BodhidharmaThe Beginnings

Okinawa is the largest island of the Ryukyu chain of islands between Japan and China. The Okinawan people are known for their courtesy and politeness in a culture that dates back to at least 600 AD. And even though Okinawans are for their gentle behaviour, martial arts training arose under their fundamental need for self-preservation.  It is believed that Okinawan Martial Art history is as old as Okinawan culture itself.

The seeds of the development of Karate as a martial arts were sown in ancient China.  History places this around 483 AD in the famous Shaolin Temple, when an Indian Monk named Bodhidharma arrived in Shoalin-sito teach Chan (Zen) Buddhism . Bodhidharma's teachings later became the basis for the majority of Chinese martial arts as well the health and longevity exercises that were adopted by Chinese Buddhists.   In 1372, official relationships began between the emperor of China and the leaders of Okinawa, formerly known as the Ryukyu Islands. In 1392, thirty-six families were sent to Kume Village in Okinawa for a cultural exchange. They shared their way of life in China, and introduced a formal martial arts training called "To Te", which eventually was renamed Karate.

The Okinawa martial art of Te was practiced freely until subjugation by the Satsuma Clan of Japan in 1609. For the next 300 years, the practice of martial arts insatsuma_clan Okinawa was banned. As a result the Art of Te was only practiced in secret by the Samurai Class and passed down from father to son. Because of this ban, recorded history is very sketchy and in some cases non-existent. During the Satsuma rein the Okinawan Samurai were restricted from carrying weapons. It is here that the art of Kobudo was believed to have evolved using simple everyday implements such as the staff or Bo, or the sickle or Kama for protection.

Changing Times

history_masters1937In the late 17th and early 18th century, Karate took shape as the art of Te merged with Chinese self-defence. At the time there were 3 distinct styles, Naha-Te, Tomari-Te and Shuri-Te, each characteristic to the main cities of Okinawa. Gradually Te merged into 2 distinct groups, Shorin-Ryu, and Shorei-Ryu, which later became the Goju-Ryu style. When the Satsuma occupation ended in 1875, the ban on the practice of martial arts was lifted. Kobudo was taught as part of the "empty hand" programs with each Master promoting their weapons of choice. In 1904 the art of Te was introduced into the public school system and its popularity began to grow. In 1922 it was introduced to mainland Japan and officially adopted by the Nippon Butoku Kai in 1931. In 1935 a group of Okinawan Masters met and agreed to rename the art, Karate, which meant "empty hand self-defence art". At the end of World War II, the U.S. Administration banned the practice of Judo and Kendo in Japan. As a result the art of Karate became very popular.

Our Goal

309Today, Karate and Kobudo are practiced all over the world and many styles incorporating many different cultures and philosophies have evolved. Regardless of how Karate or Kobudo may be practiced elsewhere, it is the goal of Warrior Martial Arts to promote the practice of these ancient martial techniques with the courtesy and politeness so ingrained into the history of the Okinawa culture. At Warrior Martial Arts we use our martial arts training as means to develop a balanced lifestyle.