View Full Version : Sokaku in Okinawa / Motobu-ryu

27th January 2003, 02:18
Erin O'Neill is asking in the Ryukyuan Forum about Takeda Sokaku's trip to Okinawa?


Did he go there, and if so, when, and why, and to whom, and to teach or to learn, and boy would that answer some questions I got-if it really happened.

Course, it might open up more than it answered,but that, too, would be fine.

Respects ,

R Erman
27th January 2003, 04:06
I've heard rumors and claims that Motobu ryu is influenced by Daito Ryu. Perhaps this is what Erin is after?

Nathan Scott
27th January 2003, 21:09
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27th January 2003, 22:13
Well, I am not sure what it would be, I never knew that he had gone to Okinawa prefecture at all.But since he did, perhaps to research methods there,I would think maybe either he might have influenced the arts there, if he had already been doing Daito Ryu, as said above, such that Motobu Ryu Ti might thus have been influenced, or that he may have been influenced by it.Depending.

I do know this much: The Okinawan Ti sword usage is two use two swords.And in some empty hand stuff, in fact, their techniques of locking and some striking are based on this two sword usage.

This sounds somewhat familiar.I don't know if its just coincidence, or what, but had no idea that he had even been there.

Now, in some Okinawa styles of karate, such as the Shorin ryu, one of the older systems there, founded by a man who had a menkyo kaiden in Jigen Ryu martial arts from I believe Kyushu, Named Matsumura,in some of the kata, are techniques unmistakeably identical to some in for instance, Yoshinkan Aikido.

In one kata of this style, called Gojushiho in Japanese, Ueseishi in Okinawan and supposed to be the repository of the Okinawan art of the Palace Hand, Udundi, Okinawan for Gotente,there are two unistakeable Sokumen Irimi Nage, and also appear to be the hand motions and body dynamics of aiki age and aiki sage.Among other things.So, I do have to believe there was a connection betwen Okinawan arts, and Japanese koryu, from there at least.True, the Chinese arts also influenced, but I had not prior to this known of any direct connection between the Founder of Daito Ryu as we have come to hear of it, and the Okinawan arts.

Maybe there is none or only slight. or maybe it went farther than that.

The art of Motobu Ryu Ti, on which I have some articles by Seikichi Uehara, last living master of it,appears to have some similarities in it to Japanese koryu, and then there are some differences as well.I think, it has levels as does Daito Ryu, but they are probably different levels and different things, though the basic level in Ti is atemi, and then what one might call kobujutsu, then what is called tuite, or jiujitsu, based on the sword methods.There are other levels as well, but I am no expert on any of that. I do Okinawan Shorin Ryu Karate, have done Kempo of Okinawa, and some other stuff, as well as Judo and Taiji, and a tad bit of Yoshinkan Aikido.

I could not help but notice therefore, the presence of certain very familiar movements in some of the older Okinawan kata, that sure remind me of Yoshinkan, except the stances are more like, well, it seems , like Daito ryu, using a horse riding position.I jear Yoshinkan has some influence from Daito Ryu, for sure.Whether karate as well does, or its forerunner, Uchina Ti or Di, I dreally don't know.If anyone does, I would sure like to hear from them.

That is a strange thing, Okinawan karate sometimes seems to be one thing, then you find out, its another thing too.Been doing it thirty years now, and its true, I know more about the actual origins of many another art than I or most people I know, do about our own.

They say, that Okinawan grappling or tegumi, called Okinawan sumo, is somehow also connected here.

Seems that long ago, there was this Japanese warrior King named Tametomo, conquered Okinawa, he was a great wrestling champion and introduced the version they had, back then.

Then supposedly, the Jigen Ryu was introduced by the Satsuma Samurai, and this was where the Palace Hand was supposed to come from, with Okinawan sword work's origin a mix of this and indigenous methods.

Maybe we'll never know the whole thing.I sure don't.Just funny how some supposedly Chinese origin kata got some obvious Japanese Aiki waza in them.Irimi nage, shiho nage, okay, could have come from jigen ryu jiujitsu, we don't know.Did the Chinese know that stuff?They have their own version, uprooting and so forth, but even the judo kuzushi is different than that,let alone various types aiki.Appreciate all information such as has been posted here, however.

