Martial Arts and Physical Fitness

 Karate is life, life is Karate

So your thinking, This guy is going to get all Miagi on me”, No but Miagi was an Okinawan. Lets start with a little history of Okinawan Karate. There are three main types of Okinawan Karate.

  1. Shuri-te
  2. Tomari-te
  3. Naha-te

I will be focusing on Naha-te. Naha-te is the style of Karate found in the Naha Prefecture surrounding the city of Naha. there are several styles prevalent in this area,

Geneology of Naha-te Karate
Genealogy of Naha-te Karate

These styles share a common ancestor that can be traced back to Southern China. Being heavily influenced by Kung Fu they are nothing like Japanese Karate and in fact are considered extreme styles by most Japanese because of the extreme body conditioning that is required to be effective in these styles.

I myself practice a style called Uechi Ryu, also known as Pang Gai Noon or Shorin Ryu. This style is traced back to Fujian Provence in China and has roots based in Dragon, Tiger, and Crane style of Kung Fu.

If you would like to make Martial Arts a part of your health regimen like I have , You will see the benefits of  this type of exercise almost immediately. Be Careful when choosing which style you are interested in, Everyone will tell you their style is the best, and you should sign up for six months (prepaid) to take full advantage of the Dojo. “Don’t Do It” take your time, research the styles,as a friend of mine once said ,

It’s not the style that’s important it’s the teacher.

He should know he is a tenth degree black belt and holds belts in three other styles.

Look at the teacher, See if they still work out actively, Do they teach the class or do they allow lower belts to run the classes? and cost is important. Some of the best teachers teach at local community centers for about $35 a month. Some of them are considered masters in their styles and do it to teach what they love and not for the money.

The reason I chose Okinawan Karate over another style,(and trust me I visited probably 12 Dojos and as many styles in the year prior) is because of the Okinawan connection. In longevity studies done by the World Health Organization, Okinawa stands out as the population that has the best longevity and overall health.

According to the Okinawa Centenarian Study there are several factors to this longevity, Diet, Physical Fitness, and Genetics. there are other contributing factors but these were sited as the main three. Martial Arts are a big part of Okinawa and one of the main reasons for their health at such advanced ages.


Shuri castle training martial arts students.

Soba Noodles are one of the mainstays of the Okinawan diet.


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