George Dillman claims to teach Ryukyu (Okinawan) Kempo Tomari-te. The theory here is that there were three villages teaching Kempo: Naha, Shuri, and Tomari. I have heard that Tomari really did not have its own form of Kempo, and George Dillman has simply used this but it is historically inaccurate. Can anyone shed any light on this?

2 Answers 2


Each style of Te (or Tii or Dii in the Okinawan language) is named for the region from which it originated; in this case, the Tomari village, which is in the greater Naha region.

Tomari-te is not just a predecessor of Dillman's Ryukyu Kempo, but of Shorinji-ryu, Motobu-ryu, Shorin(Matsubayashi)-ryu and many others. Saying that Dillman teaches Tomari-te is a bit like saying that I teach Iga-ryu Ninjutsu – Some of the techniques in the Bujinkan may derive from the older ryuha but I was never trained explicitly in that. By that same token, Dillman's instruction traces back to Tomari-te by way of (from what I can determine):

(Teruya Kishin & Sokyu Karyu) -> Matsumora Kousaku -> (Motobu Choki & Kyan Chotoku) -> Shimabuku Tatsuo -> Harry G. Smith -> George Dillman

In all fairness, before he got all into the Dim Mak / Kyushojutsu stuff, Dillman was a [fairly respectable martial artist(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Dillman) [NB: Labeling someone as a fantasist seems to be pretty non-NPOV for wikipedia]. As far as I can determine, Dillman had no direct training in Tomari-te, and uses the name as a means of promoting his brand of kempo as something older.

Dillman aside, Tomari-te is acknowledged as a root of Isshin-ryu, and is noted as a root of Motobu-ryu in McCarthy, Patrick and Yuriko (2002). "Motobu Teacher/Student Lineage Chart". Motobu Choki: Karate, My Art. Australia: International Ryukyu Karate Research Group. p.118.[aka Watashi no Karate-jutsu].

  • +1, very nuanced. I couldn't find the Tomari/Isshinryu link on McCarthy's site--do you mean because of the Motobu connection, or in its own right? Apr 17, 2012 at 16:47
  • It seems that Wansu is considered by some to be a Tomari relic by way of Kyan, is this what you mean? Apr 17, 2012 at 16:51
  • Wanshu is derived from Fujian White Crane, a part of Naha-te. The connection is, from what I understand, that Motobu and Kyan both had training in Shuri-te, Naha-te, and Tomari-te. The lineage for Tomari-te was as provided above.
    – stslavik
    Apr 17, 2012 at 16:55

By all accounts that I've read, Tomari-te was indeed a distinct style, but over time (and proximity to Shuri) largely blended with the more popular Shuri-te.

Here is some information that might be helpful to you: http://karatedo.hakuakai-matsubushidojo.com/tomarite.html

and: http://www.msisshinryu.com/history/tomari-te/

  • By the way, this is certainly not to say that Dillman's claims are genuine; there is a considerable controversy surrounding Dillman. I'm personally wary of anyone who claims to be a 10th dan in a traditional style without having a supported lineage. (Contrast with, for example, Meitatsu Yagi, who has one degree of separation from Chojun Miyagi.)
    – Jehu
    Apr 13, 2012 at 10:28
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    Hi! Welcome to the site! Perhaps you could give a little more information about what behind the links is useful to the asker. Just a quick synopsis goes a long way. It may help to read about how to answer questions here
    – stslavik
    Apr 13, 2012 at 16:12

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