Shogo 'Soke' Kuniba

'Keinosuke Enoeda'
(First Instructor to Britain)



Shorin Ryu system of Okinawan Karate

Sokon Matsumura (1792-1887) was the forefather of Shorin Ryu..

Matsumura was recruited into the service of the Sho family (Royal family of Okinawa) and eventually became the chief martial arts instructor and bodyguard for the Okinawan King.   At some point in his career, approximately 1830,  he went to China and studied the Shaolin style of Chinese Kenpo (fist method) and weaponry.   It is also known that he traveled to Foochow in Fukien province, China on numerous occasions as an envoy for the Okinawan King. After his return from China he organized and refined the Shorin Ryu system of Okinawan Karate.

Matsumura is credited with passing on the kata or formal exercises of Shorin Ryu Karate known as Naifanchi I & II, Bassai Dai, Seisan, Chinto,  Gojushiho (fifty-four steps of the Black Tiger),  Kusanku (the embodiment of Kusanku's teaching as passed on to Tode Sakugawa) and Hakutsuru (white crane).   The Hakutsuru kata contains the elements of the white crane system taught within the Shaolin system of Chinese Kenpo.   Another set of kata, known as Chanan in Matsumura's time,  is said to have been devised by Matsumura himself and was the basis for Pinan I and II. Matsumura's Ryu has endured to the present day and the above mentioned kata are the core of Shorin Ryu Karate today.

Matsumura was given the title  "Bushi"  meaning warrior by the Okinawan King in recognition of his abilities and accomplishments in the martial arts.   In fact,  Matsumura fought many times but was never defeated.    His martial arts endeavors has been the progenitor of many contemporary karate styles,   Shorin Ryu,  Shotokan Ryu,  and Shito Ryu,  for example.   Ultimately all modern styles of karate that evolved from the Shuri-Te lineage can be traced back to the teachings of Bushi Matsumura.   This includes Taekwon Do (Korean Karate)

Kenwa Mabuni (1887-1952) is the founder of the Shito-ryu style of Karate.   Mabuni was Okinawan born, the son of a 17th generation Samurai called the Bushi (warrior) class. During his time, the martial arts (Okinawa-te) was known according to the village where it was practiced:  Shuri-te (the hand of Shuri),  Naha-te and Tomari-te.   Mabuni learned Shuri-te from Yasutsune Itosu,  who was a student of Sokon Matsumura,  and Naha-te from Kanryu Higashionna.   Mabuni also learned several empty hand katas and Kobudo (weapon) katas from Seisho Arakaki (1840-1918), and some white crane Kung Fu forms from Woo Yin Gue, a Chinese tea merchant in Okinawa.

After Gichin Funakoshi introduced "Karate" in Japan in 1922,  Kenwa Mabuni as a police officer,  traveled several times in Japan and tried to spread his knowledge of Okinawa-te in Japan.   Finally he moved to Osaka,  Japan in 1928 and started to teach Karate in Japan when Butokukai (then the governing body for martial arts in Japan) started registration for all Karate school and Master Mabuni named his style as  Hanko-ryu  (half-hard style) which he later in 1930's changed to "Shito-ryu" in honor of his two foremost teachers Yasutsune Itosu and Kanryu Higashionna  (the first kanzi character in 'Itosu' sounds like 'Shi' and that in 'Higashionna' sounds like 'to',  'ryu' stands for 'style' or 'school').

Master Mabuni,  the founder of Shito-ryu Karate,  died in Osaka, Japan in May,  1952 at age 64 leaving his name and art in every heart of each Shito-ryu Karate-ka. 

THE ART OF KARATE was developed from a combination of southern Chinese martial arts and the native Okinawan art of Te. The word karate is derived from two characters which mean empty and hand; therefore, karate can be translated as the art of the empty hand. The style of karate taught at the Authentic Ancient Arts dojo is Okinawan Shorin-ryu.




Karate, the Okinawan fighting art that has spread to main land Japan across the world has received much fame. But even some Karate-ka (Karate student) don’t know about its origins. In Okinawan Karate means “Chinese Hands”, but when translated into Japanese it means “Empty Hand”. Karate was at first a “jitsu” system; a system made for the battlefield. But today it is a “do” system, which is a life long system used to perfect oneself. 

Okinawan Karate is a mix of Chinese martial art styles. Karate was used by the peasants in Okinawa to protect themselves from the samurai and muggers, if one was unable to defend himself he would be killed by the attacker, so Karate was introduced. Some Karate- ka even decided to test their Horse Stance against huge tidal waves and fierce storms. To further condition themselves Karate-ka punched iron and wooden posts called Makiwara to toughen their fists. After a while Karate reached mainland Japan and underwent many changes. 

In some styles of Okinawan Karate weapons are used. Karate weapons are unique for they all are farmers’ tools, the Kama; used to cut grass. The Nunchaku: used to harvest rice. The Sai; used to turn things (I forget but I think meat???). The Tonfa; originally a handle for grinding mills. The Eku; an Okinawan boat oar. And the Bo; a staff used to carry water in buckets. There are many other weapons used in Karate but these are the more popular. Karate-ka of olden days always trained outside to toughen them up by tolerating rain, cold, and heat. But a Karate-ka’s weapons range from their head to their toes. Almost every part of a Karate-ka’s body is a weapon. The primary areas of Karate training include kihon (basic techniques), kumite (sparring), and kata (a series of pre arranged moves. 

One Karate-ka, Mas Oyama decided to develop his discipline, endurance, and body. He did this by going into the mountains of Japan and lived by himself for a year and a half doing 2,000 push ups a day and punching trees until his hands were bloody. To develop his concentration he sat underneath a ice cold waterfall meditating on Zen Koans (Zen Riddles). He was even able to punch through 12 roofing tiles in one punch and take down a charging bull in two blows, the first split a horn in half and the second hit the animal in the head killing it. The power of Karate......


Self-defence is about Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan jump kicks and yells. 
You need a black belt to be able to defend yourself. 
You have to be fit to defend yourself. 
You have to be violent to defend yourself. 
Carrying a weapon is the best protection. 
If you are old there is nothing you can do to stop an attacker. 
Don't hurt your attacker when defending yourself in case they sue you. 


Everyone is able to learn to defend themselves in some way. 
No one is too old to learn some useful self-defence. 
Avoiding a dangerous situation is better than defending your way out of it. 
If you are serious about defending yourself or someone else against an attack, you have to be prepared to do things you may never have done in your life. Yelling, kicking, punching and scratching may save your life. 
If you take a stand and report the attack (even if it seems minor), then the attacker may be brought to justice and you will prevent something worse happening to anyone else. 


About fourteen hundred years ago Daruma (Bodhidharma), the founder of Zen Buddhism, left western India, penetrating mountain ranges including the Himalayas, and crossing unabridged rivers through complete wilderness, to travel to China to present lectures on Buddhism. Since even present roads between India and China would not be described as good, one can imagine the greatness of Daruma's spirit and physical strength so great that he should have been able to conquer with such courage this difficult, several thousand mile way alone. In later years, as he traveled to the Shaolin Temple (Shorin-ji) in Hunan Province in China to lecture there on Buddhism, a great multitude of followers fell one by one in exhaustion from the harshness of his training. Daruma then set forth a method of developing the mind and body, telling them, "Although the way of Buddha is preached for the soul, the body and soul are inseparate. As I look at you now, I think it likely that you will not complete your training because of your exhaustion. For this reason, I shall give you a method by which you can develop your physical strength enough to enable yourselves to attain the essence of the way of Buddha." The method he set forth is contained in the Ekkin Kyo (Ekkin "sutra"). With it, the monks were able to recover their spiritual and physical strength, and it is said that these monks of the Shaolin Temple came to be known throughout China for their courage and fortitude.

The legend claims that in later times, after teaching of this method originally proposed by Daruma spread to many other places, it came to bear the name of its origin and was called Shorin-ji Kempo. It was this method that eventually reached the Ryukyu Islands and developed into Okinawa-te, the forerunner of present-day karate. 

In the southern part of Japan are located the Ryu-kyu Islands of which Okinawa is the largest. These group of islands is located 550 km. from mainland Japan-Kyushu and 700 km. from China. 

Around the 12th century the famous hero King Shö Hashi united all the island under his rule. In order to assure the position of the ruling class, the possession of arms by the common people was forbidden. 

Later on about the 16ht century all weapons in the islands were confiscated by the ruling Satsuma clan of Japan. At the same time there were many practitioners of martial arts that traveled to China to learn martial arts, that were brought back to Okinawa. It is probably for these reasons that the development of martial arts took a tremendous impulse forward and developed in the Okinawan martial art that we know today. 

At the beginning of the 19th century, Karate was accepted by the Okinawan authorities as an official physical education program and thus the future of karate was secured. Karate spread rapidly in Japan and slowly but surely in continued its spreading around the globe

It was developed in Okinawa the Karate-Do, initiallly called TI or TE (hand). This kind of fight was used to teach the beginner to face an opponent without weapons. The Okinawa island, known as a Rope on the Sea, is located on the Pacific Ocean, about 600 Km South of mainland Japan, 600 Km North of Taiwan and 700 Km East of China.

In 1371, Okinawa started an intense trade with China, Korea, and the southeast Asia countries, such as Thayland, Java, Philipinnes, Indonesia, Sumatra, Malasia, etc.. As a consequence, there was also a cultural interchange which brought to Okinawa another kind of fight originated in China similar to “TE”, the “Kempo” (Chinese Boxing). With these chinese fighting techniques, a new kind of fight was improved, the “Karate-Do”.

On two ocasions there was a weaponry banning in Okinawa. At those times the Okinawa island was divided in three states: Nazan, Chuzan and Hokuzan. In 1427, the Chuzan king, Shohashi, conquered all the island after a long conflict and, in 1469, the first prohibition occurred.

When the Satsuma governor atacked and conquered Okinawa in 1670, this japanese lord ordered a new weaponry banning, as well as hands free fighting. So, Karate-Do assumed more value. Those who could not use weapons, improved and used the Karate-Do as a means of defense against their armed opponents, always trainned in secrecy, in forests and caves.

Karate-Do developed in three different places in Okinawa: at the capital Shuri, being kown as Shuri-Te; at the trading city of Naha, being known as Naha-Te; and at the harbour city of Tomari, being known as Tomari-Te.

Shuri-Te and Tomari-Te originated the “Shorin-Ryu” style and Naha-Te gave birth to the “Goju-Ryu” style.

Nowadays, there exist many styles derived from Shorin-Ryu and Goju-Ryu or as a product of integration of these two roots.

It was Master Gichin Funakoshi who took Karate-Do from Okinawa to mainland Japan, Tokyo, for the first time, in 1917, invited by the Education Ministry of that country. After that, other masters followed: Kenwa Mabuni (Shito-Ryu), Kanken Toyama, Chojun Miyagi (Goju-Ryu), Choki Motobu and others took Karate-Do to many other cities of Japan. After World War II, Karate-Do became popular all over the world.

There are no ancient registers of Karate-Do practitioners because of the long banning which turned this martial art a secret matter for selected students.

The more recent generations and renowned masters of Shorin-Ryu Karate-Do are as follows:

MASTER TAKAHARA: is the oldest known master. Although there is no register of his birth, his existence is known by the speech tradition from his disciple Sakugawa.

MASTER TODE SAKUGAWA (1762~1843): was teacher of Sokon Matsumura.

MASTER SOKON MATSUMURA (1809~1896): taught Karate-Do to Okinawa kings Sho Ko and Sho Tai, being also their steward and secretary. Among his students there were Anko Itosu, Yoshimine, Tawata, Kiyuna, Kuwas and others.

MASTER ANKO ITOSU (1832~1916): was also teacher and secretary of the Okinawa king Sho Tai. At the very beggining, he taught at his own house. In 1904, when Karate-Do was introduced as a regular discipline in the island schools, Master Itosu started teaching at the State School of Okinawa and at the Normal State School of Okinawa, becoming the first teacher of this martial art in education institutions. Among his students there were Choshin Chibana, Kentsu Yabu, Hanashiro, Anbun Tokuda, Kenwa Mabuni and Shinpan Shiroma (both founders of the Shito-Ryu style), Gichin Funakoshi (founder of the Shotokan style), Gusukuma, Yamakawa and others.

MASTER CHOSHIN CHIBANA (June 5th, 1885~February 26th,1969): taught Karate-Do for 50 years. Among his students were Chosho Nakama, Yuchoku Higa, Katsuya Miyahira, Shugoro Nakazato, Seitoku Ishikawa, Katsuyuko Shimabukuru, Akira Chibana, Yoshihide Shinzato, and many others.

  • Takahara (1683-1760) & Kusanku

  • Sakugawa Kanga
    "Father of Okinawan Karate"

  • Matsumura Sokon

  • Itosu Yasutsune

  • Chibana Chosin
    "Hanshi no Sogo"

  • Nakazato Shugoro
    "Hanshi JuDan"


There are no known authentic pictures of:
Sakugawa Kanga "Tode"
Matsumura Soken "Bushi"
Itosu Yasutsune "Anko

Shorin-Ryu Karate was established originally in Japan and then founded in the Ryu-Kyu Islands, better know as Okinawa.





THE ART OF KARATE was developed from a combination of southern Chinese martial arts and the native Okinawan art of Te. The word karate is derived from two characters which mean empty and hand; therefore, karate can be translated as the art of the empty hand. The style of karate taught at the Authentic Ancient Arts dojo is Okinawan Shorin-ryu.

SHORIN-RYU is one of the two original karate styles formally systematized in Okinawa and considered by some to have had the most influential impact on the development of all modern karate systems.

