Shuri Castle.JPG

Udundi- Martial Arts of the Ryukyu Kingdom

Shuri Castle, Okinawa, has burned to the ground three times.

What is Udundi and why haven't I heard of it?

Udundi is a rarely seen martial art created on Okinawa 500 years ago. It is practiced in only a handful of dojos on Okinawa and another handful scattered around the world. We will attempt to answer some of the questions you may have.

Palace Hand  Q&A

What do you mean that Udundi is designed to handle multiple attacker situations?

Udundi was designed for the ancient battlefield. During a clash there was chaos, people coming from every direction, and everyone had a weapon; knives, spears, swords staffs, etc... Also people were armored and some had shields, making punches and kicks mostly useless.

Ones movements had to be absolutely efficient, accomplishing the greatest effect with the least amount of effort. After all, you couldn't afford to exhaust yourself if you had to continue fighting. You also couldn't afford to get tied up with one adversary since there were others ready to exploit your situation.

The solution


Movements in udundi do not rely on physical strength. Instead we learn to exploit the attackers force and to use momentum, gravity and other forces while using little of our own energy.


We utilize a concept called Meotudi (husband and wife hands) with both hands working together rather than one using hand and then the other. Our footwork and body movements are designed to provide power and to enhance the effectiveness of this concept.

Udundi does not use karate-type blocks. There are several advantages to this. 

1. Blocking is innefecient. If you are defending yourself your enemy has the initiative. In Udundi defense and offense are simultaneous. We learn to instantly counterattack without first performing a movement that is strictly defensive.

2. Wether we use a sword, staff or some other type of weapon, we do not strike our opponents weapon with our own weapon. This is to avoid breakage on the battlefield where a weapon may need to out last your enemies attack. If we have no conventional weapon then our hands and feet become our weapons. By not blocking our opponents attacks with our hands and arms we reduce the rest of damage to our hands and arms. 

3. We use irimi, unique ways of entering the attack while avoiding being struck and, at the same time, counter attacking the enemy.