Udundi and Bullshido

The word “udundi” means “palace hand,” and is used to refer to the martial arts of Okinawan nobility. Today, these arts are really only seen in Seikichi Uehara Sensei’s Motobu-Ryu Udundi, which you can see demonstrated in the video, above. As you can see, the techniques are very light and dance-like, relying heavily on Aikido-esque redirection and joint locks. Indeed, the famous Bushi Matsumura criticized udundi for this unrealistic, dance-like approach! Much like you see with Aikido, Udundi has a strong “overly compliant uke” component to it, which causes many more practically-minded martial artists to look on it with disdain.

Personally, I believe that it is important to remember that karate is a puzzle whose pieces have been scattered over time. Udundi, despite it’s overly compliant nature and dance-like approach, has similar origins to karate, so it can be a useful resource. The trick is separating the wheat from the chaff, as it were, and figuring out which techniques can be made to work under pressure against a resisting opponent. The second video, above, is one that was shared with me through Facebook, and I have uploaded it here because Blogger makes it impossible to find YouTube videos that are in English, much less ones that are in Japanese. In it, you can see a mixture of both impractical techniques and very practical techniques. Some of the techniques just work, and that’s great! Some of the techniques work, but are shown in improper context. Others work, but not the way they are shown. Others simply don’t work, or are the beginnings of techniques that are never finished in the demonstrations. Sorting these things out is all part of putting the puzzle back together.

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About Noah

I began training in karate (Shuri-Ryu) in the Summer of 2006. Subsequently, I started training in judo, kobudo, and iaijutsu within the next 6 months. During my training there, I earned the rank of Sankyu (3rd Degree Brown Belt) in Shuri-Ryu, Gokyu (Green Belt) in judo, a certification in the use of the bo, and passed proficiency tests for the four tachigata of Shinkage-Ryu iaijutsu. I moved to Arizona in the Summer of 2008, and continued training and researching karate at home. I continued regular training in judo at a local club until 2010, when I was able to start training in Shorin-Ryu with Sensei Richard Poage. I have been training with him ever since, and currently hold the rank of Shodan (1st Degree Black Belt) in Shorin-Ryu under him. In addition, I began studying KishimotoDi under Sensei Ulf Karlsson in 2014.