Sensei Gichin Funakoshi is the father of modern karate and founder of the Japan Karate Association. He was born in Shuri-Okinawa in 1868 and died in Tokyo-Japan in the 26 of April 1957. In the year 1922 Sensei Funakoshi was requested to give a karate demonstration in Japan. Until the this fighting art was known as "Chinese hand", but Sensei Funakoshi renamed karate and change the characters to read "empty hand". With this change he indicated that with the practice of karate would be possible to develop the character of the practitioner. At this time he coined the famous sentence "karate ni sente nashi....there is no first to attack in karate". 

TODE SAKUGAWA (1762-1843) 

Recognized as one of the most important figures in the history of Karate, Satunushi "Tode" Sakugawa was among the first to blend elements of the original Okinawan art of te with Chinese boxing (tode) to initiate the development of what we know as Karate today.
Born in Shuri, Sakugawa began his martial arts training as a youth under Peichin Takahara, a local astronomer and monk. A short time later, he met a Chinese military diplomat stationed on Okinawa named Kusanku and began training under him in Chinese Kempo. During subsequent trips to China, Sakugawa continued his Kempo training and studied bojutsu and other fighting arts as well.
From Sakugawa comes the kata Kusanku, the bo kata Sakugawa No Kun, and the concept of the dojo kun (dojo etiquette).
Many historians believe that one of Sakugawa's students was the famous Sokon "Bushi" Matsumura.
MACHU HIGA (1790-1870)
Like many of the leading martial artists of' his time, Machu Higa served as a bodyguard for the Ryukyuan royal family for which he was awarded the title Peichin, signifying membership in the Okinawan Shizoku (equivalent to the Japanese Samurai class).
Higa was an expert in bojutsu, saijutsu, tonfajutsu, and a pioneer in the early development of Karate. According to some historians, among his students was Ufuchiku Kanakushiku (Sanda Kinjo).

The father of Okinawan Karate, Sokon "Bushi" (Warrior) Matsumura was the first to systemize Shuri-te from which the various Shorin-ryu styles have come down to us today. Born into a prominent family in Shuri, Matsumura was a good scholar and athlete. He learned the fundamentals of te as a young boy (customary for upper class youths of the time) and later, according to many historians, began his formal martial arts training under Tode Sakugawa. From Sakugawa he is said to have learned use of the bo and the kata Kusanku. While serving as a bodyguard and martial arts instructor to the last three Ryukyuan kings, Matsumura made a number of official visits to China and Japan where he studied Chinese boxing and Japanese swordsmanship. Following retirement from service to the royal family, Matsumura taught Karate in Shuri. Among his many noteworthy students were Itosu Yatsutsune, Kentsu Yabu, Chomo Hanashiro, Gichin Funakoshi, Chotoku Kyan, and Nabe Matsumura. 
Sokon Matsumura is credited with having originated or having developed important variations of many of the Shorin-ryu katas practiced today: Chinto, Wansu, Passai, Seisan, and others.

Like Sokon Matsumura of Shuri-te, the Karate that developed in the vicinity of Shuri, Kosaku Matsumora was a leading practitioner, developer, and teacher of Tomari-te, the Karate that developed around Tomari village. Although Tomari-te has not survived as a distinct system, many of its katas and techniques are incorporated within the Shorin-ryu styles of today. It is believed that Matsumora learned the principles of Chinese boxing from a Chinese hermit who'd been shipwrecked on Okinawa and lived in a cave near Tomari. Some historians believe he may also have learned techniques from a student of Tode Sakugawa. Among Matsumora's students, who went on to influence new generations through students of their own, were Choki Motobu and Chotoku Kyan. 

Perhaps the greatest teacher in the history of Karate, Yasutsune "Anko" Itosu simplified many of the ancient katas, created several new ones of his own, and pioneered teaching methods that would revolutionize the art by making its study easier and less dangerous for future generations. For this, he is recognized as the father of modern Karate.
Born in Shuri, Itosu began his Karate training at an early age under Sokon Matsumura and subsequently trained under several other teachers, possibly including Kosaku Matsumora of Tomari. Well-educated in Chinese and Japanese literature, Itosu served as a translator to Sho Tai, the last of the Ryukyuan kings, until Sho Tai's fall from power in 1879.
In 1901, Itosu first introduced Karate into the physical education curriculum of the Okinawan public school system. This was a crucial step in transforming the public --Perception of Karate as a feudalistic killing art to one in which the emphasis was -in health and spiritual well-being.
Itosu created the original Pinan (peaceful mind) katas, shodan through godan, practiced today in various forms by virtually all Shorin-ryu styles.
A list of Itosu's students reads like a who's who of famous Karate masters and includes: Gichin Funakoshi, Chomo Hanashiro, Chotoku Kyan, Chosin Chibana, Kentsu Yabu, Choki Motobu, Kenwa Mabuni, and Shigeru Nakamura
Born in Shuri, Sanda Kinjo was a pioneering Karate and Kobudo expert who served as personal bodyguard to the last of Okinawa's reigning king's, Sho Tai, until the king's fall from power in 1879. Following his service with the royal family, Kinjo was appointed Ufuchiku (police commissioner) of Shuri and taught his techniques to the police force while slowly developing and perfecting his own system known as Ufuchiku Kobujutsu. Upon his death, Ufuchiku passed stewardship of his system to his senior student, Shosei Kina. 
Like Yasutsune Itosu with whom he was good friends, Kanryo Higashionna is regarded as one of the most influential Karate instructors in Okinawan history. As a leading developer and master of Naha-te, Higashionna laid the foundation for Goju-ryu which was subsequently formalized by his senior student, Chojun Miyagi. Kanryo Higashionna (also spelled Higaonna) was born in Naha to a very poor family. He learned the basics of te as a youth and began studying tode at the age of 16 under a local teacher named Arakaki. At the age of 22, he went to Fuchou, China where he remained for somewhere between 10-16 years mastering Chinese boxing. Upon his return to Okinawa, he began teaching his art while continuing to develop it into what became known as Naha-te. Higashionna is credited with introducing and popularizing the kata Sanchin on Okinawa, as well as the Sanchin method of breathing. Among Higashionna's most important students were Chojun Miyagi, founder of Goju-ryu, and Kenwa Mabuni, founder of Shito-ryu. 
NABE MATSUMURA (1850?-1943?)
Little is known of Nabe Matsumura except that he was a prominent Karate master of his time and that, as the grandson of the great Sokon Matsumura, he became successor to the family system when Sokon died thereby serving as a link between the old masters and those of the present day. Though born of an upper class shizoku family, Nabe Matsumura was reduced by poverty as an adult to pulling a rickshaw for a living. He was also employed to guard the city of Gaja and its neighboring farmlands against thieves and poachers. Nabe Matsumura taught very few students the most important of whom was his nephew, Hohan Soken, who began training under him at the age of 13. Matsumura drilled Soken in the basics of Karate and Kobudo for ten years before finally revealing to the young man, at the age of 23, the secrets of the Hakutsuru (White Crane) kata-a soft form that incorporates deceptive body-shifting and fosters inner Dower not related to muscular strength. 

YABU KENTSU (1865-1945)
A prominent Shorin-ryu master, Kentsu Yabu was known for his fighting ability. It is said that he never lost a fight, beating even the great Choki Motobu in a famous challenge match. Yabu began his Karate training under Sokon "Bushi" Matsumura and later continued under Matsumura's top student, Yasutsune Itosu. His classmates under these two teachers included such future masters as Chomo Hanashiro, Gichin Funakoshi, and Chotoku Kyan. Yabu was one of the first ever to teach Karate in the Okinawa school system (under Itosu's supervision) and, in 1927, traveled to Hawaii where he taught Karate for almost a year before returning to Okinawa. During the Sino-Japanese war (1894-95), Yabu fought on the Chinese mainland as a sergeant in the Japanese army. From this experience came his ferocious fighting style as well as the nickname "The Sergeant" which remained with him for the rest of his life. Though Yabu was never defeated, he never hurt an opponent except in war. Among his students was Shigeru Nakamura,
founder of Okinawa Kempo. 

CHOYU MOTOBU (1867-1930)
 Choyu Motobu, the first-born son of a ranking lord and a descendent of the Ryukyuan King Sho Shitsu (reigned 1648-1669), was trained in go-ten-te (palace hand), the secret martial art of the royal family which had been handed down within the Motobu family from father to first-born son for eleven generations. it was a soft art incorporating many throws and grappling techniques and lacking formal stances, blocks, and katas. Born in Shuri, Choyu Motobu served as a martial arts instructor to the last of the Okinawan kings, Sho Tai, who reigned from 1848 until 1879 when the Japanese deposed the Ryukyuan imperial family. Choyu's own first-born son had died early, his second-born had no interest in preserving the art, so, with the end of the Okinawan royal lineage, Choyu broke with tradition and taught his system to a family outsider, Seikichi Uehara, who named it Motobu-ryu. 

 Another Shorin-ryu master, Chomo Hanashiro was a classmate of Kentsu Yabu, Gichin Funakoshi, and Chotoku Kyan under Bushi Matsumura and Yasutsune Itosu. Like Yabu, Hanashiro was one of first to teach Karate in the Okinawa public school system under Itosu's supervision. It was during this time that he taught Shigeru Nakamura at the Prefectural Number One School. As a Karate practitioner, Hanashiro was known for his strength and flawless technique. As a teacher, he was known for his emphasis on fundamentals. His favorite kata was Jion. 


Called the father of Japanese Karate, Gichin Funakoshi founded Shotokan, one of the most popular styles of Karate in the world today. Born in Shuri, Funakoshi began his Karate training under Yasutsune Asato and later Yasutsune Itosu, both students of the great Sokon "Bushi" Matsumura. Funakoshi himself also occasionally trained with Matsumura. Unlike most Karate masters of the time, Funakoshi was well-educated and brought a refined, philosophic approach to Karate that attracted the attention of intellectuals and educators on the Japanese mainland. In 1922, he gave a demonstration at the Butokuden (Martial Virtues Hall) in Kyoto after which he remained in Japan to spread his art. At the age of 53 he embarked upon what he came to consider his destiny. In his teaching, Funakoshi emphasized basic technique, kata training, and perfection of the individual through "do" or "the way". He is credited with the famous saying: "Karate ni sente - There is no first attack in Karate." 

To Sensei Funakoshi karate was a system of self-defense and physical conditioning, not of competition



Following, several well known instructions by Gichin Funakoshi. Apparently the translation of these is insufficient to convey the true meaning. But for those interested still an effort in English.

Karate do wa rei ni hajimari, rei ni owaru koto no wasuruna.
'Karate begins and ends with respect.'

Karate ni sente nashi
'The first attack does not exist in karate.'

Karate wa gi no tasuke
'Karate is of great importance for (maintaining) justice.'

Mazu jiko wo shire, shikoshite tao wo shire
'First know yourself, then someone else.'

Gijutsu yori shinjutsu
'First the mind/spirit, then the technique.'

Kokoro wa hanatan koto wo yosu
'Always be prepared to let go of your thoughts.'

Wazawai wa getai ni shozu
'Accidents always happen because of lazyness.'

Dojo nomino karate to omou na
'Do not think that karate trainings only take place in the dojo.'

Karate no shugyo wa issho de aru
'It takes a life time to learn karate; there is no end to it.'

Arai-yuro mono wp karate-ka seyo, soko ni myo-mi ari
'Include karate every day into your life and you'll find 'myo'.'

Karate ea yu no goto shi taezu natsudo wo atezareba mopto no mizu ni kaeru.
'Karate is like hot water. If you donnot heat it up constantly it will become cold again.'

Katsu kangae wa motsu na makenu kangaer wa hisuyo
'Don't think of winning, rather think of not loosing.'

Tekki ni yotte tenka seyo
'The victory depends on your power as to see the differences between vulnerable and unvulnerable points.'

Taatakai we kyo-jitsu no soju iken na eri.
'The fight depends on how you move, protected or unprotected (move dependent of your opponent).'

Hito no te ashi wo ken to omoe
'Consider your hand and feet as swords.'

Danshi mon wo izureba hyakuman no tekki ari
'If you leave home do think there are many enemies waiting for you. It is your posture that invites difficulties.'

Kamae wa shoshinsha ni ato wa shizentai
'Beginners have to qualify in low standings. A common/natural body bearing is for the advantaged.'

Kata wa tadashiku jissen wa betsu mono
'Learning a kata is one thing, to have a real fight is something else.'

Chikara no kyojaku, karada no shinshuku, waza no kankyu wa wasuruna
'Always remember: 1) strength and weakness in power, 2) stretch and together towing of the body and 3) sloweness and speed in technics. (Execute this the correct way).’

Tsune ni shinen kufy seyo
'Always think of, and look for ways to live to the 20 instructions.’

CHOTOKU KYAN (1869-1945)

kyanup.jpg (6816 bytes)

A legendary master even during his own lifetime, Chotoku Kyan was an important teacher who fathered a long line of Shorin-ryu styles.     Kyan was born in Shuri and learned the basics of Karate from his father. Around the age of twenty, he sought additional instruction from a number of prominent masters including Sokon "Bushi" Matsumura and Yara Chatan of Shuri- and Kokan Oyadomari and Kosaku Matsumora of Tomari-te. Nicknamed "Chan Mi-gwa" (small-eyed one) because of his permanent squint, Kyan was small and thin but became an expert in techniques such as side-stepping and bodychanging that would be most advantageous for a small man.     Kyan taught Karate at his home, at the Okinawa Prefectural Agricultural School, and at the Kadena Police station. Among his students were Shoshin Nagamine, founder of Matsubayashi Shorin-ryu; Zenryo Shimabukuro, who carried on Kyan's art; and Tatsuo Shimabuku, founder of Isshin-ryu.     Kyan's favorite katas were Passai, Chinto, and Kusanku. He was known for his evasive
tactics and, though often challenged, was never defeated in a fight.

