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Te means ‘hand’ or ‘hands’, but in its widest context means martial arts. Te is the newer description of ‘Ti’ that has been practised, nurtured and developed through time in the Ryukyu Islands.

Prior to the fashionable influx of Chinese based kata, Te was a personal form of self-defence and development for the Okinawan royalty and nobility. The closest thing resembling kata was free-form dance.

From the 17th century onwards and with the learning of new katas from China, the villages of Shuri, Tomari and Naha had Te put on the end of those village names, thereby perpetuating a myth that the ancient ‘Ti’ had been mysteriously swallowed up and bettered by these Chinese empty hand and weapons based arts (called Kobudo).

Although these styles have some elements of Ti in them, they certainly haven’t bettered it, as anyone who has trained in the full Ti system would surely know.

Previously the two surviving Ti schools on Okinawa were the Seidokan of Seikichi Uehara and the Bugeikan of Seitoku Higa along side a few branch dojos. Today there are other scattered sources around the world. In particular Tigwa (Te and related arts) was introduced in the early 90s by Mark Bishop upon his return to Great Britain after 15 years of living and training in Okinawa.

The Te dynamics of soft and circular based on the curved sword and naginata, and the straight directness of bow and arrow and spear, interlink so perfectly with all its aspects that from the very first health exercise to a mortal technique, there is an unlimited progressive evolution from the core principles of hand configuration and footwork that is the same in exercise, basic and advanced striking techniques, grappling, pressure points, weapons, Kiko (Chi Kung) and meditative walking (based on the old Okinawan dances) and therapeutic bodywork (Shiatsu). These aspects go hand in hand, and are one and the same.

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