The Okinawan Influence

The Okinawans had always termed the Martial Arts as "Te" which literally means hand. During this period (1609-1903) "Karate" meaning "hands of China" replaced the word "Te" (during the latter part of the 19th century) until the Chinese character which denoted "hands of China" or "China Hand" (the latter being more correct) was changed by the Japanese to their character which meant "empty hand". This change (officially dated to 1923) angered many of the Okinawan masters who were proud of the term designating their fighting style, they did not wish to change to the new character.

However, there was great pressure by the Japanese and the masters very reluctantly accepted the new character change. The change was spearheaded by a student of Chogun Miyagi named Nagashi Hanage of the Goju-ryu style of karate. It was actually Chogun Miyagi himself who desired to make the change and compelled his disciple Nagashi Hanage to pursue the change with great vigour.

This change gave a much greater meaning to the art in that the spiritual over came the physical application of technique.

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