CHOU MOTOBU (1870-1944) 
 Choki Motobu is perhaps the most controversial of all the great Karate masters. He first gained notoriety as a bully and a braggart, and, though in later life he adopted a more humble attitude, he was never able to outlive his earlier reputation. Like his brother Choyu, Choki Motobu was born in Shuri, but, being his father's third son, was never taught the family's martial arts system. Instead, he picked up the basics of te by peeking through dojo fences and trained himself on the makiwara. He lifted rocks to develop strength and earned the nickname "Saru" (monkey) for his exceptional leaping ability. He also practiced fighting by brawling in the streets every night with anyone who'd accommodate him. Though he briefly trained with Itosu and Kosaku Matsumora, his over-aggressiveness caused both associations to be short-lived. Late in life, Choki underwent a profound change in attitude. Seeking the true meaning of Karate-do, he dedicated himself to a serious study of kata under Yabu Kentsu, one of the few
men who'd ever beaten him in fighting. Choki's favorite kata was Naihanchi which he claimed was the only kata required for a mastery of Karate. He remains best known for his kumite however, and, up until his death, other masters sent their students to him specifically to learn his free-fighting techniques. Choki Motobu's famous students include Shoshin Nagamine, founder of Matsu bayashi-r y u; Shigeru Nakamura, founder of Okinawan Kempo; and Tatsuo Shimabuku, founder of Isshin-ryu. 

CHOSIN CHIBANA 1885 - 1969 
Choshin Chibana was born on June 5, 1885, at Tottori-cho in Shuri City, Okinawa. He began his karate training with Yasutsune "Ankoh" Itosu in 1900 with whom he studied until Itosu's death on January 26, 1915.
In 1920 Chibana opened his first dojo in Tottori-bori and later a second in Kumo-cho Naha where he instructed until he suspended his teaching during WWII.
After the war Chibana resumed formal teaching in Giho-cho which is a section of Shuri City. During the 1950's he maintained his dojo as well as a position as the Chief Karate Instructor for the Shuri City Police Dept. and in May 1956 his accomplishments were recognized by his appointment as the first president of the Okinawa Karate-Do Association.
Chibana's reputation as a karate master continued to spread, not only in Okinawa but also in mainland Japan. By and in Prior to his death in Ohama Hospital on 26 February 1969 from cancer Sensei Chibana was recognized with honors such as:
1957- Title of Hanshi (High Master) from the Dai Nippon Butokukai (The Greater Japan Martial Virtue Association)
1960- received the First Sports Award from the Okinawa Times Newspaper for his accomplishments in the study and practice of traditional Okinawan Karate-do
1968- awarded the 4th Order of the Sacred Treasure (KUNYONTO) by the Emperor of Japan in recognition of his devotion to the study and practice of Okinawan karate-do.
CHOJUN MIYAGI (1888-1952)

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A Karate pioneer and innovator, Chojun Miyagi built upon the Naha-te of his teacher, Kanryo Higashionna, to develop his own style: Goju-ryu.     Born the son of a wealthy shop owner in Naha, Miyagi began his training at age It under Ryuko Aragaki through whom he later met Higashionna. He began training with Higashionna, at age 14 and stayed with him for 15 years until the master's death in 1916. Shortly before Higashionna, died, Miyagi followed in his footsteps by going to China to study Kempo for a year.     After Higashionna's death, Miyagi began to take on students and develop Higashionna's karate into his own style blending in new elements he'd learned in China. He taught at the Prefectural Police School dojo, at the Naha Courthouse, the Prefectural Physical Culture Association, the Prefectural Teachers' Training College, and at numerous colleges and universities on the Japanese mainland. In addition, he taught in Hawaii and in Shanghai.     During a demonstration at the Butokuden on the Japanese
mainland in 1937, Miyagi named his style Go-ju, meaning hard-soft.     Miyagi created the katas Gekisai ichi and ni and the kata Tensho. Among his top students were Jinan Shinzato, Meitoku Yagi, Eilchi Miyazato, Seikichi Toguchi, and Seiko Higa. Though he lost everything, including three children, in an air raid on Naha in WWII, he continued teaching Karate until his death. 

KENWA MABUNI (1890-1952) 
Among the first Okinawan masters to teach on mainland Japan, Kenwa Mabuni founded Shito-ryu, one of the four main styles of Karate studied in Japan today.     Born into the shizoku (samurai) class, Mabuni began training at the age of 13 under Shuri-te master Yasutsune Itosu Naha-te master Kanryo Higashionna.     Mabuni combined elements of the two styles to form Hanko-ryu (half-hard style) which he later renamed in tribute to his teachers, using the Chinese character shi ("ito" in Itosu) and to ("higa" in Higashionna), to form Shito-ryu.     Mabuni taught throughout Okinawan and, in 1929, moved permanently to Japan where he taught regularly at Japanese universities and police departments.


 Founder of Okinawa Kempo, Shigeru Nakamura was a living legend and one of Okinawa's all time great Karate masters.     Born in the northern town of Nago, Nakamura learned the basics of te from his father who, unfortunately, died when Shigeru was only ten. He then trained under his uncle and his uncle's good friend, Choki Motobu. From Motobu, Nakamura learned free fighting and the kata Naihanchi.     Nakamura studied under Kentsu Yabu and Chomo Hanashiro, two of Itosu's students, at the Prefectural Number One School, and, upon entering the Prefectural Teachers' Training College, was able to study with Itosu himself.     Eventually, Nakamura opened his own dojo, simply calling his style Okinawa-te as he disliked the idea of Karate being divided into separate styles. Later, in an attempt to unite all Okinawan Karate and raise its status to that of Japanese kendo and judo, he formed the Okinawa Kempo Association and served as its president. Though the association disbanded upon Nakamura's death, his students
retained the name Okinawa Kempo for their style. 


Another important innovator, Tatsuo Shimabuku developed Isshin-ryu to correct what he felt were deficiencies in the Karate styles he had studied. Born in Shuri, Shimabuku began his study of the martial arts under Choki Motobu. Shortly thereafter, Shimabuku also began training with Chotoku Kyan and, within a few short years, had become highly proficient in Shorin-ryu. Still eager to learn, he then sought out Goju founder and teacher Chojun Miyagi with whom he trained for another several years. As his reputation grew, Shimabuku began teaching students of his own. With the bombing of Okinawa in WWII, Shimabuku lost everything he owned and Red to mainland Japan where he worked as a farmer and continued to train privately. It was during this time that he first thought about his own Karate style. After the war, Shimabuku returned to Okinawa and resumed teaching Karate to a small group of students. As he taught, he combined what he felt were the best elements of Goju-ryu (as learned from Miyagi) and
Shorin-ryu (as learned from Kyan) to found Isshin-ryu in 1953. Isshin-ryu, meaning "one-heart" system, is one of the most popular styles practiced in the United States today. 

A bulwark against the tides of change, Zenryo Shimabukuro strived to preserve the classic Karate of Chotoku Kyan and, in so doing, became one of the most respected masters of modern times. Born in Shuri, Shimabukuro began training under Chotoku Kyan at the age of 24 and remained with him until Kyan's death in 1945. After WWII, Shimabukuro opened a dojo in order to preserve Kyan's teaching. One of his early students, a member of the US Army, arranged for Shimabukuro to teach Karate to US Paratroopers, many of whom took Shimabukuro's Karate back to the United States. In 1960, Shimabukuro became president of the Okinawan branch of the All-Japan Karate-do Federation, though, due to internal politics, the Okinawan branch withdrew and formed the Okinawan Karate-do United Association of which Shimabukuro remained president. In 1967, the All-Okinawan Karate-do Federation was formed with the aim of preserving karate as a cultural tradition, and Shimabukuro served as vice president of this organization.
Shimabukuro named his dojo the Seibukan which means Holy Art School. 



Shugoro Nakazato was born in Nahn-city Okinawa on August 14, 1919. While attending normal school in Osaka Japan in 1935, he began his study of Karate at the age of 16 under the instruction of Ishu Selichl. Nakazato studied under Sensei Ishu for 6 years. During the war, he was in the Japanese Calvary.
After the war was over, Nakazato returned to his home in Okinawa to find his family a casualty of war. In June of 1946, he began his study of Karate under Choshin Chibana, who was the Menkyo inheritor of Anko Itotsu. In 1948 Chibana's Shuri dojo closed but Nakazato continued his study with Master Chibana. For one year Chibana gave Nakazato personal tutoring at Chibana's home.
In 1951 Nakazato was instrumental in helping Chibana open his new DAI ICHI DOJO in Naha City at Matsuo. Chibana continued his personal tutoring of Nakazato at the Dai Ichi Dojo until January 10, 1954 when Nakazato received his Shihan Menkyojo at which ti me he became Master Chibana's Shihan Dai (assistant). After work as the Shihan Dai in the Dai Ichi Dojo under Chibana for one and half years, Nakazato was commissioned by Chibana to find the Shorin-Ryu. ShorinKan Nakazato dojo in Naha City at Aza.
Nakazato was appointed as one of the directors of the Okinawan Karate Federation when it was formed in 1956 with the four major (shiryuha) systems of Karate in Okinawa Goju-Ryu; Uechi-Ryu, Shorin-Ryu, Matsubayshi-Ryu. All during this time Nakazato devote d all of his time and energy to teaching and perfecting Shorin-Ryu Karate-do. In 1960 the Okinawan Karate Federation promoted him to Eight Degree Black Belt and Kyoshi. Seven years later Nakazato continued his climb to the top of the Shorin-Ryu hierarch y when Master Chibana and the Okinawa Shorin-Ryu Karate-do Kyokai promoted him to Hanshi and 9th Degree Black Belt.
Nakazato began his study of weapons almost from the beginning of his training in 1935. He was trained in the sai, bo, nunchaku, tonfa, and nicho kama, but he specialized in Bojutsu for 4 years. Throughout his career he has given of his knowledge very wi llingly. He has demonstrated his technique of Karate all over the world, in Europe, India, Africa, mainland Japan, and he has made at least 8 trips to America. He has appeared on television many times and is often a guest on the "Tokyo T.V. Afternoon Show." When Master Chibana passed away, Shugoro Nakazato inherited the Leadership of Okinawan Shorin-Ryu Karate-do, thus becoming a (10) TENTH DEGREE BLACK BELT.

Details of some masters :

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Your Left to Right Chotoku Kyan, Miyagi Chojun, Choki Motobu, & Taira Shinken

Master Chotoku Kyan :
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Was born in 1870, to a very wealthy family in Shuri, Okinawa, the cradle of Karate. At the tender age of five he was taught the empty hand art of self-defense from his father Chofu Kyan and his grandfather. Every morning Kyan was required to perform specific exercises by his grandfather, who had a very discerning eye and required nothing less than perfection. Being born into a rich family he was able to devote all of his time studying the martial arts and was sent to the best Okinawan Karate teachers available. 

In those days, a Karate Sensei had only three or four Kata, therefore Master Kyan went to many teachers in hope of gaining a well rounded view of the art. Kyan's father was an official of the King, and because of this Kyan was able to gain instruction from many of the great Teachers in Okinawa. Sokon Matsumura of Shuri was at that time the Karate Teacher of the King. Matsumura taught Master Kyan the Kata, "Seisan" and "Gojushiho". Kyan learned the most from Matsumora (Shorin-Ryu teacher of Tomari) including the kata "Chinto". Another great teacher of Tomari was Pechin Maeda. Kyan studied quite a while under Maeda Sensei and learned the Kata "Wansu". He learned the Kata, "Passai", under Pechin Oyadomari Kokan of Tomari. Pechin was a title, given to someone in employment of the King. The next teacher Kyan studied with was the small 4ft, 10 inches tall, Yara of Chatan, a power packed dynamite of a man. Chatan Yara Sensei taught Kyan the longest and most beautiful Kata "Kusanku". Some times known as "Yara no
Kusanku". His last teacher was Tokumine, who was reputed to be the best Bo, (Staff) man on Okinawa. Sensei Kyan traveled to the island of Yaeyama and studied the Bo and the Bo-Kata "Tokumine no Kon". 

After completing his apprenticeship under the six famous Okinawan Shorin-Ryu masters, Kyan started to teach the art at his home. In the 1920's Kyan traveled to mainland Japan to promote the art. On his return he visited Taiwan on a martial arts exchange tour of Okinawan and Chinese Martial Arts. Being proficient in both arts, Kyan invented his own Kata "Ananku". In the late 1920's Kyan moved to the village of Kadena due to personal and financial problems. There he taught a small number of devoted students who were introduced by friends and city officials. One student, Zenryo Shimabukuro of Chatan was introduced by a school headmaster and accepted as a student. Zenryo Shimabukuro studied 10 years under the tutelage of Master Kyan until Kyan's death. Food was scarce during WWII and whatever food master Kyan obtained, he gave to the children. He felt it was his duty to take care of those who could not take care of themselves. In 1945 at the age of 75 grandmaster Kyan passed away from hunger. 
Master Zenryo Shimabukuro:
1Oth Dan Red Belt, the foremost disciple of Sensei Chotoku Kyan. Master Zenryo Shimabukuro, a baker by trade, was only 5 feet, 2 inches tall, but he was a very strong man. After completing 10 years of Karate as a private student under the great Master Chotoku Kyan, he began teaching. During World War II all karate instruction had ceased. With the end of the war he resumed active teaching. Early in his career as a karate teacher Shimabukuro Sensei had no Dojo (training hall). All his instruction was conducted outside of his home, with a small group of students, one being his son Zenpo (presently Supreme Sensei of this style) and his nephew Zenji Shimabukuro.  

In 1962 he built his own Dojo and named it Seibukan (Holy Art School). Seibukan radiates Sensei Shimabukuro’s philosophy of Karate. He was a highly respected member of his community and received many certificates of appreciation from city officials for his work for the betterment of the Okinawan people. 

