Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Okinawan Sumo (Shima)

Okinawan Karate developed alongside Shima, Okinawa’s own grappling tradition. This has been described in Nagamine Shoshin’s “Tales of Okinawa’s Great Masters”. No doubt this influenced karate’s development to some extent.

Shima competitions are a favorite Okinawan festival pastime to this day. This video allows us to observe what this tradition offers.

Then I found this posted by  Jim Prouty on Bill Glasheen”s site at 

Many folks treat the nukite as strikes to the body. Yet, if we accept the premise that Goju means "hard/gentle' or is a study of opposites, many folks dismiss the pulling action of the arms as being important. In this case, the hands close as in a grasping movement, the next action is that both hands turn in a pulling action; it is this movement that I suggest to my students is a skin grab of your opponents side. Which is extremely painful. Here is an old photo of Miyagi Sensei performing an omote or gyaku bunkai to Miyazato's attack. (This application is found in several Goju kata):

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

George, did you see this? It is why I want to jump up and down and scream when the vast majority of Uechika speed through those 3 thrust-and-squeeze motions before the three circle blocks. No dynamic tension in the squeeze is like doing the thrust-lift-turn motion in Seisan with lightning speed. It just doesn't make physical sense. It is in fact NONsense.

- Bill Glasheen


Charles James said...

Shima or Okinawan Sumo, the word or term in Japanese means "island; territory (of a prostitute, organized crime gang, etc.); turf." Depending on the character/ideogram it also means, "stripe; bar; streak; the four kinds of demons that make trouble for sentient beings; demon of death." It may be that this term is actually a hogen or Okinawan uchiganuchi term, dialect of old Okinawa.

I would be interested to see the characters/ideograms used to represent or symbolize this term for Okinawan sumo.

Charles James said...

More on shima or uchinaa-jima:

Noah said...

Shima, and its roots in tegumi, interests me a great deal! I completely agree that there are many grappling concepts included in karate, and they probably came over from tegumi/shima. We know from stories written by karate masters from the early 1900's that most Okinawans, let alone most karateka, frequently practiced tegumi. For something so popular to not find its way into karate would be shocking.

My favorite example is actually in the kata Kusanku, when you bring the hands together, lift the knee, turn and drop. It is a textbook example of a knee-lift throw that I have seen used several times in video of Shima competitions. To make it even more interesting, it is a type of throw that I have not seen in other grappling arts :)