Regards and respects to all,

2nd February 2003, 00:45
On the thread on Sokaku in Okinawa on the Ryukyuan Forum, Patrick McCarthy said, he didn't know about this either, but his eighty-five year old Okinawan teacher, is a historian, so he would ask him and get back to us about this.I will let you know if anything turns up, or you can check there yourselves. Either way, this is a topic for some research, as who knows, what we might discover.Apparently, Ueshiba also went to Okinawa, Mr. McCarthy says, and this I didn't know about either though it is less surprising, as Ueshiba Sensei was also known for going a bit farther abroad normally.After all, he wound up in Manchuria once.:-)

Anyway, whatever we can discover here, will be of interest to many I am certain.Little bit of history.

2nd February 2003, 05:10
Okay.Patrick McCarthy called his teacher, Kinjo Sensei, in Japan, and asked about this, and according to Kinjo Sensei , neither Takeda Sokaku nor Ueshiba Sensei ever visited Okinawa. He said that if there had been such famous Japanese budoka there, it would have been a major event. He said that Kano Jigoro's Visit, and Sudo Sensei, of Judo, were the bigest names ever to visit there from Japan proper.

So, if there are records to the contrary, we need to find them and see what happened or didn't, if possible.

Thank you,
many regards,

2nd February 2003, 05:14
Also, Kinjo Sensei apparently said, and this is also interesting, that Seikichi Uehara, of Motobu Ryu Ti on Okinawa, has a shihan menkyo in Hakko Ryu Jiujitsu, and this apparently influenced the development of his style.

Having trained alongside some Hakkoryu practitioners time to time, in various military dojo, I do have to say that the locks portrayed photographically by Uehara Sensei, do appear identical to some basic Hakko Ryu waza. I was sure this was because they were basic versions of Ti, but the similarity was,well, identical.

So, that's all I got for now.

Regards and respects,

Nathan Scott
3rd February 2003, 22:03
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Brently Keen
4th February 2003, 00:51
Thanks Nathan,

I hadn't had time to yet look up these references myself - but you mentioned the same ones I was thinking of and had not yet posted.

Uehara's Motobu-ryu Udon de does have some similarities - especially at first glance to DR. Notably it's timing, and weapon techniques are similar. A Hakko-ryu connection explains a lot, if it's true that Uehara had a shihan menkyo of some sort. I wonder who his teacher was and if that can be verified. I had once before heard that there was a Hakko-ryu connection, but that was not from any Hakko-ryu source - and in my experience they are typically quick to point out famous people in particular who have trained in Hakko-ryu. Among some of the other more famous names I've heard who studied Hakko-ryu were Soshin Do (Shorinji Kempo) and Bruce Lee (JKD).

I've yet to hear of any "famous" Okinawan karate or Ryukyu kempo personalities who actually encountered Sokaku though. You're quite right that Sokaku was still quite young at that time and not yet known or "famous" by any stretch. It sure would be great to learn more about this time in Sokaku's life - what acrobatic troupe did he travel with - could anything be found out that troupe who else was in it?

News clippings perhaps reporting on their performances, or maybe even incidents in which Sokaku was involved, or possibly even diaries of other troupe members now hidden in some descendents storage of old belongings? Could they be buried somewhere waiting to be dug up?

I have two relatives that recently did extensive family tree research into my own family history, and they were able to dig up all kinds of interesting stories and things that the rest of the family including my own grandparents and great grandparents knew little or nothing about. It was discovered for example that one of my relatives on my grandmothers side was among the group that crossed the river with George Washington on the cold winter night of Dec 25, 1776. At 4am in the moring the Continental troops led by Washington marched from Johnson's Ferry where they landed, to Trenton where they surpised and defeated the Hessian troops there in a pivotal battle during the American Revolution.

Brently Keen

Joseph Svinth
4th February 2003, 01:05
I believe that some of my Pennsylvania Dutch relatives were among the Hessians on the other side of the creek...

Brently Keen
4th February 2003, 01:09
Sorry Joe,

Hopefully they were among the survivors. No hard feelings I hope - it's been a good number of years since then.

Brently Keen

Nathan Scott
5th February 2003, 01:25
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Joseph Svinth
5th February 2003, 02:04
The Hessian relatives did survive the war; they settled in Pennsylvania afterwards. Thus, Federals during the War of Southern Secession...

There was a Mikado's Troupe touring the North American vaudeville circuit during the early 1900s. It contained at least a dozen men and a couple of women. Unfortunately, vaudeville and circus history is not well documented. As with the related professional wrestling history, the information exists, it's just that nobody has done the work to put it together.

