Discovering Karate’s Roots – Okinawan Shuri-te Karate

1004 Highpoint Way, Roanoke, Texas 76262, United States
Posted on December 3, 2020 / 254
Listing Type : Community Spotlights
Website : Visit Website
Phone : 817-999-4901
Address : 1004 Highpoint Way
City : Roanoke
State : TX
Zip : 76262

Bill Mueller, now residing in Roanoke, Texas is an 8th Dan (8th degree black belt) and student of Nakamura, Ankichi (10th Dan, the highest rank you can earn in Karate!) is a committed Christian and teaches the art he has trained for close to 50 years with emphasis on personal development, integrity, and true self-defense!

Mr. Mueller began his training in the Martial Arts at age 10, training Judo under the direction of Mr. Richard Hoffman in St. Paul, Minnesota for several years. Although he had a great love and respect for the art of judo, he never gained the overall confidence in self-defense he was seeking.  He was well aware that in order to use his judo he must be able to grab his opponent. and realized that getting inside to grab a skilled boxer or karate-ka might be extremely difficult.  Judo also reflexively teaches you to go to the ground with your opponents and is the last place you want to be if confronted by multiple attackers.

Mr. Mueller decided to take karate under the direction of Mr. Robert Billington, however at that time Mr. Billington did not accept students under the age of 16. Ultimately he began his study of Okinawan  Shuri-te at the age of 17. 

In September of 1974, approximately 3 months after graduating high school Mr. Mueller showed up on the door step of  Nakamura, Ankichi in Okinawa. Mr. Mueller has been training under Nakamura sensei and his current successor Isa, Yoshito’s direction ever since. Nakamura sensei is currently 95 years old and in remarkable health. At that time Mr. Mueller didn’t know a sole in Okinawa and had no knowledge of the Japanese Language. 

 Although Mr. Nakamura was able to communicate basics through his limited English (primarily nouns and verbs) Mr. Mueller was extremely impressed by his knowledge and knew that he must become fluent in Japanese in order to tap into his wealth of knowledge. Upon returning to America, Mr. Mueller completed four years of college credits in Japanese Language in two years.  He attended the University of Minnesota during Fall and Winter semesters while spending Summer Semesters at Middlebury College in Vermont.  Mr. Mueller began communicating with Nakamura sensei by hand written letters in Japanese which was a quite an honor for Nakamura knowing that someone had taken the time to study Japanese to become more proficient in his art.  In 1977  Nakamura made his first of many trips to America.  For  Mr. Mueller to now communicate with Mr. Nakamura in his native tongue was one of the highlights of his martial arts experiences. . 

In 1978 Mr. Mueller returned to Okinawa for a year with his new wife. During this time he was able to train many hours a day, translate documents pertaining to his style and famous Shuri-te instructors.  He also had the opportunity to meet and interview esteemed karate instructors as well as being able to see many of Okinawa’s top instructors perform their kata at demonstrations and tournaments. 

One of his greatest thrills, decades later  was to take part in an “embukai” (demononstration) honoring Sensei Nakama’s (Nakamura’s Instructor) 80th birthday.

From Mr. Mueller’s perspective most of the great Okinawan Instructors do not cater to the American Servicemen.  On the contrary they must be sought out. Without knowledge of the Japanese language it is almost impossible for Okinawan Instructors to impart Theory and Advanced Waza.  This is precisely why many American students are limited in their knowledge to kata-dori (basic techniques which could possibly interpreted by an intermediate student, as opposed to kakushita waza which is technique hidden in kata as a means of handing technique down from generation to generation). Some of these techniques could  possibly be stumbled upon but can rarely be deciphered from kata without knowledge being imparted from an instructor.

After the death of Mr. Nakamura’s Sensei Nakama, Choso; Nakamura Sensei felt it was the proper time to break off from the branches of Shorin-Ryu and go back to simply calling his art Shuri-te and opened the Okinawan Shuri-te Karate Association.  He did this in order to protect the traditions and the technique originally taught to by Nakama Sensei prior to WWII.  Karate became very popular after the rebuilding of Okinawa after World War II.  At this time some Karate Instructors traded tradition and martial value for an exercise system that could be taught to the masses which slowly became more sports oriented.

