒 bedeutet Stockfechten für den echten Kampf, Gefechtsstange, Schlachtenknüppel, usw. Es handelt sich dabei also um ein seit relativ langer Zeit regional überliefertes, praktisch inspiriertes Stockfechten.

Im Nagahama Bō gibt es eine Technikliste, das heißt eine Terminologie. Diese Terminologie verwendet zahlreiche Begriffe, die wie aus der folgenden Liste ersichtlich das Ziel des Angriffs relativ genau definieren (siehe: Entire Story: Nagahama Bō, 25. Februar 2021, Minute 14:15):

  • Ūwāi (Stelle zwischen den Augenbrauen)
  • Ashijiri (Bein schneiden)
  • Fusunuchi ([die Region] um den Nabel schlagen)
  • Īmāsa (auf Schritt und Tritt folgen; nachfolgen)
  • Kajichiri (zum Kopf/Hals schlagen)
  • Ubi-kiri (zur Taille schlagen)
  • Ura-uchi (von links nach rechts gegen den Kopf/Hals schlagen)
  • Chichidī (in die Magengrube stoßen)

Anhand dieser Liste wird deutlich, wie geeignet solche Zielangaben für die praktische Anwendung sind.

Daraus ergeben sich natürlich zahlreiche weitere Fragen: Ist die individuelle Kata – das heißt, von einer Person aufgeführte Kata – aus der Not entstanden, dass nicht immer ein Partner zur Verfügung steht? Gab es auch im Karate und Kobudō einst hauptsächlich Partnerformen, und was passierte mit diesen? Wurden die Partnerübungen des Karate und Kobudō, die heute überall zu sehen sind, ebenfalls erst im 20. Jahrhundert neu entwickelt, während die originalen Partnerübungen verloren gegangen sind? Das heißt, verhält sich die praktische Anwendung des modernen Karate und Kobudō analog zum Prozess der Terminologie, das heißt, Verlust und Neuschaffung?

Ein weiterer bedeutsamer Punkt ist der folgende: Im Nagahama Bō wird die Person Tsuken Hantā-gwā als Überlieferer genannt, sowie Kata-Namen wie Tsuken Bō, Sunakake Bō und andere. Das sind berühmte Namen im modernen Kobudō, aber im Kobudō ist nichts über deren Herkunft bekannt. Das heißt, es besteht hier die Möglichkeit, dass sich die modernen Traditionen des Okinawa Kobudō tatsächlich aus solchen Dorf-Stockfechtmethoden speisten und entwickelten, und zwar erst im 20. Jahrhundert, und unter dem Einfluss japanischer Pre1945-Budō-Kultur und -Ideologie, was sich in der unterschiedlichen Kleidung, Sprache und Terminologie, der Trainings- und Aufführungsorte, des typischen Aufführungsumfelds und -gelegenheiten, Musikbegleitung usw. zeigt. Und wenn dem so ist, wieso wurden Okinawa Kobudō dann fast ausschließlich über Individual-Kata überliefert, im Gegensatz zur Partnerarbeit? Denn abgesehen von ein paar Kleinigkeiten sind kombative Anwendung im Okinawa Kobudō eher eine Ausnahme gewesen, die erst in der zweiten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts vermehrt in Mode kam. Ist der exponentielle Zuwachs an neu abgeleiteten oder entwickelten Anwendungen zumindest teilweise auch ein direktes Resultat der stetig ansteigenden Kopfzahl in Karate- und Kobudō-Schulen, und nicht etwa originaler Inhalt, sondern Produkt der Verfügbarkeit von Übungsstätten, der Massenmedien, elektronischer Kommunikationsmittel, Reisemöglichkeiten, der verlängerten Freizeit und finanzielle Unabhängigkeit vieler Menschen, der relativ friedlichen Zeit, der riesigen Summen an Steuergeldern die Regierungsbüros in alle möglichen Marketingmaßnahmen stecken, der Heldenepen Hollywoods, der persönlichen Sinnsuche usw., und damit also ein direktes Resultat der stetig ansteigenden Kopfzahl an verfügbaren Trainingspartnern? Im Nagahama Bō jedenfalls wie wahrscheinlich auch in anderen Dorf-Stockfechttraditionen Okinawas scheint es eben genau der Mangel an verfügbaren Trainingspartner zu sein, der die weitere Tradierung in Gefahr brachte.

Es gibt also nicht nur zahlreiche Punkte, die in diesem Zusammenhang behandelt werden sollten, sondern auch solche Hinweise, die gegebenenfalls eine Neudefinition des Selbstnarrativs okinawanischer Kobudō-Kreise erforderlich macht.