6th February 2003, 02:39
This is really getting interesting. You might want to check Patrick McCarthy's statements regarding this on the Ryukyuan Unamred arts Forum, he has two sources, one citing Kondo Sensei, as saying that Takeda never went to Ryukyu.

However, you have three, which I just read, saying he did, and in 1877, which makes it possible after all.See, we have darn little Okinawan Karate history, going back that far.

Iwould say, we don't even know what karate looked like back then, but that, probably, it wasn't even called karate, but ti, Kempo, or something else even.However, that is a quibble. I don't klnow that Shorin Ryu even existed as such then, the Naha kata however, did, or four of them anyway.

Brently, the connection between Daito Ryu and Ti is interesting, the Hakko Ryu could explain that, and I just got some information that may well be straight up, that the first series of Ti waza, is identical to that taught at the Shaolin temle, today, as introductory chin na.

Yes, now, I am truly geting confused.:DHowever, the information coming to light, notwithstanding some of it is conflicting, may yet get us somewhere.

Now, I do some Chin Na, with a student of Yang, Jwing-Ming, and it is not identical with the tuite I learned , from Okinawan Kenpo/Ryukyu Kempo, its more circular.this however, measn it is more like the basic jiujitsu movements of some Japanese arts.Supposedly, there was some sword movements at the basis of the latter.Which would make sense.

Anyhow, lets keep this up, maybe as more comes to light, we all learn more and get clser to whatever the reality of this all is.

Respects and regards,

8th February 2003, 01:22
Okay-latest information, this time from unimpeachable sources, the individual who did this being one.

A high ranking American Sensei in Seidokan Shorinryu is the person who gave the Hakko Ryu nomenclature to the first series of toide(torite) waza taught in Seidokan, from the Motobu Ryu Ti. They do not have these designations in the original art of Seikichi Uehara.

I was contacted by a friend who is helping in this matter, who knows this individual and forwarded his actual statements about this, to me.

The individual said, that his jiujitsu( Hakko Ryu, apparently,) background is where he got the idea to systematize the name and the order of the techniques as taught, now all over the world, in Seidokan.

His teacher, Shian Toma, did not name these thus, and he is the heir apparent of Seikichi Uehara, but did say, 'that Ti and Jiujitsu are same-same.'

I had, for my part, originally noted the identity of the names of the series of waza with jiujitsu, when investigating some Danzan Ryu and Seidokan websites of whose authenticity, as I knew the names of the people, there was no doubt.

As to the Hakko Ryu Menkyo or lack thereof said to be possessed by Uehara Seikichi, I have nothing either for or against this to verify or disprove, as yet, from any source close to him.Except that the photographs of some of the basic waza shown by him, do appear idnetical to some Hakkko Ryu waza- but this is not surprising cxonsidering that jointlocks worldwide, if based off sword movements, are going to be pretty closely linked.

If anyone has anything else, would appreciate it.

This has been interesting, we can do things about research with the internet, that could not have been done hitherto without great time and expense and maybe, not even then.

I have enjoyed it, thanks to you all.


Nathan Scott
8th February 2003, 05:30
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10th February 2003, 07:19
Well, he don't know me, but we got mutual Aikido type acquaintances, mebbe I can see what he knows about this. Also, latest thing, I just got permission to post full details about the Hakko Ryu terminology in Seidokan's teaching of Motobu Ryu Toide.From the person who implemented the terminology in Seidokan.

This is Roy Hobbs Sensei(U.S.A.) of Seidokan, whose terminonlgy for the toide series is used in dojo in Erope, Okinawa and America, at least.

He had Hakko Ryu background, as well as karate, and felt that the lack of fomrmal terminology or fixed order of instruction, could be improved by using the Jiujitsu model which he feels is a superior teaching methodology. He points out that neither Shian Toma Sensei nor Seikichi Uehara used or uses these names for the waza taught, but the waza are the same ones. He also pointed out that Shian Toma Sensei, heior apparent to Motobu Ryu, says that Motobu Ryu Udnundi and Jiujitsu are 'same-same.'

So, lemme see if I can find out from Stan anything more on this one, if anyone else wants to do so, please also feel free, and if anyone else knows anything about this menkyo in Hakko ryu that Uehara is supposed to possess, that too, would adsd to the fund of information now being collected.

Feels like we are getting somewhere, at least.Good feeling.

