When I went to Okinawa, I was still unclear about the meaning of menkyo kaiden. I asked Chibana Sensei (Head of the Okinawa Shorin-ryu Karate-do Association) and he gave me the following explanation:
Posted by Charles C. Goodin on Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Charles C. Goodin (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Karate researcher and writer, and the head of the Hawaii Karate Museum. These are his personal thoughts... and those of some excellent Guest Writers. See our Table of Contents.
"Karate Jutsu" means "China Hand art". Karate came to Okinawa from China. Only in the 1930s or so, was the term "Karate" changed to mean "Empty Hand". "China Hand" was used in Hawaii until after World War II, and is still used in some dojo.
For more information, please visit the Hawaii Karate Seinenkai website.