The Ryukyu Islands that now make up Okinawa prefecture were formerly not part of Japan, but an independent nation called the Ryukyu Kingdom. There are approximately 169 islands that make up the Ryukyu Islands, Okinawa being the largest.
The Ryukyu Islands are located in the East China Sea, close in proximity to China, Taiwan, and the Philippines making the Ryukyu Kingdom a very prosperous trading nation. In 1609 the Japanese invaded the Ryukyu Islands and abolished the Ryukyu Kingdom and became Okinawa prefecture. During this time period the Japanese placed a ban on all weapons (possession and storage), which precipitated the extensive development of Okinawa Te now known as Karate.
Having historically been a separate independent nation the Ryukyu Kingdom had closer ties with China than with Japan; hence Okinawa Te was heavily based on Chinese Kung Fu. Over a few centuries the Okinawa Masters of Te evolved the art form into a way of life and life protection. Many styles and philosophies spanned the island from three main lineages: Shuri Te, Naha Te, and Tomari Te. Ryukyu Kempo (Kempo meaning fist way) is a culmination of the most prolific forms and techniques of life protection from all Okinawan Martial Art Styles.
Much of the history about the development and lineage of Okinawan Karate is unknown due to the loss of records during World War II. The following lineage is the best description available of how we have become Ryukyu Kempo today.
Between the late 1960's mid-1970's, the art of Ryukyu Kempo was first introduced in the United States by three Americans who were instrumental in establishing Okinawan Master Seiyu Oyata in America: Mr. Albert O. Geraldi, Mr. Jim Logue, Mr. William Wiswell.
Ryukyu Kempo has grown in popularity among many martial artists within the past few decades. In many cases Ryukyu Kempo has been misrepresented and marketed as a farfetched pressure point art of self-defense, that is not real Ryukyu Kempo. There is only one Ryukyu Kempo that spawns from the original teachings of Master Nakamura and Master Seiyu Oyata.