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Okinawa Sumō (Shima) II

Previously, I have written a number of articles about the term tegumi. As it turned out, tegumi was once a name used for what came to be called Okinawa sumō since at least 1897. So lets seek a better definition of Okinawa sumō.

Hokama (1999) divided “traditional Okinawan sports” roughly into 1. karate, 2. kobudō, 3. mura-bō (bōjutsu), and 4. Okinawa sumō. Here follows his description of Okinawa sumō (Hokama 1999:25-27). 

Characteristics of Okinawa Sumō

Competitions of Okinawa sumō are held along with local festivals in each village. They are related to the unity and harmony of the villagers and play a role as an occasion for communication.

In addition, it is related to the healthy development and the improvement of physical strength among young people, and cultivates an “Attitude of courtesy and respect for others” and “attention to safety.”

It helps to increase the interest in sumō by an understanding the differences between Japanese sumō, which follows the idea of competitive sport, and Okinawa sumō.

It is characteristic that it is a lively competition with the spectators having a good time watching the contest of strength and the outcome of the fights.

By the way, the origin of Okinawa sumō was called mūtō or otherwise uētoi, which is mainly grappling, and kicking and striking techniques are prohibited, and in part it closely resembles Mongolian wrestling, and it has also some parts in common with amateur wrestling. It has the characteristic that two person grapple with each other, or control the other person until one opponent is defeated. Forbidden techniques include neck choking, poking someone’s eyes, punching, and kicking. It is said that mūtō, which existed from the Meiji era (1868) to the Taisho era (1912-1926) to the middle of the Showa era (~1945), changed its shape and was traditionally handed down to the present Okinawa sumō.

The Competition Method

There are a chief referee (sumōtō), referees (gyōji), and ushers (yobidashi, who calls the names of wrestlers, sweeps the ring, etc.). Sergeant Yabu (Kentsū), Yanashiro Chōmo, and others known from karate also served as chief referees of Okinawa sumō.

Until before the war, there were few permanent sumō rings, and it was often held at the yard in front of a public hall, at sandy beaches and the like. After the war, it became more common to compete in a standardized sumō ring.

There is no rising from a crouch to charge as in Japanese sumō. According to the rules, the belt is tied and the match starts from mutually grabbing the belt in a right cross grip (migi yotsu). The sumō ring is generally a seven-meter circle.

The game is decided when both shoulders touch the ground, and it is a big difference from Japanese sumō that stepping out of the ring or touching the ground with one’s hands does not mean defeat.

There are techniques such as pulling techniques (hiki-waza), lifting techniques (nose-waza), throwing technique (nage-waza), and hooking techniques (kake-waza).

As a child I have also often watched the sumō matches dedicated at Nami no Ue Shrine. Recently, I have also watched it in the areas of Yonabaru and Katsuren.

The method of tightening the belt is to fold it twice and tie it in a bowknot loose enough so that one fist can be inserted.

There are the following four ways to grab the belt.

1. overhand grip (junte), 2. underhand grip (sakate), 3. large underhand grip  (ōsakate), and 4. a mix of overhand and underhand grip.

The techniques have names peculiar to Okinawa sumō, that is, the Okinawan dialect is used, which also adds to the charm of Okinawa sumō.

First of all, this text provides a good and valid overview. It should be noted that while Hokama Tetsuhiro does not mention the term tegumi, he does mention mūtō, just as Nagamine Shoshin did in his 1986 book:

This kind of [sumō] competition was called ‘tegumi’ in Naha, and ‘mūtou’ in the Tomari and Shuri regions.

Hokama Tetsuhiro said that mūtō existed from the Meiji era (1868) to the Taishō era (1912-1926) and to the middle of the Shōwa era (~1945), when “it changed its shape” and was handed down to the present Okinawa sumō. However, this chronology is difficult to hold up because the term sumō was already used for it in newspaper articles since 1897. Maybe the term mūtō was continued to be used until around 1945 in colloqiual language.

BTW, the now defunct Shuri Naha Dialect Dictionary of the University of the Ryukyus had the following entry on Okinawan sumō:

Shima. Sumō. It starts with both opponents gripping each others belts and holding each other. Throwing the opponent and putting him on his back on the ground means victory. It is done two times in a row. The one who has suffered consecutive defeats is called Nujumi / can say Nujumi, and can ask for a rematch, which the winner can not refuse.

