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Ryuei-ryu (???, Ryuei-ryu?) is an Okinawan style of karate. It was originally a family style of the Nakaima family of Naha and is now one of the internationally recognized Okinawan karate styles. It is practiced in the United States, Argentina, Venezuela, Europe, and Okinawa.
This style of karate was first introduced to Okinawa around 1875 by Norisato Nakaima. Born of wealthy parents in Kume, Okinawa, Nakaima was a good scholar and, at the age of 19, went to Fuchou, China for advanced studies in the martial arts. There a former guard to the Chinese embassies in the Ryukyu islands introduced him to a Chinese boxing teacher known as Ru Ru Ko, who also taught Sakiyama Kitoku and, according to some sources, many years later Kanryo Higashionna. Nakaima was accepted as a disciple, and, after over 7 years of training, received a certificate of graduation from the master. He was trained in a variety of arts and skills ranging from physical combative techniques to Chinese medicine and herbal healing remedies. Just before leaving China, in order to further his experience in the martial arts, Nakaima traveled to the Fujian, Canton, and Beijing areas, where he collected a number of weapons and scrolls to bring back home with him.
Back in Okinawa, Nakaima passed this Chinese boxing style in secret to his son Kenchu Nakaima, who then went on to teach it only to his son, Kenko Nakaima (founder of the Ryuei Ryu Karate and Kobudo Preservation Society). In 1971, at the age of 60, Kenko Nakaima realized that there was no longer a need to keep his family’s fighting system a secret, and so, with some hesitation, he took on a group of twenty school teachers as karate students, it was at this point the name “Ryuei Ryu” was first used to describe the art.
Today, most written information widely available in the English language about the Ryueiryu system is, to a large degree inaccurate. There are more kata that are contained in the system, various categories of martial strategy and technique, health and wellness practices and other methods that make the system an obviously Chinese based martial arts system, as opposed to a “style” of karate.[dubious – discuss]
There are relatively few schools of Ryuei Ryu outside of Japan.
Among the kata of Ryuei-ryu are the following karate kaishu kata:
Ryu Ru Ko was the teacher of Kenri Nakaima, and was a documented personal bodyguard to the Chinese Emperor during the Qing Dynasty. This may be the very same Ryu Ru Ko that taught Okinawan Kanryo Higashionna years later, but this is undetermined to date.