What is Okinawan Shuri-te? (Karate)

Simply stated, Okinawa is the birth place of Karate and Shuri is the Capital of Okinawa.  Shuri is where the Okinawan King and Suri Castle were located. (Te) simply means hands. Literally speaking, Shuri-te means the “Hands of Shuri”.

Karate is a Japanese word meaning (empty hand) given to an Okinawan art of self-defense, which was primarily taught amongst the Samurai class.  Okinawan Samurai, unlike the Samurai of Japan, carried no sword. These weaponless warriors developed their art to an extremely high degree. This martial art, now known as karate, is what the Samurai in Okinawa used to defend themselves, as well as their King.  The Samurai because they were charged with protecting their country and king, they trained with life and death intensity.

Traditional karate waza (techniques) have been systematically handed down from generation to generation primarily through empty-handed forms known as kata. The study of kata, additionally requires the student develop and coordinate seemingly unimportant muscles which are rarely used except by a proficient martial artist. 

Many instructors from Okinawa spent decades perfecting their art in China. Conversely because commerce with Okinawa was dependent on the trade-winds many Chinese Martial Artists spent months at a time on Okinawa. It is the combination of Okinawans own art of self-defense and the strong influence of the Chinese arts that became known as Karate in Japanese.  Okinawan’s had there own language where it was simply called ti or di; so Shuri-te was known as Tsui-di prior to the Japanese occupation.  

Some of the benefits practitioners of modern karate train receive encompasses:

  • Self-Defense – Protection of loved ones
  • Longevity
  • Increased Speed
  • Self Confidence
  • Increased Flexibility and Agility
  • Coordination and Balance – Core Muscle Development
  • Developing Power from Short Range

Mr. Mueller is available for workshops for martial artists that are interested in furthering their knowledge of Karate Theory, and/or Karate Technique. He is also available to give Self-Defense Seminars.

Karate Seminar Topics Include:

  • Theory Relating to Karate
  •  Kogeki ni Kogeki Suru     (Attacking the Attack)
    Learning to defend yourself by attacking your opponents attacks.
  • Kata Kara Tobidasu  (Jumping out of kata)
     
    Learning to come out of the dance.  Basically learning to apply the techniques you learn from kata and make it fit your own individual strengths and weakness. Once at this level skilled practitioners can draw from their vast knowledge base and utilize their creativity to develop their own unique techniques and taking their kata training to the next level. 
  • Karate Ni Issun Be (Okinawan Dialect) (In Karate it’s an Inch)
    1) In combat, winning or losing, or life and death, is often determined by an inch. Sometimes this means staying close (within an inch of their attack) which dramatically speeds up your attack simply by being closer. 2) Better movement especially pivoting rather than stepping can save much time allowing your attacks to become much faster 3) Other times it is simply the transfer of weight or moving an extra inch causing your opponent to over extend and therefore compromise their balance as well as their power. 4)  Lastly it may be discipling your self to not take extra wind up or chambering in your attacks and blocks respectively as that extra bit can cause you to be too slow to make critical blocks and strikes!
  • Stages of Techniques
    The many levels of techniques and the purposes they serve – from blocking with the front hand and striking with the back hand  to blocking with the back hand and striking with the front hand and ultimately blocking and striking with the same hand to moving with cover!
  • Tori-te/Matchi-di 
    Throws against strikes and wrapping hands. (both arts within our art)
  • Go-shin Jutsu   (Self-Defense Techniques)
    Release from chokes bear-hugs arm grabs, etc. and the theory behind them.
  • Kick Catches
    Catching kicks with economy of motion, throws from catches, quick release and balance disruption against powerful kickers.                 

Self Defense Seminars Include:

  • Women’s Self Defense
  • Realtor Self Defense
  • HOA’s and Neighborhood Security
  • Senor Safety
  • Law Enforcement
  • Corporate Safety and Team Building

Mr. Mueller will only take on serious students that are teachable and of good rapport.  He can be reached at 817-999-4901! Karate classes are taught from a Christian Perspective.