In 1964 he was awarded the highest rank in Karate by the All Okinawan Karate-do Federation, the 10th Dan Red Belt. Master Zenryo Shimabukuro developed Karate to a very high level in Okinawa. He was also one of the founding members of the Chubu Shorin Ryu, which was a very strong association. During the American occupation of Okinawa, he was persuaded to teach American service men stationed in Okinawa karate and thus spreading the art to the United States and other countries. A small man, but a giant in the world of Karate, Master Zenyro Shimabukuro died in 1969 at the age of 61 of appendicitis. Today his son Sensei Zenpo Shimabukuro continues where his father left off. 


Hanshi Zenpo Shimabukuro :
Hanshi, 9th Degree Black Belt and Supreme Instructor of the International Seibukan Shorin Ryu Karate Association was born in Chatan Cho, Okinawa, on October 11, 1943. He was the fourth of five children of Master Zenryo Shimabukuro. His father was the student of Master Chotoku Kyan, and founded the Seibukan Shorin Ryu (Sukunaihayashi) School in July of 1962 in Jagaru, Okinawa.  Hanshi Zenpo Shimabukuro was born during a period in history when the island of Okinawa was preparing for W.W.II. One of his sisters died as the war was beginning and a younger brother died shortly after the war ended. During the course of the war, the Shimabukuro family lost everything they owned. 

As the attack on Okinawa began, the family moved to the northern area of the island and did not return to the central part until after the war. Before W.W.II, Master Zenryo Shimabukuro was a baker and tatami maker by trade. For a short time after the war he worked for the United States military, then resumed his profession as a baker, and also as a city government official. Hanshi Zenpo Shimabukuro assisted his father with the teaching of Seibukan karate on US military bases and helped construct the Seibukan Dojo in Jagaru. 

Hanshi Shimabukuro graduated from Futema High School in March of 1962, and in September 1963, upon request of his father, left to go to the United States to teach Sukunaihayashi karate-do to Seibukan students. He lived and taught karate in Philadelphia, Pa. and is noted in Okinawan karate history as one of the very first Okinawan Sensei to teach karate-do in America. 

During his three and one-half year stay in the Pennsylvania area, Hanshi Zenpo Shimabukuro entered and won first place in kata competition at the Jhoon Rhee International Tournament, and finished second in kumite. He also won the Canadian National Championships Kumite competition in 1964, along with the Pennsylvania State Championships kumite division. Hanshi Shimabukuro not only was one of the first Okinawan/Japanese to teach in America but was the first to compete in the tournaments and win convincingly. 

In 1966, Hanshi Shimabukuro returned to Okinawa to help his father with the Seibukan honbu dojo, and became Supreme Instructor over the Seibukan Karate-do System upon his father's death in October of 1969. 

In 1975, the International Seibukan Karate-do Association was formed. Sensei Shimabukuro returned to America that year for a three month stay in the Mississippi area to meet with prominent United States Seibukan Sensei and begin the formalities of organizing International Seibukan. During this time Seibukan students in America, Japan, Malaysia, Germany, Poland, South America, the Middle East, and India realized the need for his regular visits to update and standardize their karate techniques and katas. Because of his ability to speak and write English, he used his skills to share with English speaking karate-ka around the world, his great knowledge of karate-do. 

Since Hanshi Shimabukuro's initial visit to the United States, he has returned nine times, with the most recent being his demonstration at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. The demonstration was followed by a historic seminar conducted by Hanshi Shimabukuro and four other Hanshi from Okinawa, representing different Okinawan disciplines, to over 260 black belts. This trip and seminar laid the foundation for Okinawan karate-ka to work together for a common goal, to spread Okinawan Karate throughout the world. 

Hanshi Shimabukuro is married, and now has a family of five children, three girls and two boys. He is very successful real estate developer, and along with his wife own a restaurant and have various other business interests. He continues to teach karate and holds offices in three different Okinawan karate associations, and serves on the board of directors of the Nago Crippled Children's Home. Hanshi Shimabukuro gives freely of his time and resources to help his community. He also encourgaes those who lack strong bodies to practice the art of Karate-do. 

Hanshi Shimabukuro has branch schools in sixteen foreign countries dedicated to the preservation of Seibukan Karate-do, and his goal is the continuation of the Association's international growth, and the expansion of his father's teachings.


Sensei Jamal Bin Measar :

Holding a 6th Dan in Okinawan Karate, 5th Dan in Okinawan Kobudo and 6th Dan in Aikido, is one of the most highly respected Karatekas in many parts of the world today. His strenuous schedule of seminars has made him an ambassador in the world of Martial Arts, taking to Europe and Russia, Asia, the Middle East and Australia. 

Born on July, 29. 1949 in Malaysia, Jamal Measara first studied Selembam (Indian Martial Arts) at the tender age of 10, unfortunately his master passed away in a car accident before he could complete his training. With no other choice left, Jamal Measara took up boxing at the British Military Camp where his father was employed. Young Measara achieved the title "State Junior Champion" but his boxing career came to an end when the British had to return to England. 

For a short time Measara had no choice but to take up weighttraining until a Shito-ryu Karate Dojo was opened in his city. The young karateka was the first among 300 students to enroll. Due to various circumstances he had to switch to many different styles of Karate: Shotokan, Goju-Ryu, Keishinkan, Budokan and at last Shorin-ryu, to which he is still practicing and teaching today. During this period he was also involved in Kobudo and Aikijitsu (later Aikido). In Karate he was consequently National Champion for couple of years and represented his country for the 2nd World Championship in Paris; he was also very successful in Allstyle Full Contact Tournaments. 

Retiring from a successful tournament career he took up Todo (Shindo Muso- Ryu) under the tutelage of the well known Professor Don. F. Draeger Sensei, who later also became a close friend. He helped Sensei Draeger as a translater in Malay, Chinese and Indian languages for the magazine M.A.I., and at the same time he learned about the History of Martial Arts from this living encyclopedia. 

He is not only an accomplished Martial Artist, but also a great organizer and teacher; Jamal Measara was one of the founding members of the Malaysian Karate Body. Before leaving for Germany he coached the National team for two years. 

From 1980 onwards he has built up Shorin-ryu Karate- and Kobudo-Dojos in many parts of Europe. He also teaches Aikido and Selembam in his dojo. Other then Karate and Kobudo, he still continues to practice Selembam under his 2nd teacher Mahaguru Arumugam and practice Aikido under Sensei Tambi. Measara teaching-experience has extended for 30 years and he plans to continue for many years to come .




Okinawan Shorin-ryu Karate Kata List





This kata used to be called Chatan-Yara No Sai. The Toeyea kata were created by Grand Master Eizo Shimabukoro.

Note: The Naihanchin, Seisan, Gojushiho, Chinto, Kusanku-Sho, Kusanku-Dai, Pasai-Sho, and Pasai-Dai kata were passed down by Soken Matsumura (1796-1882). Some people believe that all of the Pinan kata were created by Yasutune ("Ankoh") Itosu (1830-1915). Itosu was a highly educated professor and was responsible for the introduction of karate into the Okinawan public school system. Some people believe Itosu created the Pinan kata from the Kusanku kata, while others believe Itosu created the Pinan kata from a Chinese form called Chiang Nan.

  While other people say that Itosu made the last 3 Pinan katas, but Matsumura made the first two. Matsumura is said to have created the first two Naihanchi kata. Some people believe Choki Motobu made Naihanchi Sandan. Most of these katas have links to the Fukien crane. Wansu and Ananku are from Taiwan; they were passed down by Hanshi Kyan (1870-1945). Seiyuchin and Sanchin were created by Kanryo Higashionna (1851-1915).

The Kata of Shorin-ryu Seibukan :

[ Kim Mitrunen & Tommi Prami  
Email : Tommi Prami
Published here by permission of Finland Shorin-ryu Seubukan.]


kata has been defined as a person “fighting against imaginary opponents.” This claim, to some extent is true, but at the same it is also misleading. It might be better to depict kata as “a handbook of self-defense techniques.” By viewing it this way, a better picture of kata will emerge. Kata is indeed an encyclopedia of techniques, helping to recall techniques that an ancient master thought necessary to perfect. In ancient times, kata was a way to preserve techniques that might have been used to protect one’s life. A master places in his kata ideas on how one can fight effectively against a common street fighter or armed assailant.

Techniques of kata were meant to be tools against an opponent in a dangerous situation, a situation that might occur in the daily course of life. In some literature about the beginnings of karate, it is stated that the art was developed out a need to defend oneself against the attack of an armed samurai. To some extent this is true, but when you review the practical applications of kata techniques, you discover many grabbing, grappling, punching, and pressure point techniques. Most of which are used in close in fighting situations.

When karate increased in popularity on mainland Japan, a move to modify it to a position similar to Kendo and Judo, was endorsed. This changed the kata in form and bunkai (application of technique). Competition and militaristic doctrines forced traditional Okinawan karate to change and conform to the mainland Japan philosophy of “martial arts.” The focus had changed from a sole form of self-defense and character building, to a blend of self-defense, art (karate-do), sport, and nationalistic spirit.

As time passed, karate was vastly becoming a tournament sport event. Techniques from the master’s kata were being lost in favor of point kumite and tournament style kata. Traditional self-defense kata and techniques were disappearing, and people that were in search of good traditional karate arts were hard pressed to find it. Except on a small island south of mainland Japan, Okinawa.

On this island, traditional karate was still being practiced and taught. Here ancient masters like Chotoku Kyan, were practicing karate-do. They not only trained on the perfection and polishing of kata forms, but also the practice of bunkai, or kata technique applications. Usually with was done with a partner, which differs from the more modern day jiyu kumite. This form of training was considered as important as the kata itself. Many Okinawan masters, like Choki Motobu, proved that this kind of training had effective uses.  This type of traditional training is preserved, intact, in the Seibukan Shorin-ryu karate-do system of the Shimabukuro Zenryo lineage.

Maeda Chiku taught this Tomari-te lineage kata to Chotoku Kyan. Wansu is rather short, but technically difficult kata, much different than Seisan or Ananku. It contains many techniques where block and counters are made simultaneously. Also Wansu contains it’s trademark “hard” technique, the effective use of kataguruma (fireman’s carry) throw. 

Wan-Su (Wang-ji or Wang ch'i) was the name of a Chinese Crane practitioner who came to Okinawa in 1683, and taught his art. Apparently, he had some connections with Shaolin. According to some sources, the kata Wan-Su and Wan-Su Dai were transmitted by him from China anciently, or at least the techniques in them. They are from a Shaolin Crane derivative. It is generally accepted that the kata were passed down Tomari-te lines. However, according to some sources, they were not exclusive to Tomari, because a Shuri-te practitioner by the name of Matsu Higa studied under Wan-Su. They are not Matsumura Kata. 

Wanshu kata was introduced into the Tomari district of Okinawa in 1683 by a Chinese envoy or Sappushi of that name. Sappushi were the official governmental contact between China and Okinawa. Following Wanshu, there is nearly a century gap until our knowledge of the development of Karate re-surfaces with Kung Shang K'ung or Kusanku. The ready positions in all other Shorin-ryu kata are quite different than the ready position in Wanshu. However, this position is consistent with many opening salutations in Chinese style forms. Historically, these postures were ways of identifying and differentiating between specific organizations. According to Grandmaster Nagamine, the hidden fist strike is the signature technique of this kata. Wanshu lived and worked in Tomari, and aside from his diplomatic responsibilities. He also instructed a small following of disciples in a style called Shaolin White Crane Fist Boxing. Wanshu taught the practitioner also develops the secrets of taking the opponent up and off his feet and throwing him to the ground. Many believe the original version of Wanshu was much longer than the modern kata, which derives from either Kyan or Itosu. 

   'Bunkai' - Applications of kata movements

[By : Kim Mitrunen & Tommi Prami  
Email : Tommi Prami ]

Bunkai is term used for "secret meanings" of kata movements. During the last 100 years Okinawa karate endured tremendous change. One of the results is almost complete lost of advanced karate techniques. Literally, all kata movements are explained as strikes or blocks. Some of them are useful, but some are "meaningless". Well, these "meaningless" movements are in fact advanced technique (joint locks, grappling, seizing, throwing, strangulations, weapon use...). Very few people from the West ever had a chance to learn old Okinawa art (Tode jutsu), so if you are not one of these, its better for you to start learning basics of jujutsu or aikido. Extensive practice of Bunkai techniques is reserved for higher belts. However, here are presented advanced techniques that we teach.

KANSETSU WASA (joint locks)
You can use these techniques for controlling your opponent. Joint locks are executed when joint is forced to move unnaturally (hyperextension, hyper-rotation, hyper flexion or combination). Most frequent result of these techniques is hyper torsion and joint dislocation. We practice 10-15 most effective kansetsu techniques, which are shown in katas: on wrist, elbow, shoulder, neck and knee.

NAGE WASA (throws and take downs)
It is much easier to control your opponent when he is off balanced. Nage wasa teaches various ways to make people fall. Sometimes you can use throw to defeat attacker (fall on head). We are teaching around 10 effective techniques, which are used in katas: foot sweeps, grabbing leg, shoulder throws, head manipulation, and sacrifice techniques...

TUITE WASA (seizing nerves, attacking tendons, grappling)
These are very painful techniques, which utilize various grabs, presses and pinches. It is very important to strengthen fingers and to be familiar with human anatomy. Tuite is usually combined with joint locking and throwing techniques. Most effective are:

Pinching - nose, ear, eyelid, lips, flank, inner thigh, nipple...

Grabbing - hair, throat, testicals and many muscles...

Pressing - eyes, behind ear, sternal notch...