As regards the changes made from the colloquial tegumi and mūtō to the formal Okinawa sumō, there are a few points to consider. Funakoshi said about tegumi that he and his close childhood friends would often play it, that it was done in regulat clothes and that it had no rules except there were so-called fouls (forbidden moves). Striking with the fist and kicking with the foot were understood as being prohibited, as well as the use the knifehand (shutō), strikes with the elbow (enpi), grabbing the hair and pinching. So this safe and social part of tegumi did not change at all in its newer form called Okinawa sumō. Rather, the change – or rather the formalization – was about the regulated use of chief referees, referees and ushers, certain rings, the use of sumō belts instead of regular clothes as mentioned by Funakoshi, and later the use of white jackets and trousers from jūdō and white and red belts to distinguish the fighters; These are the things that were modernized.

According to the above, the tegumi of old was probably a belt wrestling, just as today. However, just as in case of sumō, before its standardization, there were regional differences in the rules all over Japan.

Finally, here are a few terms used in the Okinawan language (collected from Sakihara 2006: 61, 107, 112, 133, 140, 157-158, 178-79, 187):

  • Shima (sumō) [note that the Okinawan word shima is just the dialect pronunciation of the Japanese sumō]: Wrestling, particularly Okinawan style. See also nushi, nushi-gwā, hijai-nushi, machi-gwā, tīnu-jā, mē-gaki, tinmē-gaki, ninjā-gwā, Uchinā-jima, shima-nā.
  • Nushi (noseru). A wrestling technique in which the opponent in thrown down right to left.
  • Nushi-gwā. Sama as nushi.
  • Hijai-nushi: A wrestling technique in which the opponent in thrown down left to right.
  • Machi-gwā. A wrestling technique in which the opponent is collared and tripped.
  • Tīnu-jā. A wrestling technique in which the wrestler puts his arm on the opponent’s back and twists him down.
  • Mē-gaki. A wrestling technique in which the wrestler hooks the opponent’s foot from the outside and pushes him over.
  • Tinmē-gaki. A wrestling technique, similar to Meegaki, in which the wrestler hooks his foot over his opponent’s foot from the outside and throwes him down.
  • Ninjā-gwā. A wrestling technique in which the wrestler holds his opponent with one arm on his back and pulls his opponent down as he himself goes down on his back.
  • Uchinā-jima. Okinawan wrestling. See also shima.
  • Shima-nā. A sumō wrestling arena.

Maeshiro et al. (1993) unmistakenly defined sumō as a “traditional competitive sport of Okinawa,” not a martial art in sense of combat. It should also be noted that the Ōshima Hikki (1762) has an entry on sumō in Okinawa, and it clearly says that it is of the Japanese kind. Therefore, Okinawan sumō (and tegumi and mutō) might simply be regional variants of historical Japanese sumō as handed d own to Okinawa at sometime during the 18th century.

Moreover, Itani Yasuhiko clarified the following in the Bulletin of the Graduate School of Education of Waseda University (2010):

Yamashiro Chiaki, after including the young men’s associations’ folk entertainments of each village in a table, states as follows. “However, although the tradition and creation of folk entertainments has historically been positioned as a role of the young people within a village society, there is the danger that folk entertainments will disappear at the same time as the young men’s associations disappear.”

The situation is the same in the fields of traditional social physical education (such as tug-of-war, dragon boat races, karate, and Okinawa sumō).

“The physical exercise culture was carried out during the annual or seasonal events of the general public during the early and middle Meiji era. It preserved a ‘pastime-like function as liberation from labor’ which was linked to festivals, rituals, and entertainments that had been inherited in the villages and sections of villages. It can be inferred that traditional contests have been handed down as a physical exercise culture by the activities of the traditional young men groups.”

In short, Okinawa had a “pastime-like function as liberation from labor” which was linked to festivals, rituals, and entertainments in the villages of Okinawa, and to the traditional young men groups, which I already mentioned about here. Finally, as Maeshiro pointed out,

Also, in the daily life of the general public in the communities, before the modern sports propagated by the central government had become established, entertainment and traditional athletic culture were carried out, such as traditional karate and kobudō, sumō wrestling, dragon boat race, tug-of-war, and horse-racing. This coexistence of traditional athletic culture [of Okinawa] and modern sports culture [of the West and of Japan] is characteristic of physical education during the Meiji era.

Selected Biblio

Hokama Tetsuhiro: Okinawa Karate Kobudô no Shinzui (The True Essence of Okinawa Karate and Kobudō). Haebaru-chō (Okinawa-ken), Naha Shuppansha 1999.

Itani Yasuhiko: Kyūkan Onzon-ki ni okeru Okinawa no Seinen Dantai (Okinawan Youth Organizations during the Period of Preservation of Old Customs). Waseda Daigaku Daigakuin Kyōiku-gaku Kenkyūka Kiyō, Bessatsu 18–1 (The Bulletin of the Graduate School of Education of Waseda University, Separate Volume, Issue 18-1). September 2010.

