Training for the succession of Udundī

Original title: Chōsei, eldest son of Motobu Sārū, trains to succeed "Udundī"


Okinawa Times, August 29, 1978

Motobu Chōsei, 53, an osteopath in Hori 2-22, Kaizuka City, Osaka Prefecture, the eldest son (Note 1) of the late Motobu Chōki, a famous martial artist known as Motobu Sārū, is training every day at the dojo of Uehara Seikichi, 75, the chief instructor of the Motobu-ryū ancient martial arts association, to learn Udundī, a secret of the Ryukyu royal family.


Motobu Udun's "tī" was inherited by only the eldest son of the royal family for generations, and after the abolition of the feudal domain, it was known only to his (Chōki's) eldest brother, Motobu Chōyū (Aji-kata Umē, His Royal Highness), the eleventh generation head. In contrast to karate as a hard martial art, Udundī is a soft martial art, and the ultimate secret of Udundī is the "dance hand" (Mai no Te). Chōki, the third son of Motobu Udun, was famous for his hard style of martial arts, but none of the members of the Motobu family have inherited Udundī. Chōyū, the eleventh generation head of the Motobu family, taught Mr. Uehara the martial arts of the Motobu family. From the age of thirteen [in East Asian age reckoning], Mr. Uehara learned only the basics of thrusting and kicking, and at the age of nineteen, he was finally taught the "tī."

Many of the Motobu family members had moved to the mainland, and in an attempt to return the skills he had learned from the eleventh head of the family, Mr. Uehara looked for people who were descended from the Motobu family. However, even though he went to visit them, they had no intention of inheriting the art. A few years ago, he contacted Motobu Chōsei, who had been practicing karate in the police force for a long time and had a good foundation, so he (Chōsei) decided to succeed Udundī. He has now retired and is opening a karate dojo. He came to Okinawa three weeks ago and has been training every day from 9 am to 8 pm. This is his second visit to Okinawa [for training].

Mr. Uehara said that Udundī is different from ordinary karate in that it involves standing on tiptoe and doing vigorous movements, so he asked Mr. Motobu to prepare a pair of tabi (socks), but Mr. Motobu said, "I have been training for a long time, so..." He went to the training barefoot, but the skin on his feet peeled off within half a day. After that, he continues to practice with such intensity that his tabi tore in less than three days.


Mr. Uehara had a chance to talk with Chōki. In 1923, George, a boxer, came to Japan on a world tour and fought and defeated judoka one after another, but Chōki defeated him with one blow and made his prowess known throughout Japan.


The next year, Chōki returned to his hometown and had a practice match with his eldest brother, Chōyū, in which Chōki's hard thrusts and kicks were dodged and he was thrown away. At that time, he received the Udundī transmission from his eldest brother.

Mr. Motobu will stay in Okinawa until September to continue his training. He says it will take him two years to reach the depth of his dance hand. In a few words, he expressed his determination, saying, "I want to receive Udundī firmly so that it will never be lost in the Motobu family lineage again."

Note 1: Mistake for third son (second son in the family register).