Motobu Udundi

Motobu Udundi is a closed art taught at Shin Dojo. For inquiries in beginning training in this wonderful discipline, please contact the dojo. Shin Dojo is no longer affiliated with the Honbu Dojo in Osaka, but is affiliated with the Gudokan Dojo in Okinawa.

Shihan Rivers has personally trained with Motobu Chosei, Motobu Udundi Soke and Inaba Shobu, Motobu Udundi Hanshi.

Mr. Rivers' current ranks and certifications come directly from the late Taira Ryushu, who received Motobu Udundi Kobujutsu Menkyo Kaiden directly from 12th Soke (Grandmaster) Uehara Seikichi. Takamiyagi Tetsuo currently leads Taira Shinshi's Dojo in Koza Okinawa and is 8th Dan in Motobu Udundi Kobujutsu as well as 9th Dan in Shorin Ryu Karate Do.

Udun is the Okinawan term (Okinawan and Japanese dialects differ slightly) for "Palace" referring to the royal court or members of the royal court of the old Okinawan Kingdom. It is also the title given to the upper aristocratic members of the Okinawan royal family. Di is the Okinawan pronounciation of TE in Japanese, meaning hand, but in Okinawa means "Martial Arts." So, Udundi means "Royal/ Palace Martial Arts or Budo of the Udun.

It is important to note that Motobu Udundi is a unique martial art, not the "most deadly martial art". Many people question its efficacy without knowing anything about the context of it.

Motobu Udundi is a Koryu (an old/ classical style founded before 1871), recognized by the Nihon Kobudo Kyokai, of which only documented koryu can receive membership. The only two Okinawan Budo recognized by the NKK are Motobu Udundi and the Goju Ryu, although many Okinawan ryu ha (styles) could certainly maintain memberships should they desire (some feel Okinawan arts do not need recognition by formal Japanese Associations).

It is called MOTOBU Udundi due to the arts first formalization of the art by the Motobu family. The Motobu patriarch was Motobu Chohei (1655-1687).

Motobu Udundi is transmitted in several phases. Proper footwork and basic striking techniques are first taught. This is a very "kihon intensive" process as the principles of Motobu Udundi are much different than its Karatedo cousin. The way a practitioner moves is based on postures such as tachuu gwaa and use concepts such as meutudi in its execution. Footwork is specific with its trademark "ball of foot" movement. Good kihon training builds a good understanding of nanba, irimi, and kerikumi.

Motobu Udundi kata are more a way to practice kihon (basics) than serving as a style's historical record as seen in Karatedo kata. Partner training is the most effective way of transmitting the art, but kata practice is a very useful tool as well. The kata include 5 empty hand Mutudi  kata as well as kata for all of the weaponry.

Weapons training involves the use of all contemporary tools as well as Chinese tools and some unique to Udundi. Most body movements are universal whether the practitioner is armed or unarmed, thus the importance of the kihon phase of training.
Weapons utilized include sword, bo, eku, tonfa, kama, nunchaku, and sai and have many unique applications.

Iaidori is the use of the sword against an attack with the initial response being the drawing of the sword from its scabbard. These techniques are done seated and standing. Udundi swordsmanship separates itself from Japanese swordsmanship in that the techniques are done left and right handed.
Shito Ryu Karate Do
Mugai Ryu Iaihyodo
Motobu Udundi Kobujutsu
Toraken Ryu/ Hakko Ryu Jujutsu
Uchida Ryu/ Tosei Ryu Tanjojutsu
Isshin Ryu Kusarigamajutsu
Back Row, Left to Right: Sensei Tom Wright, Sensei Tom McDermott, Sensei Rob Zingg, Sensei Luis Feliciano.
Front Row, Left to Right: Sensei Rivers, Soke Chosei Motobu, Hanshi Shobu Inaba, Sensei David Reid. These certificates are not party favors, as some now claim. We were honored by their presentation and humbled by their implications.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
Additionally, the sword is not carried in the belt and is carried in the hand "tachi-style" with the cutting edge of the sword pointing at the ground. The context of Udundi swordsmanship is completely different than most basic Japanese swordsmanship ideals as the only people in Okinawa that would be carrying swords were the palace guards or the aristocracy, although the aristocrat would have someone carrying his sword for him, making for unique scenarios.

Tuidi is a grappling type application unique to Udundi that is similar to some classical Jujutsu methods but entirely developed on the island of Okinawa in the unique context of the Okinawan aristocracy.

Udundi postures and movements are very similar to traditional Okinawan dance and practitioners practice "Mai" as most Okinawan cultural assets are pleasantly intertwined and have been for hundreds of years. A quote from Motobu Udundi 11th Headmaster, Motobu Chosei Aji (Lord) says it all about the dancing traditions of Udundi:

"Aji kata no mei kata... "

"Do not look upon the dancing of the aji as just dance. Upon their waza are profound waza" (this is the formal translation from the headquarter's web-site)

Click here to see a picture of the scroll where it is written

"Hamachidori" is a popular dance performed by Motobu Udundi practitioners.

Twelve years after beginning his journey in Motobu Udundi, Sensei Rivers is still fascinated with the art.