Maeshiro Tsutomu: The History of Public Physical Education in Okinawa Prefecture during the Meiji era: Focusing on the Activities of Young Men’s Associations and the Association of Physical Education. Bulletin of the Faculty of Education, University of the Ryūkyūs, Part 1 and 2 (43), 377-386. 1993-11.

Sakihara Mitsugu: Okinawa-English Wordbook. University of Hawaii, 2006.

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Other examples of Tegumi – Yuishinkan Goju-ryu Karate-do

Recently I have presented a number of sources and thoughts on the term tegumi from a strictly academic point of view. However, tegumi has been in use in karate circles for quite some time, without being related to either the predecessor of Okinawan sumō nor the interpretation by Patrick McCarthy.

This morning, Christian Sensei, representant of Yuishinkan Gōjū-ryū Karate-dō in Europe, contacted me. He noted that tegumi was a part of the Yuishinkan and provided me with grading regulations from the time period of ca. 1980-89. This was before the term was used in Nagamine Sensei’s 1986 book and in Patrick McCarthy homonymous set of practices from the 1990s.

In these Yuishinkan grading regulations, tegumi was part of all gradings starting from the 6th kyū.

The grading regulations for a 1. Dan included the following:

  • Physical constitution: 50 Udetate and 500 Kushin (100 Ebi) and/or 10,000 m run.
  • Kihon Techniques and Stances: 3 Uke techniques, 3 Tsuki techniques, 3 Keri techniques, 3 Uchi techniques
  • Combination techniques: small kata Kata 1-4
  • Kata: Sanchin, Seisan
  • Partner forms: 12 Kumite-ura, 12 Nage-waza, and the Ura counter forms
  • Jiyu-ippon: 1 round
  • Jiyu-kumite: 2 fights according to WUKO rules
  • Tegumi: 1 fight
  • Self-defense: against chokes, grabs, holds and attacks from 8 directions
  • Refereeing: acting as a referee
  • Self-defense against weapons: against knife, stick, as a partner
  • Ground fighting (Newaza): 1 fight
  • Note: All techniques must be convincing, character and Budo attitude must be irreproachable. The examination points: teaching qualification, kuatsu, attendance of seminars and a written work are to be checked and evaluated in the Dan examination list.

As can be seen, tegumi has been a traditional practice in the Yuishinkan. Afterwards, when checking my old files, I actually found the term tegumi several times, which I probably simply have forgotten. One note is a recorded I took of a conversation with Lutz Klemann in 1999 in Japan, where Lutz Sensei remembered his early training at the Yuishinkan dōjō of Kisaki Tomoharu Sensei in Ōsaka. Here is my note:

“I used to faint regularly during training.” Lutz said he always ran into a fighter named Fuji, who was feared in the Yuishinkan. He always showed Lutz his place, especially in ground fighting since he had some terribly good choking skills. Sometimes Lutz was in a good mood during training, but then Fuji’s face suddenly appeared in the hall entrance, and that was the end of the good mood. Lutz also broke his toe regularly once a year, so maybe he was doing some conditioning or resilience training or Tegumi.”

Like this, in the Yuishinkan, tegumi referred to a free fight in which almost everything was allowed and it is said that it ended – more often than not – in ground fighting (newaza).

There is also a Gōjū-ryū book called Goju-ryu Karate-Do I bought back when it was published in 1997. It was written by people from the Yuishinkan sphere, namely Horst Espeloer, Heckhuis Ulrich (the later vice-president of the German Karate Federation or DKV), and Horst Nehm. The book has the following short chapter on tegumi as well:

6.1 Tegumi

A form of exercise that comes relatively close to the actual form of self-defense is Tegumi, a kind of free fight with a partner yet without the limitations of sports rules. Tegumi allows techniques that are forbidden in competition karate, such as Gedan foot attacks or knee kicks. Body shots are allowed, even required. If the contact between the combatants is very close, the fight can be continued on the ground after a throwing technique.

There is no separating stop signal after achieving a scoring technique. The fight runs for a set time, unless one of the two partners has to give up earlier.

This form of combat may only be done by seniors, otherwise the risk of injury would be too big. It takes many years of training experience to be able to estimate how hard you can hit your training partner’s body without seriously injuring him.

Christian Sensei told me he does not know where the term tegumi in Yuishinkan came from, but undoubtedly it was in use in the Yuishinkan Gōjū-ryū by Kisaki Tomoharu Sensei and Fritz Nöpel Sensei. Kisaki Tomoharu Sensei had travelled to China in the early 1980s to research the roots of Gōjū-ryū and mentioned that he would also visit the Jundōkan dōjō of Miyazato Sensei when he was in Okinawa. I have also just heard from Joe Swift that “there is an old interview with So Neichu who said Yamaguchi Gogen used the word Tegumi instead of Kumite in the early years.” Therefore, it might have been a Ritsumeikan University thing, and might even have come from Yogi Jitsu’ei, an Okinawan student of Miyagi‘s who was part of the Ritsumeikan Karate Club. Anyway, that is speculation.