SHIME WASA (deadly techniques)
Shime wasa are techniques applied on neck in order to kill someone. Death may occur as result of many techniques, but shime is most effective way. Because of possible misuse, I am not going to explain any details. We only teach this wasa to shodan level.
Shime wasa include (1) choking and (2) neck breaking techniques, which are usually used in "soft" manner for controlling of opponent.

NE WASA (ground fighting)
We are teaching some basic techniques and principles of fighting when you are on ground. You can come in this situation when someone throws you or if you fall by accident. Basics are: how to take down opponent in this situation, how to cover yourself from kicks and strikes, how to escape from ground chocking or some other type of hold and how to defeat opponent once when he is down.

KYUSHO (attacking anatomically vulnerable points)
Kyusho knowledge was kept as secret for centuries. It is necessary to learn basics of anatomy, physiology and first aid. Kyusho includes: positions of vulnerable points, use of proper impact tool and situation which is the best for applying technique to some point. There are 4 ways to use vital points: (1) strike or punch, (2) poke, (3) press and (4) grab or pinch. As result, several conditions may occur: pain, shock, respiratory disturbances, temporally parlays, hyper torsion, joint dislocation, bone fracture and internal bleeding.

KOBUDO (use of weapons)
We teach basics of Okinawa weapon use (bo, nunchaku, tonfa, tanto, tekko...). Kobudo principles can easily be transferred on any improvised weapon (pencil, belt, keys, screw driver, scissors, umbrella...). In addition, kobudo helps students to better conceive concepts of stances, movement, distance, central line, and kyusho....

The Kata of Seibukan  (Sukunaihayashi)

Fukyugata Ichi
Nagamine Shoshin

Master Nagamine Shoshin originally created Fukyugata Ichi. This kata is meant to be the first basic kata practiced, and contains basic movements of karate-do. Body dynamics are in basic sequence so that a beginner can easily understand them. Also basic punches and blocks are contained in this kata. A major characteristic of this kata is the use of choku dachi (legs straight stance). This version of the kata, along with the modified version of Fukyugata Ni, were developed in joint cooperation with other Okinawan member systems (Rengokai and Okinawa Prefecture), as a representation of traditional Okinawan styles, mainly for joint demonstrations and exhibitions. Due to the large difference in Okinawan style kata, stances, and movements, it was agreed upon to create the two kata solely for this purpose. 

Fukyugata Ni
Miyagi Chojun (Modification of Gekisai Dai Ichi)

Master Miyagi Chojun originally created this kata. Fukyugata Ni is also known as Gekisai Dai Ichi in Gojuryu.  The Goju-ryu kata, Gekisai Dai Ichi and Ni, were created by Miyagi sensei in 1940. In their development, he had two ideas in mind: Spiritual and physical development of the individual, and to increase the popularity of karate. It was also important to him that kata was suitable for everyone despite of age and physical condition. The name of kata is quite harsh because it means to “destroy.” Miyagi sensei chose the name to promote self-esteem of the young people, their training spirit, especially because they were living in hard times due to the war. Fukyugata Ni includes powerful and sharp techniques, and Miyagi himself emphasized that they should perform them with full speed and power. The main stance in this kata is sanchin dachi. This stance is made by slightly bending knees with toes pointed forward. Basic form two (Fukyugata Ni), is one level harder than the first. The series of movements and bunkai in this kata contain catching and throwing techniques.

 Seisan (Shuri-te)
Sokon Matsumura

Kyan Chotoku learned Seisan kata from Sokon Matsumura, the master of the Shuri-te branch. This kata contains long distance techniques like rensoku tsuki geri, which are representative of the shuri-te style. It was assumed that Seisan was the first kata taught to him by the great master Matsumura, and due to the age differences, was learned by Master Kyan at a tender age.  This kata still remains as the first major Sukunaihayashi lineage kata to be taught in Seibukan. Seisan is a powerful kata, where quick changes from shiko dachi to zenkutsu dachi come into its own as a source of power. This ancient form was a favorite of Master Zenryo Shimabukuro, and was performed by him in many exhibitions. Even at an advanced age, Master Zenryo Shimabukuro used this kata to demonstrate his excellent fitness.

Kyan Chotoku

It is speculated that Kyan Chotoku developed the Ananku kata. From several sources it is claimed that Ananku is Taiwanese in origin, and that Master Kyan brought it from Taiwan to Okinawa. However, the appearance of this kata is very Okinawan in form, movement, and technique. Many of the techniques, stances, and movements are representative of existing Sukunaihayashi kata.

Here is a brief comparative breakdown between similar individual movements in the kata, Ananku and other Sukunaihayashi kata:

In the Kyan lineage of kata, Seisan is taken from Shuri-te’s master, Sokon Matsumura. Movements, which were taken from the kata Wansu and Passai represent tomari-te, but Ananku seems to be more a mixture of Tomari-te and Shuri-te, rather than Taiwan/Chinese martial arts.

If this kata was created by Master Kyan, and designed to emphasize representative techniques of various systems he learned from, then a comparison can be drawn from his own students Zenryo Shimabukuro (Seibukan), in his Wanchin kata, and Tatsuo Shimabukuro (Isshinryu), in his Sunsu kata. 

Wansu (Tomari-te)
Maeda Pechin

Maeda Chiku taught this Tomari-te lineage kata to Chotoku Kyan. Wansu is rather short, but technically difficult kata, much different than Seisan or Ananku. It contains many techniques where block and counters are made simultaneously. Also Wansu contains it’s trademark “hard” technique, the effective use of kataguruma (fireman's carry) throw.

Passai (Tomari-te)
Oyadomari Kokan

Passai is an age-old form, and one of the oldest versions of this kata is Seibukan’s Oyadomari Passai. Passai is often explained as a low light or night fighting kata, because of it’s many sagurite (searching hand) techniques. The name of the kata means to “break through the fortress.” It might have received the name from the beginning movement where the defender throws a strong forward movement combined with an augmented chudan-uke, meant to unbalance of attacker. After this powerful start, the kata changes characteristics by making fast blocks and strikes with open hands to vulnerable points of human body. There are many angular movement changes, all quickly executed and in varying degrees. In the last part of the kata there is combination technique where the attack is avoided by ducking the opponents attacking arm, while simultaneously blocking the opponents other arm and striking a key point in the stomach region. By bending the body one can add extra power to the strike. This technique has disappeared in many of the modern karate style’s version of Passai.

Gojushiho (Shuri-te)    
Matsumura Sokon

This kata is sometimes referred to as the drunkard form, because it contains movements where the kata performer mocks a staggering move. As a result of this unorthodox and crafty technique, Gojushiho is noted for techniques that throw the opponent off, by surprise. This makes the Gojushiho kata different in appearance from the other kata represented within the Sukunaihayashi system. Notable bunkai techniques include throwing, crane style strikes, and attacks toward weak joint areas.

Zenryo Shimabukuro

Wanchin is the kata of Zenryo Shimabukuro. It is built from elements of other kata which sensei learned from Kyan Sensei. The Wanchin kata name is a combination of the kanji from Wansu and Chinto. Zenryo Sensei wanted the name to sound Chinese, thus Wanchin in the kanji writing. Zenryo Sensei believed strongly that simultaneous block and counter techniques were of primary importance. The movements of Wanchin kata demonstrate many of these types of techniques, taken from Passai, Seisan, Gojushiho and Kusanku.

Chinto (Tomari-te)
Kosaku Matsumora

Chinto is one of the treasures of Seibukan. This version of the kata is taught only to Seibukan family members. It was favorite kata of Kyan Sensei, and is undoubtedly a Sukunaihayshi kata.  It is taught at a higher level of student, usually in the Nidan class. This is partly due to the fact that it is a very demanding kata to perform, and the bunkai is hard to master. Ancient masters of Tomari were very fond of close combat techniques, and you can see these techniques in the Chinto kata. Many of the bunkai involve locking maneuvers, throws, all characteristic of close combat type of techniques.

Kusanku (Shuri-te)
Yara Pechin (Yomitan)

Kusanku is the longest and most difficult of Sukunaihayashi kata. It is also the most beautiful kata of our style. This is a favorite of Hanshi Shimabukuro Zenpo, and he freely demonstrates it at all exhibitions, seminars and demonstrations, always receiving admiration from the audience!

Tokumine No Kun
Tokumine Pechin

Tokumine No Kun was the only weapon kata passed on by Kyan sensei. It is assumed that it was the only weapon kata that he had formally learned. The “colorful” master, Tokumine Pechin, on the Yaeyama Islands taught this kata to him. This particular version of bo (staff) kata is quite rare, even on Okinawa.

Additional Kata of Seibukan System
For many years, Master Chozo Nakama was a close friend to the Shimabukuro family. He was also one of the foremost disciples of Master Chibana Chosin, as well as having the honor to know for many years, the famous Okinawan fighter, Choki Motobu. Because Nakama Sensei was humble, modest and an honorable master of karate, his name did not become very well known in the modern day martial arts world. Master Zenryo Shimabukuro encouraged his son, Zenpo Shimabukuro, and his nephew Zenji Shimabukuro, to train under one of greatest Okinawan martial art’s sensei, Chozo Nakama. Through formal introduction and request, both were accepted as students of this great master.

The following list of kata contain the forms that were learned by Hanshi Zenpo Shimabukuro, and are now part of the kata syllabus in the Seibukan system. Movements and bunkai of this kata have not been changed to fit the Seibukan form of techniques, and are preserved as Hanshi Shimabukuro learned them from Master Nakama. This can be seen in the stances and delivery of technique. When comparing these to other of Nakama and Motobu student’s version of the kata, you will see they are very much alike.

 Pinan 1-5 (Itosu no Pinan)
Itosu Anko, who was a sensei to schoolchildren, developed this series of kata. Itosu took elements from different kata, Kusanku for example, and incorporated them in the series of forms. It is interesting to note there is mention that elements of the old Channan kata located in the techniques of the Pinan series. In Okinawa, there are still some teachers who say that they still know how the kata Channan is performed, but the likelihood is that the kata does not exist in complete form anymore. The Pinan series contains many high stances like choku dachi and narrow stances like neko ashi dachi. There exist many basic foundation maneuvers in the Pinan kata, as well as many basic techniques, presented in an easier format than the complete traditional kata they came from.    In many mainstream Japanese styles, Pinan is known as Heian. Funakoshi Gichin made this name change. His philosophy was to teach Pinan Nidan first because he felt it was an easier transition into the Pinan series.

 Naifanchi 1-3 (Motobu no Naifanchi)
The Naifanchi (Daipochin) kata comes from the famous Okinawan karate-ka, Choki Motobu, who is famous for his actual active testing of bunkai in real fighting situations. This sometimes happened by suspicious means, and many a teacher would watch this kind of conduct with disapproving eyes. It was said that Choki Motobu knew only three kata, the Naifanchi series, Wansu, and Passai Guwa. Motobu for the most part, was victorious in his use of the kata bunkai. In many Shorin-ryu styles, Naifanchi (Heishugata) acts as foundation to further kata (Kaishugata) like Sanchin in the Goju-ryu system. Master Tatsuo Shimabukuro, the founder of Isshin-ryu (blend of Goju-ryu and Shorin-ryu), was quoted as saying that, "Naifanchi is mother to Shorin-ryu and Sanchin is father to Goju-ryu. When these two come together then Isshin-ryu is born."

The primary stance in this series of kata is kiba dachi, which emphasizes the strengthening of the legs and hips. A distinct characteristic of the kata is the technique where the circular movement of the arms protects the head in a block, while simultaneously setting up the opening for the uraken. The appearance of kata can be seen as simple, but from careful study and practice of the bunkai, it is very rich in techniques, and is seen as an effective fighting system.

Jion (Itosu no Jion)
Chosin Chibana is credited with teaching this powerful kata to Chozo Nakama. It differs from the others, because it emphasizes defenses for hair grabbing. At the time of Chibana Sensei was living, some men used to wear their hair in a topknot. These topknots were very easy to grab, and an excellent way to gain control of an opponent. The technique in Jion that addresses this type of attack is very effective in “relieving” oneself of a hair grab from an opponent. Some modern day systems, through misunderstanding of this technique, or modification to meet current trends, have changed this unique technique to a normal jodan uke in the bunkai explanation.

 Passai Guwa (Motobu no passai)
This kata is extremely rare, even in Okinawa. Some believe this is a fact because Motobu taught this version of Passai Guwa to a very select few individuals. Along with Hanshi Zenpo Shimabukuro, there is only one person who is noted to teach this kata in present days, Hanshi Katsuya Miyahira. This kata is very special and unique, because it has bunkai techniques to guard against and disarm a bo (staff) attack.


The Shorin-ryu style was broken into several branches: the Shobayashi-ryu (" small forest style " ), the Kobayashi-ryu (" young forest style " ) and the Matsubayashi-ryu ( " pine forest style " ). All three refer to the small pine forest where the Shaolin Temple was last located, and all three are still interpreted to mean Shorin-ryu or " Shaolin way." Shobayashi, the original style of Shorin-ryu, was taught by one of Itosu's famous students, Chotoku Kiyabu, better known as Chotoku Kyan (1870-1945). Kyan was extremely well-known and revered in Okinawa, and was considered Itosu's greatest student, even though he was second in succession, with Kentsu Yabu (c. 1870- ) having more seniority. Yabu took charge after Itosu's death, but retired shortly afterward, leaving Chotoku Kyan in charge. 

Kyan trained quite a few notable students, among them Tatsuo Shimabukuro (the elder brother of Eizo), who also studied under Chojun Miyagi. Kyan also trained Shoshin Nagamine (1907- ), who later developed the Matsubayashi form of Shorin-ryu. It has been stated that Nagamine developed this style himself. He named the stlye after Bushi Matsumura (1797-1889). Nagamine's son Takayoshi has taken over this branch of Shorin-ryu Karate. 

