Ryukyu Kempo’s Core Principles 1-3

The U.R.K.A. is a unique martial arts organization for many reasons. One of them is its promotion and use of Ryukyu Kempo’s core principles to enhance training. With understanding, these concepts become ingrained in practitioners and allow them to improve their lives in all areas. Here are the first three of five core principles and how we can apply them to Ryukyu Kempo training and to some other areas of life.


When a physical thing, including your body, has Structural Integrity, it is strong in its design and placement. In our martial arts, that means we work from strong body positions and build the habits for strong postures. We can often instinctively tell, by looking at a person or a structure, whether Structural Integrity is in place. S.I. can be applied to non-physical things as well. For example, if you are having trouble with a relationship, you can examine the S.I. of that relationship. Where is it lacking? Can you do something to close the breaches and improve the relationship?


Coring is also known as the 18” rule. This one of Ryukyu Kempo’s core principles is based on the general rule that adult human bodies are about 18” wide. In karate, if your guard is wider than your body, we say you are breaking the 18” rule. That means that you are not covered in your guard, or you are not in your “safe place.” On the other hand, if you have a strong guard, you are protected and you are zeroed out.

coring is one of Ryukyu Kempo's core principles

This principle of Coring is especially helpful when you have a confusing and difficult life situation. Let’s say, a crazy day at work with a deadline to write an article and multiple issues from many different people. You can use the Coring to return to zero. Start at the center and make sure you, personally, are taken care of to be at your strongest so you can follow through. Then use Coring for your project. What’s the basic reason for the article? Keeping that in mind, you can then think about how you will present it. Such as references you will use and the message of your writing.


The third one of Ryukyu Kempo’s core principles is Observe, Plan and Execute. For martial artists this means that we constantly Observe surroundings and situations. If we see something that needs action, say, a man beating up “his” woman, domestic abuse. We will Observe relevant details like other potential dangers, like glass in the vicinity or whether he seems under the influence. We will also note potential helpers. And Plan our response before Executing a solution.

O.P.E. can also be used for other and simpler issues. Such as, you Observe that there is litter on the sidewalk. Then you Observe the location of the nearest trash can. You Plan to pick it up by its least dirty area and put it in the nearest trash. You Execute that plan and take care of the problem. O.P.E. helps us to follow through and act in more intelligent, more effective ways.

In my next blog we will explore the final two of Ryukyu Kempo’s core principles used in the United Ryukyu Kempo Alliance. We’ll look at how the principles can apply to karate training and to other areas of life.

-Jenifer Tull-Gauger

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