Here is some more background from my old files:

Kisaki Sensei named his dōjō in Ōsaka the Yuishinkan, which translates to “Hall of the Brave Heart.” The reason for this name is said to be the special objective of this undercurrent of Gōjū-ryū: Kisaki practiced a particularly intensive strength and resilience training, and placed great importance to realistic self-defense training. This gave rise to the training form of tegumi, a form of free combat where all techniques are allowed, including throws followed by ground combat. That is, in the Yuishinkan, all infight techniques are practiced.

Through his experience in judo – Kisaki Sensei had the 3rd Dan -, many elements were adopted into the Yuishinkan. Ground fighting has long been part of the grading examinations of higher kyu and dan grades. In order to bring an opponent to the ground in the first place, various throws are required. In order to specifically train these throws , Kisaki designed a system of 24 set attack-defense combinations with a final throw (Nage-waza). In Germany, this model was included in the general Gōjū-ryū grading regulations, thanks to the initiative of Fritz Nöpel Sensei.

I also remember my friend and senior, Ulrich Schlee. A warhorse of the old school, who also accidentally broke a bone during exams, Uli was an officer in the state police. Unfortunately, he became seriously ill and died in 2010. He had always supported me and encouraged me, and said with a laugh, “Well, just keep doing what you do!” and I followed his advice. The last thing I could do was to fulfill his last wish, which was to publish a book with his ideas about karate. It was finished, with a beautiful cover designed by his wife, and he was able to hold it in his own hands before he passed away.

In his book, and as the editor of it I should have rememberd it, there is also a short chapter on tegumi:


Tegumi comes very close to a realistic fight. Tactics don’t really matter that much. Tegumi can only be carried out by those with a well-trained body and a healthy self-confidence. Trust in your partner also plays an important role.

Tegumi is practiced in the dōjō from brown belt upwards, when body and technique are sufficiently developed. The aim is to bring the opponent to give up. If the opportunity arises, it can switch to ground fighting. However, it cannot be a goal to go down as quickly as possible, since the position on the ground is weak. You may strike blows to the body in a controlled manner, but the head is only touched. You stand close to your partner, put pressure on him from the start and look for a decision. At the opening of the fight, you approach your partner and step forward. You can also find this type of opening in Kihon-idō no Kamae and in the kata. The step forward is intended to demonstrate self-confidence.

… There is kumite-ura and nage kumite, ground fighting, the small kata, tegumi, and tuite, i.e., grappling that should be specially practiced during training.

I think it has become sufficiently clear that tegumi existed as a practice method in the Yuishinkan. It is unclear when exactly it was named as such and where the name came from, yet it is important to note that the use of tegumi in the Yuishinkan precedes the use of Nagamine Senseis 1986 book as well as Patrick McCarthy’s use of tegumi since the latter 1990s. In short, in the Yuishinkan Gōjū-ryū Karate-dō, the term tegumi was used since at least the 1980s but probably earlier, and it was used to refer to a free fight including throws and groundwork.

I am looking forward to finding more traditions with their own history of tegumi practice.

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Just one year of training

After returning to Naha, which became a burnt area, Nagamine’s job was to manage Minato Village. At that time, the Kokuba-Gumi was in charge of unloading the goods at Naha Port. The Kokuba-Gumi is an Okinawan company that ran the construction industry, civil engineering industry, restaurant industry, and service industry. At that time, there were voices inside the police to let Nagamine take charge of the unloading business.

Rather than pure criminal police dealing with crimes such as theft or murder, Nagamine’s specialty was economic crime. He worked as the person in charge of the police box that controlled Minato Village. It is said that the Japanese, a defeated people at the time, were weak and it was dangerous if they knew that someone was a police officer, so it was an era when police officers didn’t wear uniforms.

Around this time, the US military promoted the construction of standard housing in Naha City, which had become a burnt field. Allocations have also been made to the Nagamine family. The address was “Makishi Neighborhood Block 2.” The house was slightly remodeled to become a temporary dōjō and the “Matsubayashi-ryū” sign was put up for the first time. It was the beginning of Nagamine’s school. This was in July 1947.

After several assignments at the Naha police station and at the police academy, in January 1951, he was promoted to police superintendent, the highest rank among local police officers. The police superintendent at that time was the head of a police station in charge. Nagamine was appointed as the chief of the Motobu district police station.