Discovering Karate’s Roots – Okinawan Shuri-te Karate

Bill Mueller, now residing in Roanoke, Texas is an 8th Dan (8th degree black belt) and student of Nakamura, Ankichi (10th Dan, the highest rank you can earn in Karate!) is a committed Christian and teaches the art he has trained for close to 50 years with emphasis on personal development, integrity, and true self-defense!

Mr. Mueller began his training in the Martial Arts at age 10, training Judo under the direction of Mr. Richard Hoffman in St. Paul, Minnesota for several years. Although he had a great love and respect for the art of judo, he never gained the overall confidence in self-defense he was seeking.  He was well aware that in order to use his judo he must be able to grab his opponent. and realized that getting inside to grab a skilled boxer or karate-ka might be extremely difficult.  Judo also reflexively teaches you to go to the ground with your opponents and is the last place you want to be if confronted by multiple attackers.

Mr. Mueller decided to take karate under the direction of Mr. Robert Billington, however at that time Mr. Billington did not accept students under the age of 16. Ultimately he began his study of Okinawan  Shuri-te at the age of 17. 

In September of 1974, approximately 3 months after graduating high school Mr. Mueller showed up on the door step of  Nakamura, Ankichi in Okinawa. Mr. Mueller has been training under Nakamura sensei and his current successor Isa, Yoshito’s direction ever since. Nakamura sensei is currently 95 years old and in remarkable health. At that time Mr. Mueller didn’t know a sole in Okinawa and had no knowledge of the Japanese Language. 

 Although Mr. Nakamura was able to communicate basics through his limited English (primarily nouns and verbs) Mr. Mueller was extremely impressed by his knowledge and knew that he must become fluent in Japanese in order to tap into his wealth of knowledge. Upon returning to America, Mr. Mueller completed four years of college credits in Japanese Language in two years.  He attended the University of Minnesota during Fall and Winter semesters while spending Summer Semesters at Middlebury College in Vermont.  Mr. Mueller began communicating with Nakamura sensei by hand written letters in Japanese which was a quite an honor for Nakamura knowing that someone had taken the time to study Japanese to become more proficient in his art.  In 1977  Nakamura made his first of many trips to America.  For  Mr. Mueller to now communicate with Mr. Nakamura in his native tongue was one of the highlights of his martial arts experiences. . 

In 1978 Mr. Mueller returned to Okinawa for a year with his new wife. During this time he was able to train many hours a day, translate documents pertaining to his style and famous Shuri-te instructors.  He also had the opportunity to meet and interview esteemed karate instructors as well as being able to see many of Okinawa’s top instructors perform their kata at demonstrations and tournaments. 

One of his greatest thrills, decades later  was to take part in an “embukai” (demononstration) honoring Sensei Nakama’s (Nakamura’s Instructor) 80th birthday.

From Mr. Mueller’s perspective most of the great Okinawan Instructors do not cater to the American Servicemen.  On the contrary they must be sought out. Without knowledge of the Japanese language it is almost impossible for Okinawan Instructors to impart Theory and Advanced Waza.  This is precisely why many American students are limited in their knowledge to kata-dori (basic techniques which could possibly interpreted by an intermediate student, as opposed to kakushita waza which is technique hidden in kata as a means of handing technique down from generation to generation). Some of these techniques could  possibly be stumbled upon but can rarely be deciphered from kata without knowledge being imparted from an instructor.

After the death of Mr. Nakamura’s Sensei Nakama, Choso; Nakamura Sensei felt it was the proper time to break off from the branches of Shorin-Ryu and go back to simply calling his art Shuri-te and opened the Okinawan Shuri-te Karate Association.  He did this in order to protect the traditions and the technique originally taught to by Nakama Sensei prior to WWII.  Karate became very popular after the rebuilding of Okinawa after World War II.  At this time some Karate Instructors traded tradition and martial value for an exercise system that could be taught to the masses which slowly became more sports oriented.

