An overall martial art originally based on Chinese kenpo and Chinese weaponry, Ryuei-ryu relates to the art mastered by Nakaima Kenri Chikudun-pechin of Kume Village, located in present Naha, who became a disciple and then an uchi-deshi (apprentice living in the home of his master) of Ryu Ryu Ko*. Later it was passed down within the Nakaima Family.

Nakaima Kenri traveled to Fujian China at the age of 19 and devoted all his time to the study of Chinese Kempo. As recognition to his hard training and strong discipline, it is said that he received at the age of 25 a certificate of proficiency and was handed various secret manuscripts among which the Bubishi.

Until today, Ryuei-ryu was inherited according to the following lineage. Founder and first Grandmaster: Ryu Ryu Ko, second grandmaster: Nakaima Kenri, third grandmaster: Nakaima Kenchu, fourth grandmaster: Nakaima Kenko and fifth grandmaster: Nakaima Kenji. While it was an art taught in secret and unknown to the public, the fourth heir Nakaima Kenko decided at the age of 60 to open the doors of the style which led to the popularization of the school. From a closed-door system, Ryuei-ryu developed into a renowned style with many excellent inheritors, among which Sakumoto Tsuguo, former world champion and presently Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts Director.

Traditionally, the Ryuei-ryu curriculum comprises kenpo (empty hand system, the equivalent of today’s karate), heiho (weaponry system, Chinese style of kobudo), regimen methods, ninjutsu-like movements and more. Dan-no-mono (equivalent to today’s kata) are separated in kenpo and weaponary.

Kenpo repertory

Sanchin, Seisan, Niseishi, Sanseiru, Seyunchin, Ohan, Pachu, Anan, Paiku, Heiku, Paiho

Heiho repertory (Weaponry)

Sai (trident), Kama (sickle), Timbe (shield), Kon (staff), Bisento (long sword), Yari (spear), Suruchin (chain and weight), Nunchaku, Renquan, Gekiguan, Taofa, Dajo, Tankon and Gusan.


* Different from Goju-ryu Ru Ru Ko

Sources: Okinawa Karate Standard Text (Written by Tsuha Kiyoshi as per request from the NPO Okinawa Karatedo Kobudo Support Center)