Around this time, Nagamine kept a venture hidden in his chest. At the autumn jūdō tournament, the thirteen police stations of all Okinawa Prefecture were to compete against each other. As soon as he took up his new post at Motobu district police station, he urged the staff to aim at being the best in all Okinawa at this tournament.

Jūdō, kendō, and karate were compulsory within the police force since his police training days. Among these, within the police force Nagamine was famous as a “karate practitioner,” but he also had a strong reputation for being enthusiastic about jūdō and kendō. When he assumed his new post as police chief, in front of the waiting station employees, he presented his bold goal that no one had expected from their new chief. It is said that the young police officers were inspired by his idea. Motobu station is in a rural area on the main island of Okinawa. Work locations were also scattered and the opportunities and time for staff members to gather and practice jointly were limited. The idea that he presented was that a person selected as a competitor did not have to work, and instead another officer would fill in their duty. The idea that persons selected as competitors were able to practice professionally all day long was an absolute novelty. About this, Nagamine wrote:

Compared to the black belt groups of selected tough guys such as from Maehara station, Koza station, Naha station, which were large police stations with 200 staff members, my station was composed of only less than 60 staff members. The eight-member team organized from among them where all white belts. However, my team won against all police stations of Okinawa and achieved a grand victory. The bloody-rough training that lasted nearly a year had come to fruition there. I was also registered as a substitute competitor, so all the competitors, including myself, were recognized with undisputed approval at that time and received a black belt.

The final match was Motobu station vs. Naha station. The captain of Naha police station team was Miyazato Eiichi (1922-99), who was also a Gōjū-ryū karate practitioner. At that time, the captain of the Motobu station won in the end.

Although the Motobu police station was small, it won the championship with the unity and will of all the members based on the idea of the new chief. No wonder many police officers regretted it when Nagamine decided to retire. Three months later, in January 1952, Nagamine ended his 20-years police life and set out on a new path.

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“Tegumi” in the English translation of Nagamine Shōshin’s second book

Previously, I mentioned that the term “Tegumi” appears only once in the whole 1986 book by Nagamine Sensei. Here, I would like to compare this with the 1998 English translation.

First of all, in the 1998 English translation, the term “tegumi” appears a few times in the karate part of the book, namely once in an addendum to the chapter about Matsumura Sōkon, once in the chapter about Higaonna Kanryō, and twice in the chapter on Motobu Chōki:

“As such, Tsuru-san (Bushi Matsumura’s wife)  grew up partaking in such boy’s games as Okinawan sumo wrestling and muutou (more popularly known as tegumi, which, in Chinese characters, is kumite written backwards).”

“In spite of being quite small, Kanryo [Higaonna] was flexible and blessed with quick reflexes, which afforded him a reputation in tegumi (sumo) and to-te (karate).”

“Choki [Motobu] often asked if Matsumora would practice tegumi (application training) with him. However, Matsumora always refused because he knew that Choki would use his new found technique over in the Tsuji that evening. Rather, Master Matsumora told Motobu, “Don’t be so concerned about sparring with me, or others for that matter, you will find what works best for you, but only after you have discovered the real adversary; the enemy within.” Notwithstanding, Motobu Saru secretly observed Matsumora’s tegumi lessons with other disciples from behind the courtyard wall during special training in the evenings.”

That said, four of the most important ancestors of modern karate have been associated with tegumi, namely Matsumura Sōkon (or rather his wife, Tsuru), Matsumora Kōsaku, Higaonna Kanryō, and Motobu Chōki.

Then there is the part of the book that deals with the research by Kushi Jokei made into Okinawa sumō. In the part of the English translation, the term “tegumi” appears twenty-five times. For instance, the Japanese heading “Okinawa Sumō und Master Grapplers” was renamed to “Tegumi and Master Grapplers of Okinawa.” The following subheading, “Okinawa Sumō,” was also renamed to “Okinawa Tegumi.” Within the following text corpus in this part, the term “tegumi” was used a further twenty-three times.

In short, while “tegumi” appeared only once in the original Japanese text, the English translation featured it twentynine times, including in chapter headers. Actually, what happened is that the expression “Okinawa Sumō” was replaced by the term “Tegumi.”

The term “tegumi” as used in the English-speaking karate world originated single-handedly from this English translation of Nagamine Sensei’s book.

In the following I will provide a few examples. Note that while the translations naturally differ a bit, I want you to focus on the terminology.

