From Martial Arts, MMA, Karate, Kungfu Information Source
Although today Okinawa is a part of Japan, the island has a different though similar language and culture. Direct Japanese authority over Okinawa took effect only in 1874 with the annexation of Ryukyu Islands, long after the invasion of the Satsuma Clan in 1609. For reasons of convenience, martial art historians discuss Japan and Okinawa sparately in terms of martial arts.
The Okinawana royalty back then practiced an ancient martial known as "Te". It was a free-flowing martial art, with no standardized kata or waza and was greatly influenced by Chinese types of martial arts. Only a wide network of practitioners supported the life of Te by maintaining individual methods and ecletic styles. Early styles of Karate were named after the city that each came from: Naha-te, Shuhi-te and Tomari-te.
Okinawan Royalty and members of the clan were usually sent to China to study public administration and other forms of liberal arts. These exchanges probbably led to the formation of the early Okinawan martial art of Te, which in time evolved into the art of Karate.
List of Okinawan Martial Arts