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.