Nagamine 1986Tuttle 1998
Okinawa Sumō and Master WrestlersTegumi and Master Grapplers of Okinawa
Okinawa SumōOkinawan Tegumi
… covered in mud like eels we swam in the stream of the Asato River at Sogenji Bridge, and in the evening we used to play [Okinawa] sumō in the nearby Utaki (sacred grove) and Ashibinaa (festival place)Sometimes in the evenings we also pretended we were fierce tegumi wrestlers and fought each other at the playground …
Since I had a small physique, my [Okinawan] sumō wasn’t strong, but I liked it very much.In spite of being quite small for my age, I was a leader among my friends and loved tegumi grappling with them.
About the origin of Okinawa SumōTegumi and the Origins of Okinawan Sumo
I assume that Okinawa sumō was born from the the same origin as the martial arts referred to as “tī” in Okinawa. That is, I assume it was born from the primitive man’s fighting methods of self-defense which are based on the instinct for self-preservation. In other words, within the long progress of history, on one hand our characteristic martial arts of tī was created, and on the other hand sumō was born as a pastime of the common people.It is believed that grappling ascended from primitive man’s instinctive means of self-preservation. In the history of civil fighting traditions here in Okinawa we refer to such grappling concepts as tegumi. There is every reason to believe that tegumi, after being enhanced by techniques of striking and kicking, also served as the progenitor of “te.”
Therefore, this sumō was initially the form of a pastime grapplingIn its early recreational form, tegumi was quite a rough and tumble practice.
It was similar to the current amateur wrestling and it was continued until the opponent was defeated [according to the rules].The tradition was not completely unlike present day amateur wrestling where the victor is the one who conclusively defeats his opponent by twisting his joints, sealing his breath, or holding him down so that he can no longer move.
In the old days, all the referees of Okinawa sumō acted according to the unwritten rules, …In the days of old-style tegumi, referees scored each bout according to an unwritten standard.

I have shown that the term “tegumi” was introduced to the English-speaking karate world in 1998. Since then, the term “tegumi” has spread among karate people and among all factions worldwide and is used for all sorts of karate-related practices such as clinching, grappling, throwing, body conditioning, kata application, karate as an MMA, trapping, joint locks, chokes, seizings, impact techniques, and so on.
Patrick McCarthy was quite straightforward. He said that he assigned the defunct name of “tegumi” to a collection of two-person trapping, checking and conditioning drills he’s brought together from a variety of sources in the 1990s.
Subsequently, and in rising numbers in the 2020s, other karate people also adopted the term “tegumi,” yet without maintaining any reference to its origin. This raises an interesting question: why do guys need to use the term “tegumi” when all those practices of grappling and throwing and joint locking etc. were a traditional part of their karate?

Well, it probably just wasn’t. It is just, they don’t give a shit.

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“Tegumi” in Nagamine Shōshin’s second book

During the last twenty years, Tegumi has become a term used be an incresing number of persons for all kinds of karate-related practices. For this reason, I would like to point out the origin of the term “tegumi” in the English-speaking karate world.

Nagamine Sensei’s 1986 book is written in the Japanese language. The reason for writing the book was to provide biographies of Okinawan karate and sumo masters, based on historical facts and oral traditions. Actually, as I mentioned in an earlier article, Nagamine Sensei wrote this book due to his “relationship of particular friendship with Kushi Jokei,” an Okinawan sumō champion and lifelong friend of Nagamine’s. While Kushi Jokei collected research about the origin of Okinawa sumō, he passed a way to early. Therefore, Nagamine Sensei took up the responsibility and finalized Kushi’s will, organized his records on Okinawan sumō, and publish it in this book.

Among the Okinawa sumō research of Kushi Jokei is found a note about the origin of Okinawa sumō.

“This sumō was initially a kind of pastime grappling in which kicking with the foot and striking techniques with the fist were prohibited. It was similar to the current amateur wrestling and it was continued until the opponent was defeated. This kind of competition was called ‘tegumi’ in Naha, and ‘mūtou’ in the Tomari and Shuri regions. This pastime was continued until the Taishō era, when further inventions were added. This was the original form of Okinawa sumō, which has been created as an event that follows the premise of a peaceful and enjoyable pastime, and its internal rules have been created and handed down traditionally, and remain to this day, and this may be the origin of Okinawa sumō as seen from folk history.”

Nagamine 1986: 183 (Transl. A. Quast)

There are many interesting details in this description, but for now I would like to point out only one thing: In the whole 1986 book by Nagamine Sensei, the term “tegumi” appears only once, namely in the above quote.

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In 1998, the English translation of Nagamine Shōshin’s second book is published

In 1986, Nagamine Shōshin published his second book, “A biography of Okinawan karate and sumō masters based on historical facts and oral traditions.” A few years afterwards, plans for an English translation were being made by Tuttle Publishing and Patrick McCarthy, who is a famous researcher of karate, an inventor of practices related to it, and the director of the International Ryukyu Karatejutsu Research Society (IRKRS).