What is Okinawan Shuri-te? (Karate)

Simply stated, Okinawa is the birth place of Karate and Shuri is the Capital of Okinawa.  Shuri is where the Okinawan King and Suri Castle were located. (Te) simply means hands. Literally speaking, Shuri-te means the “Hands of Shuri”.

Karate is a Japanese word meaning (empty hand) given to an Okinawan art of self-defense, which was primarily taught amongst the Samurai class.  Okinawan Samurai, unlike the Samurai of Japan, carried no sword. These weaponless warriors developed their art to an extremely high degree. This martial art, now known as karate, is what the Samurai in Okinawa used to defend themselves, as well as their King.  The Samurai because they were charged with protecting their country and king, they trained with life and death intensity.

Traditional karate waza (techniques) have been systematically handed down from generation to generation primarily through empty-handed forms known as kata. The study of kata, additionally requires the student develop and coordinate seemingly unimportant muscles which are rarely used except by a proficient martial artist. 

Many instructors from Okinawa spent decades perfecting their art in China. Conversely because commerce with Okinawa was dependent on the trade-winds many Chinese Martial Artists spent months at a time on Okinawa. It is the combination of Okinawans own art of self-defense and the strong influence of the Chinese arts that became known as Karate in Japanese.  Okinawan’s had there own language where it was simply called ti or di; so Shuri-te was known as Tsui-di prior to the Japanese occupation.  

Some of the benefits practitioners of modern karate train receive encompasses:

  • Self-Defense – Protection of loved ones
  • Longevity
  • Increased Speed
  • Self Confidence
  • Increased Flexibility and Agility
  • Coordination and Balance – Core Muscle Development
  • Developing Power from Short Range

Mr. Mueller is available for workshops for martial artists that are interested in furthering their knowledge of Karate Theory, and/or Karate Technique. He is also available to give Self-Defense Seminars.

Karate Seminar Topics Include:

  • Theory Relating to Karate
  •  Kogeki ni Kogeki Suru     (Attacking the Attack)
    Learning to defend yourself by attacking your opponents attacks.
  • Kata Kara Tobidasu  (Jumping out of kata)
     
    Learning to come out of the dance.  Basically learning to apply the techniques you learn from kata and make it fit your own individual strengths and weakness. Once at this level skilled practitioners can draw from their vast knowledge base and utilize their creativity to develop their own unique techniques and taking their kata training to the next level. 
  • Karate Ni Issun Be (Okinawan Dialect) (In Karate it’s an Inch)
    1) In combat, winning or losing, or life and death, is often determined by an inch. Sometimes this means staying close (within an inch of their attack) which dramatically speeds up your attack simply by being closer. 2) Better movement especially pivoting rather than stepping can save much time allowing your attacks to become much faster 3) Other times it is simply the transfer of weight or moving an extra inch causing your opponent to over extend and therefore compromise their balance as well as their power. 4)  Lastly it may be discipling your self to not take extra wind up or chambering in your attacks and blocks respectively as that extra bit can cause you to be too slow to make critical blocks and strikes!
  • Stages of Techniques
    The many levels of techniques and the purposes they serve – from blocking with the front hand and striking with the back hand  to blocking with the back hand and striking with the front hand and ultimately blocking and striking with the same hand to moving with cover!
  • Tori-te/Matchi-di 
    Throws against strikes and wrapping hands. (both arts within our art)
  • Go-shin Jutsu   (Self-Defense Techniques)
    Release from chokes bear-hugs arm grabs, etc. and the theory behind them.
  • Kick Catches
    Catching kicks with economy of motion, throws from catches, quick release and balance disruption against powerful kickers.                 

Self Defense Seminars Include:

  • Women’s Self Defense
  • Realtor Self Defense
  • HOA’s and Neighborhood Security
  • Senor Safety
  • Law Enforcement
  • Corporate Safety and Team Building

Mr. Mueller will only take on serious students that are teachable and of good rapport.  He can be reached at 817-999-4901! Karate classes are taught from a Christian Perspective.

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