Okinawa is the birthplace of Karate-Do (空手道) empty hand way.
This martial art was based on Ryukyu fighting techniques basis.
Training session in Shuri Castle (1938)
Originally Karate was not meaning Empty Hand but Chinese Hand (唐手道).
Indeed Okinawa Island had lot cultural exchange with China.
Due to the conflict betwen China and Japan, G.Funakoshi decided to change the Kanji 唐 by 空 to support the growth of his art in Japan.
In Okinawa there were two main schools of Karate :
The ‘hand of Naha’ or Naha-Te (那覇手) was mainly based on tiger, dragon and crane chinese techniques (Pangai-Noon). The Naha-Te had too an important chinese medecine component.
Naha-Te will give birth to two modern styles : the Uechi-Ryu (上地流) and the Goju-Ryu (剛柔流).
The ‘hand of Shuri’ ou Shuri-Te (那覇手) was the second way of teaching in Okinawa. It is based on Northerne chinese Kempo (Shaolin Kempo). Shuri-Te practice was mainly done by Okinawan Nobles.
Shuri-Te is the predecesor of thre major modern styles : Shorin-Ryu (少林流), Shotokan (松濤館) and Wado-Ryu (和道流).
Gichin Funakoshi (modern karate father) started the Shuri-Te when he was fifteen.
Nowaday, traditional Karate-Do practice is very popular in Okinawa and has been recently added in okinawan college path.
Many foreigners travel to Okinawa to train in their historical style Dojo .
Kenyukai Dojo (Uechi-Ryu)