His works and translations have shaped the English-language karate world for decades, and he set and defined the direction in which karate developed outside of Okinawa Prefecture and Japan, including and especially in the area of applied or practical karate, i.e., the practical implementation of traditional practices. Moreover, he has created a vast text corpus of translations otherwise unavailable. Briefly, based on references to Japanese language karate literature and personal traditions, he has identified, described, and developed or even redeveloped karate and its related practices, and made these practices available to the members of his IRKRS and to the general karate community worldwide. Many of those practices and underlying theories were subsequently adopted by the international karate community and were in turn individually redefined, a process in which the reference to Okinawa karate was then often dismissed and considered unnecessary or even undesirable. Therefore, today there are numerous practices and terms that are common knowledge and in use among karate people of all factions, yet without the original reference to Okinawa karate or Patrick McCarthy. One such practice is that related to the term tegumi, and this is based in the translation of Nagamine Sensei’s 1986 book.

As regards the translation process, it started thirty years ago, during the mid-1990s. As Patrick McCarthy mentioned in a martial arts magazine in 1995,

“Last year, Tuttle Publications asked me to translate Shoshin Nagamine’s second book, ‘Okinawa no Karate Sumo Meijin Den’ … I have spoken to Nagamine Sensei about this now many times and as soon as the financial arrangmets can be agreed upon I will be getting under way with that project.”

Terry O’Neill’s Fighting Arts International, No. 88, 1995. page 39.

The following chronology can be derived from this and other facts:

  • 1994: Tuttle Publishing asks if McCarthy can translate the Nagamine book
  • 1994-95: Patrick McCarthy speaks several times with Nagamine Shōshin about the translation
  • 1995: Patrick McCarthy mentions the plans to translate Nagamine Shōshin’s book in an article in Terry O’Neill’s Fighting Arts International, No. 88, 1995, page 39.
  • 1997: Patrick McCarthy publishes a DVD on “Tegumi.”
  • 1998, Spring: Patrick McCarthy publishes the article “Tegumi. Part 1”in the magazine Bugeisha: Traditional Martial Artist. Spring 1998, Issue #5. Pp. 36-40.
  • 1998: Tuttle and Patrick McCarthy release the English translation of Nagamine Shōshin’s 1986 book. For the first time, detailed information about Okinawan karate and sumō masters reaches a large international audience.

Since that time, this book is one of the most important works about Okinawa karate, and Okinawa sumo.

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In 1986, Nagamine Shoshin published his second book

In 1986, Nagamine Shōshin published his second book. It dealt with written and oral traditions of Okinawan karate and sumō masters. The reason he wrote this book was that he felt responsible for completing the last will of his good friend, Kushi Jokei, who had passed away too young.

In Nagamine Sensei’s own words:

There was my classmate Kushi Jokei. In 1935 he won the sumō tournament of Namino no Ue Festival and became a grand champion (yokozuna). We felt that his ideal of sumō and my view of karate were very similar and we mutually found a kindred spirit in each other. After graduating from commercial school, we firmly promised to maintain our inseparable friendship and study together throughout our lifetime. And he always accompanied me to the traditional Okinawa sumō Festival at Nami no Ue on May 17th, and at Makishi Utaki on May 5th of the old moon calendar, and at the memorial service for the war dead at Ōnoyama Park on October 23rd, and to other sumō events to study the sumō techniques of other sumō wrestlers.

After the end of the war, he organized the Okinawa Sumo Federation (Okinawa Sumō Renmei) to purify the devastated Okinawan society through sports, and he was one of the first to join the Okinawa Sports Association (Okinawa Taiiku Kyōkai) and assisted Chairman Kinjō Masayuki in laying the foundations for today’s Okinawa sumō.

At the same time he was collecting materials to summarize the origins and traditions of Okinawa sumō, but unfortunately, without seeing its realization, he fell sick and passed away.

Although I am a person who places himself in karate-dō, I have a relationship of particular friendship with Kushi Jokei, and I felt the responsibility to follow his will, to organize his records, and to publish his idea all in one piece. Thus, I came to write this book. I would be grateful if it could get the consent of most of my dear friends.”

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General online occurence and year of the term “Tegumi”

Here I conducted a short query about the occurrence and year of the term tegumi on websites. There were about 60.700 results in 0,55 seconds. It will not show all occurrences but clearly the general trend. The results show that the term “tegumi” appeared on websites since around 2002. Afterwards it appears rarely until in the 2010s it increasingly occurs. In other words, the topic of tegumi has become more and more a focus of interest. You can also see that it is mostly teh same kind of people who publish about tegumi.

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