Regards and respects,,

13th February 2003, 01:25
I have posted request for information/clarification from Stanley Pranin on the AJ Aikijujitsu in Okinawa thred. As yet, no answer, but perhaps the information is being pursued, these things can take time.

Meanwhile, Hakko ryu exponent who wishes to remain nameless, has done me the favor of looking over the photos of Uehara Seikichi on the net, and says that the wristlock shown is one common to jujutsu, can not be either identified or categorically rejected as Hakko Ryu, in other words, and lacking other photos, can not determine as yet, if connection exists there, or not.Or if so, what natrue of that connection would be.

Thus, connection if any, betwen Daito Ryu, which founder of Hakko Ryu I believe had studied, and Mottobu Ryu of Okinawa, also can't yet be determined.But even the lack of certain knowledge here, is a form of knowledge.Still feel we are moving forward with this investigation, albeit slowly, and wonder what Stanley Pranin may yet come up with. Told him, if he didn't want to publicly state on that forum, could contact Nathan Scott.

Don't know what may yet come out about any of this.Interesting, though.

Regards and respects to all,

Nathan Scott
14th February 2003, 06:57
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17th February 2003, 05:41
Well, that having been discovered and the statement from Stan being given, I must concur with that assessment.Dead end it is.

But I thank one and all for the effort, including Stan and yourself, for coming up with all that can be come up with,from the Aiki side.As for the Okinawan side, they too, have no records of such, as far as can be discovered, at least by me and several researchers better able than myself to acquire information.

Short of something coming up, conclusively one way or another , in future, I guess, that's it for now.But, at least we do know, that we don't know, and that is something, anyway.The knowledge that we lack positive knowledge is itself, knowledge.
Again, thanks to all

Regards and respects,

25th May 2007, 10:30
Bare with me please as im running off memory here..

i recall somewhere that Takeda Sokaku went to Okinawa? (any info please?)

I'm wondering if there is any Takeda Sokak and/or Daito-Ryu connection to Motobu-ryu .. when i say motobu-ryu i mean the art taught by Uehara Seikichi, which maybe a different name?

from memory i think i saw some motobu-ryu and had some AikiJujutsu Flavour and Chinese Flavour/Weapons

about to google and ebudo-search.. but thoght get someone may know:

Okinawa - Takeda Sokaku/Daito Ryu?

Motobu-Ryu - Takeda Sokaku/Daito-Ryu?

Motobu-Ryu - Foundations/Origins?? (im sure i can find this in this forums?)


i recall "goten te" so maybe that instead of motobu-ryu ... i don't mean Choki Motobu's Karate Art.


25th May 2007, 14:47
i recall somewhere that Takeda Sokaku went to Okinawa? (any info please?)I think this book remarks on that. Sorry, I don't know about the other.

Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu: Conversations with Daito-ryu Masters ($25.95)

Edited by Stanley A. Pranin
Aiki News (1996)
ISBN 4-900586-18-8
7 x 10, 224 pages


Brently Keen
26th May 2007, 02:21
I think many people have speculated about a Motobu-ryu Udon te link with Daito-ryu because there appears to be some similarities. Particularly in the way that Seikichi Uehara performed his art. His timing and entering look to be very similar to more advanced DR and aikido, but there's no aiki from what I can tell - he did have some nice jujutsu though. As far I know there is no link to Daito-ryu at all. However, I heard that there is a Hakko-ryu Jujutsu connection - I'm not sure if that's true or not, but it's certainly possible though.


26th May 2007, 12:50
I hope the below will be of some use:
Uehara Sensei denied having any connection to either Aikido or Hakko Ryu which have their basis in Daito Ryu. In 2004 Joe Swift interviewed Matsuo Kanenori Sakon one of Uehara's students and specifically asked:

What do you know of the alleged influences of Hakko Ryu Ju Jutsu and Aikido on the development of the Motobu Ryu system of Uehara Sensei?
The reply was 'Uehara Sensei denied such allegations. Historically speaking Udundi is much older than Hakko Ryu or Aikido and is totally unrelated ' (My emphasis). If the lineage of Motobu Udun Ti is accepted, this would make it much older than Daito Ryu which is a comparatively modern invention of Sokaku Takeda.

However on this subject of Daito Ryu and Jakko Ryu and Motobu Udun Ti see this thread:

However be aware that Shian Toma was not heir apparent to Seikichi Uehara, he was a senior student under him holding a Shihan grade.