Kyan's most noted student is Eizo Shimabukuro. Upon his death, Kyan left Shimabukuro in charge of the still-unchanged system of Shobayashi Shorin-ryu. Another of Itosu's students, Chosin Chibana (1887-1969), taught Kobayashi-ryu. This system, according to Master Shimabukuro, is the same as Shobayashi-ryu. He states that Master Chibana simply misspelled the term by using incorrect kanji (characters), which changed the pronunciation from " Shobayashi " to " Kobayashi. " These two systems of Shorin-ryu are the same today, with the same form and pattern in their kata. 

In fact, in the early 1960s, Master Shimabukuro went to Chibana, who was then in his late seventies, to ask Chibana to correct his (Shimabukuro's) kata. Shimabukuro was concerned about the discrepancies gradually emerging in the various Shorin-ryu styles which had begun to proliferate by this time in Okinawa. Shimabukuro was a tenth dan at the time he appealed to Chibana. Out of respect for Chibana, who was Itosu's oldest living student, Shimabukuro removed his red belt and instead wore a white belt while being corrected. This action demonstrated Master Shimabukuro's intense desire to retain the purity of Shorin-ryu. 

Seibukan Shorin-ryu: 

Zenpo Shimabukuro Kaicho of the Seibukan shorin-ryu branch of Shorin-ryu. Seibukan Shorin-ryu Karate was developed by Zenryo Shimabukuro after Chotoku Kyan's death in 1945. His dojo opened in 1947. His first students were nephews of his oldest son, Zenpo. It is believed that Zenpo is still teaching Seibukan Shorin-ryu Karate on Okinawa at the Seibukan Dojo. Seibukan means holy art school, and was named because the students minds are developed in a spirtual way- it is not how many students one has, it is how good they are. 

Hanshi Katsuya Miyahira (10th Dan) is Kaicho of the Shido Kan branch of Kobayashi Shorin-ryu Karate. After Chosin Chibana's death in 1969 his most senior student was Katsuya Miyahira. Miyahira would become the logical heir to inherit leadership of Kobayashi Shorin-ryu Karate. But seniority doesn't neccassarily make you the heir apparent. As to, who is the rightful heir to Chibana's Kobayashi Shorin-ryu Karate depends on who you talk to. After Chibana's death, the 9th Dan's of Chosin Chibana's dojo all became 10th dan's and started their own subdivided styles. Shugoro Nakazato (1921- ) became Kaicho of Shorin Ryu Shorin Kan branch of Kobayashi and Katsuya Miyahira became Kaicho of the Shorin Ryu-Shido Kan branch of Kobayashi. 

There is another form of Shorin-ryu on Okinawa called Matsumura Orthodox.* Some of this style's followers have reportedly changed the name to Sukunai Hayashi. Matsumura Orthodox was supervised by Hohan Soken (b. 1889-1982), who is said to have studied from his uncle Nabe Matsumura, who in turn studied from Soken Matsumura. In 1920 Hohan Soken emigrated to Negro, Argentina, where he worked as a farm laborer. He returned to Okinawa in 1952 and started teaching karate, calling his style Matsumra Orthodox Shorin-ryu. 

Hohan Soken not only lived in Argentina, but traveled to Peru and other places. He spoke fluent Spanish. It is known that Kyan Chotoku occasionally traveled with him. Kyan was Soken's training partner under Nabe Matsumura. 

Negro, Argentina was an Okinawan trading colony. Okinawa had many of these all over the world. Hohan Soken probably had relatives there because there were many Okinawans living there. We don't know if he would have liked living there for so long without seeing his family. Therefore it is believed he took some family members with him. Who knows if they stayed. 

Hanshi Fusei Kise's Ken Shin Kan a combination of Matsumura Orthodox and Shorinji Kempo ) is reported to have undergone many changes from the original Shorin-ryu. Some branches of Matsumura Orthodox remain more faithful to the original system.

There are others teaching modified forms of Shorin-ryu. But these are by far the most popular on Okinawa with Kobayashi and Shobayashi being virtually unchanged from the age-old origins of the Shorin-ryu style. 

A sensitive issue on Okinawa was the question of adopting a unified name: whether to refer to all Okinawan fighting styles in the Kanji, meaning " Chinese hand, " or to use the Kanji of karate already used in Japan, which translates as " empty hand. " In a meeting of the elite karate masters of Okinawa, who on October 25, 1936, convened to make the decision, this issue was finally settled. Some of the masters and their senior students present at that meeting were: Kyan, Kenstu Yabu, Chomo Hanashiro, Miyagi, Miyashiro, Nakamora, Chibana, Nakatsune and Choki Motobu. It was agreed that karate would be written and referred to in kanji and translated as " empty hand. " This interpretation, it was agreed, embraced a much broader and more philosophical meaning than it is generally granted.


Shuto uke, with sliding forward



Shuto uke, with sliding forward



Chudan uke-Renzoku tsuki



Chudan uke-Renzoku tsuki



Return to shizentai dachi



Jodan uke, chudan uke same time, ryote tettsui, oi tsuki



Chudan uke- renzoku chudan tsuki - maegeri – chudan tsuki



Chudan uke- renzoku chudan tsuki - maegeri – chudan tsuki



Hiji uchi



Gedan barai



Oi tsuki



Chudan uke, lift leg, maegeri, gedan barai, chudan tsuki, chudan uke



Shuto uke, by sliding backward.



Shuto uke, by sliding backward.













Gichin Funakoshi








Gichin Funakoshi (1886-1957) was the founder of the Shotokan-ryu style.  Funakoshi was born in the Okinawan capital of Shuri into a family of the Shizoku class (upper class). Master Gichin Funakoshi was instructed by Yasutsune Azato and Yasutsune Itosu. He was responsible for introducing Karate to Japan in the 1920's. He was also responsible for changing (or defining, depending how you look at it) the meaning of the word Karate-do.

He changed the 'kara' symbol in Karate from the old symbol, meaning 'China', to the new symbol, meaning 'empty'. In his book Karate-Do Nyumon, he writes: "Just as an empty valley can carry a resounding voice, so must the person who follows the Way of Karate make himself void or empty by ridding himself or all self-centeredness and greed.   Make yourself empty within, but upright without.   This is the real meaning of the 'empty' in Karate.

"...Once one has perceived the infinity of forms and elements in the universe,  one returns to emptiness,  to the void.   In other words,  emptiness is none other than the true form of the universe.   There are various fighting techniques - yarijutsu ['spear techniques'] and bojitsu ['stick techniques'],  for example - and forms of martial arts,  such as judo and kendo.   All share an essential principle with Karate,  but Karate alone explicitly states the basis of all martial arts.   Form equals emptiness; emptiness equals form.   The use of the character [for 'empty'] in Karate is indeed based on this principle."

The result of this change is that Karate-do, which formerly translated loosely to 'Chinese hand', now translates to '[the way of the] empty hand'.  

Chojun Miagi

Chojun Miagi (1888-1953) was the founder of the Goju-ryu style, "The way of inhaling and exhaling is hardness and softness." Go means hard and Ju means soft. Since his style was a combination of these ideals it became known as Goju Ryu 'hard soft way'.  In Goju-ryu much emphasis is placed on combining soft circular blocking techniques with quick strong counter attacks delivered in rapid succession

Chojun Miyagi was born in Naha City, Okinawa on April 25th, 1888. He began training in karate under Kanryo Higa'shi'onna in 1902. Because of his great natural talent and fierce determination, he progressed very rapidly. Training was very severe, with a lot of running and strength exercises. It is said that he sometimes passed out performing Sanchin kata, so demanding was Sensei Higaonna on his student's performance. He studied with his teacher for 14 years before his teacher’s death in 1915.

In 1915 he journeyed to Fuzhou, China, the city where his teacher had studied the martial arts, to further his own research. This was one of three trips he made to China during his lifetime. On his return to Okinawa, he began to teach the martial arts at his home in Naha. Later, he also taught at the Okinawan Prefecture Police Training Center, at the Okinawan Master’s Training College, and at the Naha Commercial High School.

In 1921, he was chosen to represent Naha-te in a presentation to the visiting crown prince Hirohito, and gave an impressive performance. He repeated this in 1925 for prince Chichibu. He began to visualize the future of the Okinawan fighting arts, and in 1926, at the age of 38, set up the Karate Research Club, along with Chomo Hanashiro (Shuri-te), Kenwa Mabuni (Shito Ryu) and Choki Motobu, spending the next 3 years training in basics, kata, fitness and philosophy. Chojun Miyagi dedicated his whole life to karate. Every waking moment was spent in pursuit of the art, always remaining vigilante to his surroundings, always planning and ready for whatever might occur.

The teaching system, which he formulated, enabled karate to be taught in schools for the benefit of the young people, and to reach vast numbers of people throughout the world. However, his private teaching at his home remained strictly in adherence to the principles and traditions of the teacher, Kanryo Higa'shi'onna, and his teacher before him Ryu Ryu Ko.

In 1931, Goju-ryu Karate-Do was officially registered in the Butokukai, the center for all martial arts of Japan. This was a milestone for karate as it meant that it was recognized on a level with the highly respected martial arts of Japan. Chojun Miyagi died on October 8th, 1953, of either a heart attack or a cerebral haemorrhage at the age of 65.

Ryusho Sakagami

Ryusho Sakagami (??-1994) was one of Mabuni's early students. He established the Shito-ryu Itosu-kai organization, and was appointed by Mabuni to the position of third generation head of Itosu-ryu Karate-do.   Sakagami became famous for his knowledge of all Japanese Budo,  and was regarded as a walking encyclopedia of styles,  lineage,  technique,  and kata until his death.

Fumio Demura, a disciple of Ryusho Sakagami and one of the most renowned component of Shito-ryu for his exiteful eye-catching public demonstration of traditional Karate and Kobudo, is running the Shito-ryu Itosu-kai in USA with the name of Japan Karate Federation of America which was established in co-operation with Dan Ivan of Shotokan.

In Japan,  Sakagami's son (Sadaaki) currently runs the Itosu-kai organization from Yokohama, Japan.
In America, Shito-ryu Itosu-kai is run by Demura under the name JKF America.
In Canada,  Shito-ryu Itosu-kai is run by Kei Tsumura.
In Ireland,  Shito-ryu Itosu-kai is run by Leo Mulvany.

Fumio Demura

Fumio Demura (??-) was a student of Ryusho Sakagami.  He is now in the USA,  running the Shito-ryu Itosu-kai with the name JKF America (which was established in cooperation with Dan Ivan of Shotokan).

Fumio Demura currently teaches in his dojo in California. He currently holds the positions of President/Chief Director of JKF International, Director/Chief Instructor of JKF America, and Director/Chief Instructor of Shito-ryu, Itosu-kai  Karate-do (USA).

Besides teaching Karate,  Mr. Demura is the stunt man for Pat Morita in the Karate Kid series of motion pictures,  as well in the O'Hara televison series.   His other film credits include,  Island of Dr. MoreauBring 'Em back alive,  and most recently Rising Sun and Mortal Kombat.   These are just a few of the numerous films in which Mr. Demura has performed.   For years he was featured at the Japanese Village in Buena Park and in Las Vegas.   Today,  he spends the brief time away that he takes from his Dojo to demonstrate at Tournaments and Charity events.   Demura has been featured in many Martial Arts publications.

Hironori Ohtsuka

Hironori Ohtsuka (1892-1982) was the founder of the Wado-ryu style, and studied Shotokan under Gichin Funakoshi. Wado Ryu karate was founded by Hironori Ohtsuka during the 1920s and 1930s.

Ohtsuka was born on 1st June 1892 in Shimodate City, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. At the age of 6 years he began to study jiu Jutsu with his Grand Uncle. At the age of 13 he started to study Shindo Yoshin Ryu Jiu Jutsu under a teacher named Tatsusabaro Nakayama. Ohtsuka continued his studies whilst at Waseda University. He received the award of menkyo (licence) in 1921.

Ohtsuka heard about a new style of unarmed combat from Okinawa that had been introduced by Gichin Funakoshi. That art was known as Karate. In 1922, Ohtsuka went to visit Funakoshi in Tokyo to study karate. He received the rank of Shodan  in 1924 at the age of 31.

During his time training, Ohtsuka developed the concept of pre-arranged sparring in which both participants know in advance what attacks and defences are to be carried out. The exercise could be considered to be a small two person kata for developing skills and learning certain concepts - it is half way between basics and applications.

Ohtsuka also continued his Jiu Jutsu studies, and became a Shihan (teacher grade). He also began to train with other great Karate masters such as Kenwa Mabuni  and Choki Motobu.

At this time Ohtsuka experimented with incorporating all his martial art skills into a new form of Karate. Part of this experimentation was the introduction of free-fighting practice. This conflicted with Funakoshi's view of Karate and they parted company.

In 1938, Ohtsuka's new style was accepted by the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai under the name of Wado Ryu. Ohtsuka was also awarded the title of Renshi.

Development of Wado Ryu continued after the Second World War, and in 1966 Ohtsuka was awarded the Shiju Hoosho Medal from Emperor Hirohito.

Hironori Ohtsuka died in 1982, shortly before his 90th birthday. Today, Wado Ryu is practiced all over the world.  

Choki Motobu

Choki Motobu (1871-1944) was born in 1871 in Akahira village in the Shuri region of Okinawa. He was the third son of Motobu “Udun”, a high ranking aji or lord. The Motobu family were skilled at the art of Ti (a grappling art of the Okinawan nobility). Motobu did learn some of the techniques of his family’s fighting system, but because of Okinawan tradition, only the first son, Choyu, was educated and choose to carry on the family’s martial tradition. Because of this situation, he went looking for instruction elsewhere.

