About Us

Ryuei-ryu Okinawan Karate

The Ryuei-ryu style was introduced to Okinawa sometime between the years 1870 and 1880 by Norisato Nakaima (Nakaima PENCHIN, 1850-1927).  Born in Kume, Naha, Norisato was a good scholar and at the age of 19 went to Fuzhou in China for advanced studies. While there, a former guard to the Chinese embassies in Ryukyu (Okinawa) introduced him to a Chinese boxing teacher known as Ru Ru Ko.  Norisato was accepted as a disciple and after five or six years of practice, received a certificate of graduation. Just before leaving China, in order to further his experience of the martial arts, he traveled in the Fujian, Canton and Beijing areas where he collected many weapons and brought them home with him.  Norisato Nakaima passed his Chinese boxing style in secret to his son Kenchu, who in turn taught it to his son Kenko Nakaima, founder of the Ryuei-ryu Karate and Kobudo Preservation Society.

In 1971, at the age of 60, Kenko Nakaima realized that in today’s world, it was no longer necessary to keep his family fighting system secret, and so, albeit with some hesitation, he took on a group of 20 schoolteachers as karate students and gave the name Ryuei-Ryu to his family.  Since then, the style has become increasingly popular, and is now taught in a number of countries as well as Japan.

Ru Ru Ko (Fuchou, China)

Norisato Nakaima (1850-1927)

Kenchu Nakaima (died at age 98)

Kenko Nakaima (1911-1989)

Kenji Nakaima (Ryuei Ryu Soke)

Tsuguo Sakumoto (Ryuei Ryu Doto Gosei)

Tomohiro Arashiro (Pan-American Chief Instructor)

What does “Kobudo” mean?

Kobudo is a term used for the Okinawan weaponry associated with traditional karate. Literally translated, Kobudo means old martial ways. The use of weapons on the Okinawan Islands dates back tens of centuries; however, the set of weapons encompassed by the modern term Kobudo came into more common use in the early 1600s.

What kinds of weapons are used?

The most frequently encountered weapons are the Bo (long wooden staff), Jo (short wooden staff), Sai (three-pronged hand-held weapon), Eku (boat oar), Tonfa (rice-grinder handles), Kama (sickle), Nunchucku (the bit and side pieces for horses), and Yari (spear-ended bo). Other weapons are also found in Kobudo but are less common.

Where did these weapons come from?

In 1609, it was decreed that native Okinawans were not allowed to use the traditional weapons of war, such as swords and bows and arrows, without special permission from the ruling class of mainland Japan. In response to these restrictive laws, native Okinawan Karate practitioners adapted farming, fishing, and tradesmen’s tools for use as weapons. Defensive weapons that were used to keep the peace, such as the sai, were also allowed. Okinawans developed systems or techniques to fully utilize these permitted weapons.

Why do we practice Kobudo?

In modern Okinawan Karate practice, Kobudo is often an integral part of training. The legacy of Kobudo as a part of Karate training stems from the era when Okinawans needed to augment their empty-hand techniques in defense against weapon-wielding attackers. Knowledge of the potential of the opponent, whether armed with a weapon or empty-handed, is critical to effective self-defense. The Ryuei-Ryu style of Kobudo had been passed down through the family to the current students, and has influenced noteable Karate-ka of other styles.

Dojo kun (pronounced koon) is  a set of principles that our organization instills into our students. Occasionally dojo kun is recited at the end of class, therefore every student is expected to know dojo kun. 

One. To seek to attain perfection of character.
One. To live with politeness and discipline.
One. To honor the code of ethical behavior.
One. To strive for excellence through efforts.
One. To refrain from impetuous conduct.


In 2016, Kenji Nakaima appointed Tsuguo Sakumoto as his successor with the title Doto Gosei.


Former renowned World Karate Champion, Sakumoto Sensei studied under Nakaima Kenko and is the current President of the Ryuei-Ryu organization.


At the age of thirteen, Tomohiro Arashiro began learning Ryuei-Ryu under the instruction of Kenko Nakaima in Okinawa, Japan. Arashiro Kyoshi was the captain of the Collegiate Karate Team at Chukyo University. He, along with his friend and fellow student Tsutomu Kuniyoshi, was chosen to bring Ryuei-Ryu to the United States in 1979. Arashiro Kyoshi is the current Pan-American Chief Instructor of Ryuei-Ryu.


Ophira Bergman began her martial arts training in 1979 and received her Shodan in 1988. Bergman Sensei is a past National Champion and Collegiate Champion and is the current Chief Okinawa Karate Instructor.


Alfonzo Gomez Jr. started training in 1985. He has competed in a vast amount of tournaments around the world, including the Okinawa World Karate Championships, Pan-American Karate Championships, WKC and WKO World Karate Championships. Although he no longer competes, he loves helping students achieve their goals in karate and now coaches the Competition Team.


Alfonso Gomez began his martial arts training in 1969. In 1976, he began training in Karate and became affiliated with Ryuei-Ryu Karate under Arashiro Kyoshi in 1992. Gomez Sensei officially founded the UCSD Karate Club on campus in 1986.

Assistant Instructors







Accordion Content

Mon/Wed 6pm-8pm @ Main Gym

Sat 8:30am-12pm @ Main Gym