Choki began training extensively with makiwara and lifted heavy rocks to gain strength. He endeavored to become as strong as possible and trained with ferocity. He became known as “Motobu zaru” or Motobu the monkey because of his agility and speed. Eventually, Motobu became the student of Anko Itosu (one of Mabuni’s sensei). Now a young man, Choki spent a lot of time seeking out strong looking men to challenge on the street. He won most of his fights and learned much from these encounters. Itosu sensei was not impressed by the young man’s bullying and promptly expelled him form the dojo.

Motobu’s aggressive behavior soon earned him a bad reputation and many sensei would not teach him. Once man, however, liked the spirit he showed and accepeted him as a student of karate. This man was Kosaku Matsumura of Tomari. It was from Matsumura that Choki learned many Kata. Motobu still challenged others to fights often and was eager to develop and improve his fighting skills. He eventually asked Matsumura to teach him kumite, but Matsumura told him to continue to learn on his own. Motobu, however, was persevering and is said to have watched the kumite training through holes in the fence around Matsumura’s dojo.

Motobu’s street fighting served him well (to the detriment of many). He formulated his own formidable style of kumite and began to get much attention in Okinawa and in Japan on his trips to the islands. One day while in Kyoto he witnessed a contest where people were asked to match skills with a foreign boxer. A friend coaxed Motobu to give it a try.

The boxer was arrogant and goaded Motobu constantly. For two rounds Motobu just avoided the boxer’s attacks. In the third round he had enough. He used a practiced technique and promptly knocked the boxer out. The crowd was quite taken aback. They had never seen this kind of fighting. Motobu had simply struck his opponent with a fore knuckle in the temple; a basic technique. Needless to say, Motobu quickly gained a reputation as a master and many curious people came to learn this mysterious new art. Soon, Motobu became a full time teacher.

During this time, Motobu gained great respect for his fighting ability. He was hailed as the greatest fighter in Japan. Many sensei advised their students to go and train with Motobu and learn his kumite techniques ( for obvious reasons). He was also asked to teach at several universities. Because of this, many of today’s great instructors of various styles had the benefit of his instruction, so it is clear that his was a large influence in karate.

Motobu usually only taught naihanchi kata to his students and it was his own version with many Ti-like grappling and throwing techniques. However, it was his kumite that had the greatest impact on karate. Oddly enough, there is a story of Choki, full of confidence, challenging his brother Choyu to a fight. It is said that Choyu threw Choki around like a rag doll. After the experience, Choki is said to have humbled himself and adopted more of his family’s Ti forms.   In 1922, Master Motobu helped Master Funakoshi start the teaching of Karate to the Japanese. Filled with a new outlook on his life, Master Motobu returned to Okinawa in 1936 and began training with Master Kentsu Yabu.   Master Yabu was only man to have ever defeated Master Motobu.

Later in life, Motobu seemed to stress the importance of tradition in training. He strongly stressed the importance of makiwara training and became as enthusiastic about kata as he had always been about kumite. In 1936, at the age of 65, Motobu left Tokyo and went back to Okinawa to visit his instructors to talk about the state of karate in Japan and to make sure that he was teaching the kata and techniques in their originally, unaltered form. Subsequently, he returned and continued teaching in Tokyo. Shortly before World War II, he returned to Okinawa and died in September of 1944 of a stomach disease at the age of 73.

It is obvious that Choki Motobu was very instrumental in the development of karate and that he was the inspiration for many who trained in the art. It is good to see that, today, millions of people still keep the art alive and strive to keep the fighting spirit of karate which Sensei Motobu so dearly loved.

From The Coslet's Karate Newsletter September, 1992

Kosei Kokuba

Kosei Kokuba, the father of Shogo Kuniba, was the founder of Motobu-ha Shito-ryu.     Motobu’s teaching had a great impact on karate and especially on Kosei Kokuba. Kokuba combined his learning from Mabuni and Motobu and created Motobu-ha Shito-ryu karate.

Kosei Kokuba was born in Naha City, Okinawa in 1901 the youngest son of a samurai family descended from the Sho-Shi royal family of Okinawa. At the age of 14, he began karate training in the dojo of Masto Choki Motobu.   In 1924 he moved to Tokyo, Japan and in 1940 he settled in Osaka where he began training students in the Okinawan style which he had studied. On June 6, 1943 Kokuba founded Seishin Kan Dojo.

Later, when his friends from Okinawa, Motobu and Kenwa Mabuni came to Osaka, he gave them room and board in exchange for their teaching at the Seishin Kan Dojo. He received training in Shito-ryu karate from its founder Kenwa Mabuni.  Kokuba’s other instructor was Choki Motobu.  Kokuba taught the Motobu style of Karate and upon Motobu’s death in 1947, he became the Soke or family head of Motobu-Ha Karate-Do.

In Okinawa the Kanji characters for Kosei Kokuba are pronounced as Kosei Kokuba but in Japan, the same characters are pronounced as Yukimori Kuniba. To avoid confusion he changed the pronunciation of the family name to Kuniba.

Shogo 'Soke' Kuniba

Shogo Kuniba, the son of master Kosie Kuniba was born on February 5, 1935  in Yamanashi prefecture near Mt. Fuji in the city of Fuji-Yoshida-Shi. The son began his karate training at the age of 5 in his father’s dojo. At the age of eight he was sent to study with Tomoyori Ryusei of Kenyu Ryu. Master Kuniba wanted his son to be a true samurai as were his ancestors and, as a true samurai, of 8, Shogo also began to study judo in an Osaka Dojo. He continued his training in Judo for ten years and earned a sandan rank.

In 1947 at the age of 12, he bagan training with Master Mabuni in Shito-Ryu and was soon promoted by Mabuni Sensei to Shodan in Karate. In 1950 he was promoted to Nidan by Master Mabuni and Master Tomoyori and in 1952 earned a Sandan rank.

As a high school student, Shogo was president of his karate club. At the age of seventeen, he began teaching karate at Osaka Prefecture University and there is still a branch dojo of Seishin Kai ther today. After high school, he trained in Karate at Keio University and later trained at Doshisha University while he was a student there.

In 1955 Shogo was promoted to Yondan by Tomoyori Sensei. During that year he was also promoted to Sandan in Iaiso and Yondan in Kobudo. In 1956 he traveled to his father’s homeland of Okinawa where he trained with Master Nagamine Shojin in this style of Shorin-Ryu. While in Okinawa, he studied Kobudo with Taira Shinken and Nakaima Kenko of Ryuei Ryu. With Yamaguchi Junko, he studied the use of the tonfa.

In 1983 he opened a Hombu Dojo in the USA in Portsmouth, Va. He then concentrated his efforts on teaching his style of karate-do to the world. The Seishin Kai is growing in the USA and is now beginning to growing in the USA and is now beginning to grow in Europe, Mexico, Israel, Sweden, South America and the West Indies.

Soke Kuniba adhered to the teaching and the philosophies of the Okinawan masters from who he is descended. He believed and taught that the true goals of karate-do are the development of patience, self-discipline, humility and inner strength (ki). 


It may be noted that Yasutsune "Anko" Itosu and Kanryu Higa'shi'onna are the two most important name in the history of modern Karate-do.   The four major style of Modern Japanese Karate:- Shito-ryu,  Shotokan-ryu,  Goju-ryu,  and Wado-ryu,  can be traced to them .

Kenwa Mabuni (1887-1952),  the Shito-ryu  founder,  was a student of both Yasutsune "Anko" Itosu & Kanryu Higashionna.

Gichin Funakoshi (1886-1957),  the Shotokan  founder,  was a student of Yasutsune "Anko" Itosu (also of Azato).

Chojun Miagi (1888-1953),  the Goju-ryu  founder,  was a student of Kanryu Higashionna.

Hironori Ohtsuka (1892-1982),  the Wado-ryu  founder, was a student of Gichin Funakoshi, shotokan.


Ki Training Manual
This manual is for the benefit of every good and honorable martial artist in this world, so we can work together and learn to master the true power within ourselves. For if we can master ourselves, we can be at peace with each other. The art of war is also the art of peace, for only those who experience war can truly understand it's evil. My work is done in the hopes we will never have another war and that this knowledge does more good than evil. Remember that everything that goes around comes back around again. Consider yourself warned and never abuse this knowledge.

*Any technique I create here can be altered, for the only way to master ki is to become independent of all other styles. You must create a way that feels right to you. These can be a foundation for your own personal fighting style.*

Disclaimer-Not everyone is the same, so please keep this in mind and do not overexert yourself. If you every feel sick in any way, discontinue these exercises until it passes. If you constantly feel sick each time you do these exercises, re-look these over to see if you made a mistake. If you did not, try to lower the intensity in some way by making a variation in an exercise. If that still does not help, discontinue practice altogether and see a doctor, you might be sick. Also, do not perform any intense exercises while sick or on mind-altering drugs or medications, or if you are pregnant. Please use common sense.

Meditation to store ki

Sit on the floor with your legs crossed so that your ankles are touching. Then, cross your wrists and grab the calf opposite of your arm. (I.e. right arm grabs left calf.) The purpose of crossing your wrists and ankles is to hold or contain the ki energy you are going to harness, so that it cannot escape through the two openings of your body (palm of hands and soles of feet).

Close your eyes and breathe in through the nose and out the mouth. As you breath in, visualize the earth's energy (in a green glow) coming into your body via a small "gateway" in the base of your spine. Visualize the energy vacuuming up into the swirling gateway and your abdominal area. Hold the energy in your abdominal area as you hold your breath calmly. As you hold the energy there, visualize it moving rapidly up and through your body. It should travel through your chest and up to your brain. Make sure it is traveling SLOWLY, as you do not want to force the energy too much. You are simply directing it through your body. The energy should also travel through your arms and legs. Basically, you want it to fill your entire body.

When you can not hold your breath any longer, empty your lungs and as you do so, visualize the waste air leaving your body to be re-charged by the Earth. Repeat this cycle, going each time slower and deeper as you do it. The energy you develop here will be your "fuel tank" or "reserve" energy that you will use when you practice a ki technique.

If your body starts to vibrate, do not be alarmed. It sometimes happens and sometimes doesn't. It depends on how much energy you are taking in. If you start in any way to feel sick or odd, STOP performing this meditation until the feeling goes away. Perform daily for maximum benefit.

Ki visualizing tech (This technique was sent in by Chee Fatt at )

Chi is your life force energy. It is an extension of your body much like your arms and legs. The only real difference between your arms and your ki is that your ki is not activated by sub conscious thought.* You must visualize what you want the ki to do. This is why a visualizing tech is needed.

Think of visualizing as your intention. You must be much like an artist- you will "draw" in your mind what you desire the ki to do, using your imagination. Also, remember that your very will IS the ki. But it should not be an order. Do not force your ki. "You can bring a horse to the water but you can't make him drink." is an old saying can be likened to ki. You can tell it what to do and make it a strong order, but if your ki is not able to do the desired effect it will not. It may take quite a lot of practice to always gain the desired effect, but it will eventually come.

For starters, you should use a stance familiar to you (the guarding or fighting stance in your art is usually best), relax, and imaging there are powerful forces pulling and pressing from all directions. The most important ones are the 2 imaginary opposite forces running from your spine. One pushing up from your head to the heaven and the other down stamping into the earth. Maintain in the posture fully relax for 5 minutes and work your way up gradually Loosen-up when you feel tense.. Very soon you will find chi bursting-out and your whole body inflated. This is `Wu Chi' (Ultimate emptiness manifesting Yin/Yang). Try it, you will feel the difference and in just 1 week you will notice significant increase in chi. After 3 months with 10 minute practice sessions daily, you will be amazed how powerful you're ability to activate ki will have become.

*Ki will eventually be under your sub conscious control with practice, as any other martial art tech does after repeative use.

Ki ball construction (this exercise was adapted from the Psion Guild's psi ball exercise)

Ever seen a japaneese anime cartoon where a character, such as Ryu on Street Fighter, creates a ball of ki in their hands to perform a ki blast? Well, a ki ball can actually be created. Practicers of a psychic art form, called Psionics, start their training by learning an energy maniulation and transformation technique called the Psi Ball. Since psi and ki energy* is technically the same thing, a ki ball can also be created.

A ki ball is used for two reasons other than for attack- energy manipulation and energy transformation. The first reason, energy manipulation, is another way for your body to become acustomed to using ki energy, much like the ki visualization tech does. The only real difference is that you are going to have more options to use the ki for, and martial purposes is one. The other difference is that a ki ball will teach you ki transformation which can if nothing make your body use ki more effeciently. I will focus on ki transformation in a little while, but first I want to tell you how to make a ki ball.

First, you should ground yourself. Then once grounded, pull energy up into you from the Earth and channel it through your arms toward your hands. Couple your hands like you are holding an invisible baseball or tennis ball. Imagine that the energy is going through your hands and swelling into a ball in the middle of your hands. Let it swarm, constrain, and become more powerful as you add more power to it. You should feel the power in your hands as a "tingling" or as I like to say, a "vibrating" feeling. If you cannot feel the energy, try adding more power to it. You will not be able to see the ki ball from the start. Hopefully, as you become more adapt at making a ki ball, you will create one that is powerful enough for you to see*1.

Now for the fun part; ki manipulation. Basically, you are going to change the ki ball into something more exotic or different. Maybe you'd like to imitate a favorite anime and change your ki ball into a sphere or flame of ki. Perhaps you'd like to toss the ki ball back and forth between your hands. You can create anything your imagination can conceive from your ki ball as long as you can see what you want clearly and you focus on the object.

* Psi and ki are different usages of life force energy. They are composed of the exact same thing, life energy, but the two are not the same. Ki energy can be combined with the physical body while psi energy cannot. However, ki energy is not as powerful psychically as psi energy is. More on this later.

*1 Your "third eye" must also be trained before you will see anything, although a ki ball is part of the training for the third eye as all ki usage is.

Experimental Exercise to perform a low level Ki blast

Focus your ki through your target using your eyes and mental image. Tighten every muscle in your body, and while doing this, imagine your ki focusing into your body and radiating. This energy will travel up into your hands. Perform a double open handed strike from the center of your abs, and when you want to release the ki, tighten your hands while stretched out as hard as you can. While the hands are tightened, focus the ki as a destructive force that will harm your target, pushing it back as your blast reaches it, then going through it. Perform this movement as fast as you can.

All techniques use the ki you have stored, so do not drain yourself with overdoing these practices. It will take time and hard effort to train your body to absorb and transmit ki efficiently (that is why the masters are so old) so does not be discouraged. Every one has a different level of power they are born with, but all have the potential to achieve "super-human" energy level, where legend has it you can become immortal.

Experimental exercise to create a low-level psychic shield.

There are three ways to do this- and should be practiced in the presented order-

Level One Exercise-

Before a ki storage meditation, imagine an energy shield surrounding your body from five inches away. It should contain your astral self (if you've haven't heard about this, learn) and all of your energy. Constantly imagine this shield around your body, blocking any other energies except the ones you want to let in (earth energies which will come from below). It will protect you from other ki also. It will stop your ki from being drained by one who can drain ki. It will protect you entirely from a psychic perspective. It will also contain any energy you charge up. You must visualize this shield around you as a colored energy and closing your eyes helps. A dark color, such as green, purple, or red will work. DO NOT USE A LIGHT COLOR!!! Dark colors will bounce energy away, while lighter colors will not only let energy through, it will also enhance them. When you can put your shield around you without closing your eyes, move on to level two.

Level Two Exercise-

During the day, tighten your psychic shield around you the whole day. You will not get this right away, so be patient and practice. Keeping your shield around yourself for a full day is your ultimate goal in this exercise. This will train you to keep your shield around you subconsciously, so it is extremely important that you master this before moving on to level three.

Level Three Exercise-

WARNING- This is an experimental exercise that I am not sure will work, so the effects are entirely on speculation. If you practice this exercise, you are putting yourself at possible psychic and physical threat. Use your head with this one.

The goal of this exercise is to learn to block powerful psychic attacks, including those that utilize ki. First, start with putting your shield around you and a friend throw "negative thoughts" at you. They are going to try and cause some sort of harm to you on a psychic level, possibly on that of a low physical one (headache, stomachache). You must imagine stopping these energies with your shield, and if you feel necessary, deflect them back at your friend. Be cautious.

Next, you must practice blocking ki with your shield. Have your friend throw low-level ki blasts at you, extremely light. You are going to look past him/her and strengthen your shield with your ki, and block or stop it. Again, you can even deflect it back at him/her. Be cautious.

The last one is creating a force field around you, that no one or thing can penetrate. This shield can go extend around you for at least two yards, possibly more. You will sit down, cross your legs and meditate. While meditating, imagine a force field around your body for two yards, harming any who try to penetrate it. It will stop them and block them from coming in. Focus hard and use your ki to create it. You will need another person to try and enter this force field to know if it will work or not. Be cautious, for this is a defensive and offensive technique and can harm someone.

Ready charge-

This is a reaction charge. It will increase your awareness of all attacks at you. Very useful when you think you might be attacked. Simply visualize your energy surrounding you, ready for you to use in an incredible attack of speed and strength. Watch everything around you carefully and from the corner of your eyes. Use Kung-Fu technique "soft eyes" (not looking at target) to watch everything around you.

Tips on using ki for fighting

(submitted by Chee Fatt)"The ultimate fighting emotion is not violence, strangely, it is compassion with a steady awareness. Try it in your sparring session, you will realize this truth."

These techniques have been created by me, MisteryShadow, unless otherwise noted, and can be distributed as necessary as long as a link is made back to my page. Those that are otherwise posted are to be asked before used.

Understanding Ki

In order for you learn ki, it is essential that you understand it. Therefore, I have compiled a short lesson that will help you establish a foundation for understanding how ki works. The first you must learn, is the Theory of Yin-Yang.

Yin-Yang Theory

"The yin is the ancient Chinese feminine principle and the yang is the masculine; together, they represent universal complementary opposites, dualities. The yin comes before the yang because it is the primordial darkness that exists before the lightness of creation Yin is the Earth, Yang is the Heavens"

This means that there are two main elements that control all other forces in the Universe. Yin represents darkness, emotion, and strength. Yang represents light, thought, and defense. Yin has long been associated with feminine and evil, while Yang has represented masculine and good. However, I do not follow that belief, since I see that you cannot attack without having an evil nature based on this belief. Attacking is not evil; it is not that simple. It is impossible to defend oneself against another without attacking. That is not evil, it is good. You cannot fight for what you believe in or protect others without yin. Evil cannot be classified that easily. The belief that darkness is evil is also undeserved, because that would mean at night, the world is covered in evil. Very odd, since many, including myself, enjoy the nighttime for it's romantic gleam and mystery. I for one am not afraid of the dark, especially when there are worst things to fear like taxes. Also, if Yang represents good and male, does that make woman (Yin) an evil creation? No, it does not for evil and good cannot be limited to any classification of any type. They depend on circumstances of events, not systematic definitions.

Here is some more depth on Yin-Yang to help you understand it's importance-

"The essentials of the yin-yang school are as follows: the universe is run by a single principle, the Tao, or Great Ultimate (also known as God or Void). This principle is divided into two opposite principles, or two principles, which oppose one another in their actions, yin and yang. All the opposites one perceives in the universe can be reduced to one of the opposite forces. The yin and yang accomplish changes in the universe through the five material agents, or wu hsing , which both produce one another and overcome one another. All change in the universe can be explained by the workings of yin and yang and the progress of the five material agents as they either produce one another or overcome one another. Yin-yang and the five agents are, I need to stress, a universal explanatory principle. All phenomena can be understood using yin-yang and the five agents: the movements of the stars, the workings of the body, the nature of foods, the qualities of music, the ethical qualities of humans, the progress of time, the operations of government, and even the nature of historical change. All things follow this order so that all things can be related to one another in some way: one can use the stars to determine what kind of policy to pursue in government, for instance.

The yin and yang represent all the opposite principles one finds in the universe. Under yang are the principles of maleness, the sun, creation, heat, light, Heaven, dominance, and so on, and under yin are the principles of femaleness, the moon, completion, cold, darkness, material forms, submission, and so on. Each of these opposites produces the other: Heaven creates the ideas of things under yang, the earth produces their material forms under yin, and vice versa; creation occurs under the principle of yang, the completion of the created thing occurs under yin, and vice versa, and so on. This production of yin from yang and yang from yin occurs cyclically and constantly, so that no one principle continually dominates the other or determines the other. All opposites that one experiences-health and sickness, wealth and poverty, power and submission-can be explained in reference to the temporary dominance of one principle over the other. Since no one principle dominates eternally, that means that all conditions are subject to change into their opposites.

This cyclical nature of yin and yang, the opposing forces of change in the universe, mean several things. First, that all phenomena change into their opposites in an eternal cycle of reversal. Second, since the one principle produces the other, all phenomena have within them the seeds of their opposite state, that is, sickness has the seeds of health, health contains the seeds of sickness, wealth contains the seeds of poverty, etc. Third, even though an opposite may not be seen to be present, since one principle produces the other, no phenomenon is completely devoid of its opposite state. One is never really healthy since health contains the principle of its opposite, sickness. This is called "presence in absence." Once you have this principle down, the particular Chinese view as expressed in literature, art, and history will become immediately evident."

Now, let us look at Ki directly-

Ch'i (Chinese) or Ki (Japanese) is the internal force in our bodies, the manifestation of our spirit. The source of this power is the Tan Tien (Chinese) or Hara (Japanese). This Tan Tien is located about 3" below the navel, and in the center of our bodies. Not so coincidentally this is also where the center of balance for the average human is. The name comes from the idea of "center", and represents our center; center of the spirit, soul, power, and balance. There is a physical center, and a center of balance -- so describing that as a "spot" Tan Tien) is a convenient construct for understanding.

While it is convenient to dismiss this construct, we should not do so too quickly. There is a physical center of balance -- pretending that it is something more may have its benefits. You may not believe in an "power" running through your body, or a spirit/soul. You may not believe in the Tao - the power of nature existing everywhere (westerners might call this the holy ghost). But always remember that faith healers do help some people. Placebo's are also very beneficial. Visualization in martial arts and sports does cause an increase in performance. So think about it before you dismiss it.

In the case of acupuncture, accupressure, shiatsu massage, and other oriental medicine, the body is not as broken down into component parts as much as it is looked at interlocked systems, and balanced as a whole. In Oriental medicine there are pressure points or trigger point that stimulate different systems, and by balancing the energies (Yin and Yang) in these systems you can tune the whole. These energies (Yin and Yang) collectively are the Ch'i or Ki in our body, and it is this flow of life force through our body that keeps us healthy. There is another force that runs through all things in nature (and is nature itself), this is partly an explanation of the Tao (or Taoism).

Many Asian cultures seem to look at the world much more holistically than westerners. Things interact as complex systems, and through understanding the whole, they try to understand the parts. This is why the Japanese can use a mundane task like archery as a way to understand Zen Buddhism (and themselves). They are trying to understand things (life) by grasping the whole. Not fighting to learn, or challenging, sometimes just existing until understanding comes on its own.We westerners tend to be more deconstructive -- always trying to break things down into its component parts -- then understanding the parts. Then later we try to look at all those component parts and see how they relate to the whole (reconstructing). They are different ways to look at the world. The more I have tried to understand the Oriental perspectives, the more I have learned about myself. But that sounds suspiciously oriental in its holistic outlook.

In the oriental medicines, they have designated systems or organs in our bodies that scientifically don't exist (as defined). Yet, stimulating these nonexistent organs (systems) gets the desired results anyway. So while western medicine and science can disprove the existence of organs like the preheater, etc., manipulating that construct still gets the desired results in many cases. So surprisingly, even if the construct is wrong (inaccurate), it does not mean that the results will be wrong. Ancients though that the sky was painted on, and spinning above us as a ceiling -- yet they still accurately mapped the constellations and predicted many astrological events. Even Western medicine also doesn't always agree with itself -- as in Chiropractors, etc., but their are many that have received the real and physical benefits of these "charlatans". As time progresses the scientific community is learning that there are results that can not always be explained. The Chinese and to a lesser extend the Japanese are a mystical people. Many Orientals have chosen to define these results with a mystical definition, and though all the definitions might not be accurate, results are results.

Our entire system of math and science is based on (or is just a collection of) many HUMAN constructs. Einstein's theory of relativity or the speed of light is not some immutable law. It is an observation and construct of man to explain relationships. It may accurately match the universe we live in (or maybe not) but for now, these constructs (called laws or theories of science) do help us understand and grasp problems. Even our laws of science have changed (been revised) as we learned more, so our constructs are not flawless -- we need to balance skepticism and scientific theory with an understanding of who and what we are.

The more scientific definition of Ch'i is based on some interesting facts. We (humans) have an amazingly complex electrochemical and electromagnetic system in our bodies (nervous system). By training our brains and bodies to utilize our nervous system and muscles to their full potential, and using technique, visualization and proper use of energy, we are able to do incredible feats. Since we don't understand the full effects of this electrical, chemical or magnetic energy, we don't understand its limitation. So the feats of Ch'i that are seen as "magic" are not impossible, just not fully understood. Many Ch'i demonstrations are parlor tricks, but there is a percentage that is not. Using visualization, timing, coordination, training and body mechanics, it is quite possible for anyone to hit harder than other non-martial artist or do other "tricks". For Americans, it is explained best to us in constructs that we understand (physics, training, timing, visualization) - The Chinese just describe it as a good use of Ch'i. There are elements to this "power" that I do not understand -- but understanding it is not necessary for utilizing it. Just like a complete understanding of astrophysics was not necessary for ancients to create calendars and predict the seasons, phases of the moon, or track the planets.

I hope now you can understand the concept of ki better, now that you have been exposed to the more common knowledge of it. By knowing the concepts of ki, you can not only perform the exercises more efficently, but you can also create your own. For example, by knowing that ki resides in your abdominal area, you can start your most powerful strikes from that area, and gain better access to ki. By applying science to that, you also see that not only are you adding ki, but gravity if you lower your hips and knees as you strike. You can create a powerful combo of your body mass, gravity, speed, muscular strength, and ki. Quite a powerful strike indeed. Also, by knowing vital areas, such as the kidneys or liver, and perform the strike, you can gain even better results for these areas are less resistant to your energy and can more efficently and will create more damage to your opponet. Constantly learn as much as possible to increase your abilities; for knowledge is the true power that is the foundation for every act you will every make in your entire life.

Attitude :
The karate student must humble himself to receive training. The student must always be aware of and receptive to criticism from others. They must be constantly introspective and must readily admit any lack of knowledge, rather than pretending to know what they do not know.

Those who follow Karate-do must never forsake a humble mind and gentle manner. It is the small-minded individual who likes to brag upon acquiring some small skill, and those with little knowledge who carry on as if they were experts are childish. It is because a large number of false martial artists in the world that the public tends to ignore the martial artist or consider him wild. Therefore, many serious martial artists are embarrassed. Students of Karate-do must always keep these points in mind.

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Shorin-Ryu Karate-Do Terms :

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Commands                                             Counts

Seiza Formal sitting   Ichi One
Mokuso Closed eye meditation   Ni Two
Yame Stop   San Three
Yoi Ready   Shi Four
Hajime Begin   Go Five
Kamaete Into the position   Roku Six
Mawate Turn around   Sichi Seven
Kata Pre arranged movements   Hachi Eight
Kihon-Waza Basic techniques   Ku Nine
Kumite Sparring   Ju Ten
Sanbon-Kumite Three step sparring      
Ippon-Kumite One step sparring      
Jiyu-KumiteFree Free style