||This article has an unclear citation style. (September 2009)|
Kenwa Mabuni, founder of Shitō-ryū Karate
|Country of origin||Japan|
|Founder||Kenwa Mabuni (1889–1952)|
|Current head||Mabuni Kenei|
|Ancestor arts||Shuri-te, Naha-te, Tomari-te and Go-Kenki influence.|
|Descendant schools||Shitō-kai • Shūkō-kai • Seishin-kai • Kuniba-kai|
Kenwa Mabuni (Mabuni Kenwa 摩文仁 賢和) was born in Shuri, Okinawa in 1889. Mabuni was a 17th generation descendant of the famous warrior Oni Ufugusuku Kenyu. Perhaps because of his weak constitution, he began his instruction in his home town in the art of Shuri-te (首里手) at the age of 13, under the tutelage of the legendary Ankō Itosu (糸州 安恒 Itosu Ankō ) (1831–1915). He trained diligently for several years, learning many kata from this great master. It was Itosu who first developed the Pinan kata, which were most probably derived from the "Kusanku" form.
One of his close friends, Chōjun Miyagi (宮城 長順 Miyagi Chōjun ) (co-founder of Gojū-ryū Karate) introduced Mabuni to another great of that period, Kanryō Higaonna (東恩納 寛量 Higaonna Kanryō ). Mabuni began to learn Naha-te (那覇手) under him. While both Itosu and Higaonna taught a "hard-soft" style of Okinawan "Te", their methods and emphases were quite distinct: the Itosu syllabus included straight and powerful techniques as exemplified in the Naihanchi and Bassai kata; the Higaonna syllabus stressed circular motion and shorter fighting methods as seen in the kata Seipai and Kururunfa. Shitō-ryū focuses on both hard and soft techniques to this day.
Although he remained true to the teachings of these two great masters, Mabuni sought instruction from a number of other teachers, including Seishō Arakaki, Tawada Shimboku, Sueyoshi Jino and Wu Xianhui (a Chinese master known as Go-Kenki). In fact, Mabuni was legendary for his encyclopaedic knowledge of kata and their bunkai applications. By the 1920s, he was regarded as the foremost authority on Okinawan kata and their history and was much sought after as a teacher by his contemporaries. There is even some evidence that his expertise was sought out in China, as well as Okinawa and mainland Japan. As a police officer, he taught local law enforcement officers and at the behest of his teacher Itosu, began instruction in the various grammar schools in Shuri and Naha.
In an effort to popularize karate in mainland Japan, Mabuni made several trips to Tokyo in 1917 and 1928. Although much that was known as "Te" (Chinese Fist; lit. simply "hand") or karate had been passed down through many generations with jealous secrecy, it was his view that it should be taught to anyone who sought knowledge with honesty and integrity. In fact, many masters of his generation held similar views on the future of Karate: Gichin Funakoshi (founder of Shotokan), another contemporary, had moved to Tokyo in the 1920s to promote his art on the mainland as well.
By 1929, Mabuni had moved to Osaka on the mainland, to become a full-time karate instructor of a style he originally called Hanko-ryū, or "half-hard style". The name of the style changed to Shitō-ryū, in honor of its main influences. Mabuni derived the name for his new style from the first kanji character from the names of his two primary teachers, Higa(shi)onna and I(to)su. With the support of Ryusho Sakagami (1915–1993), he opened a number of Shitō-ryū dojo in the Osaka area, including one at Kansai University and the Japan Karatedō-kai dojo. To this day, the largest contingent of Shitō-ryū practitioners in Japan is centered in the Osaka area.
Mabuni published a number of books on the subject and continued to systematize the instruction method. In his latter years, he developed a number of formal kata, such as Aoyagi, for example, which was designed specifically for women's self defense. Perhaps more than any other master in the last century, Mabuni was steeped in the traditions and history of Karate-dō, yet forward thinking enough to realize that it could spread throughout the world. To this day, Shitō-ryū recognizes the influences of Itosu and Higaonna: the kata syllabus of Shitō-ryū is still often listed in such a way as to show the two lineages.
Kenwa Mabuni died on May 23, 1952, and the lineage of the style was disputed between his two sons, Kenzō and Kenei. Currently, the Shitō-ryū International Karate-dō Kai (also known as Seito Shitō-ryū) lists Kenzō Mabuni as the second Sōke of Shitō-ryū, while the World Shitō-ryū Karate-dō Federation (also known as Shitō-kai Shitō-ryū) lists Kenei Mabuni.
Other schools of Shitō-ryū developed after the death of Kenwa Mabuni, both because the death of a founder typically results in a dispute as to who will succeed him as the leader of a given school and because many prominent Karate teachers choose to modify the style, thereby creating new branches.
Major existing branches of Shitō-ryū include:
- Shitō-kai: Founded by Manzo Iwata in Tokyo and by Kenei Mabuni in Osaka. These two branches were reunited in 1964, establishing All Japan Karate-dō Federation Shitō-Kai, which, after the death of Manzo Iwata in 1993, became known as World Shitō-ryū Karate-dō Federation. It was led by president Ken Sakio (a student of Chōki Motobu and Mab-uni Kenwa) from 1993 to 2004, and is currently led by president Tokio Hisatomi, a student of Mab-uni Kenwa Recently, Kenei Mabuni founded a private organization, International Dento (Traditional) Shitō-ryū, which is separate from the WSKF.
- Seitō Shitō-ryū: Founded by Kenzo Mabuni. Seitō, or "True" Shitō-ryū is the style promoted by Shitō-ryū International Karate-dō Kai and is other of the two branches claiming direct lineage from Kenwa Mabuni. It was founded by his son Kenzo Mabuni and, since his death in 2005, belongs to Kenzo's daughter, Tsukasa Mabuni. Kenzo Mabuni was an honorary life member of the Japan Karate Federation, holding the honorary rank of 10th Dan. Honorary ranks awarded by Japan Karate Federation should not be confused with true ranks, as true ranks of 10th Dan are rarely, if ever, awarded and Honorary Ranks are given out in large numbers, mostly to esteem members of Japanese society who are not involved with martial arts. In the 1990s, several renowned international Shitoryu masters affiliated themselves to Kenzo Mabuni, including Minobu Miki, who joined immediately after he was expelled and forced to leave Hayashi-ha, and Chuzo Kotaka, though both only stayed affiliated with Seitō Shitō-ryū for a very short time. Kenzo's traditional funeral was attended by karate masters from around Japan and the world, including his older brother Kenei Mabuni, which is common when a son of a legend dies. It should be noted that Japan Karate Federation does not recognize Seitō Shitō-ryū as a legitimate style and therefore Dan ranks in Seitō Shitō-ryū are not recognized or accepted in Japan.
- Shūkōkai: Founded by Chōjirō Tani, student of Mabuni Kenwa, in 1949. This style represents the Tani-ha version of Shitō-ryū. Tani's most senior student, Shigeru Kimura, left Japan in 1965 to teach Shūkōkai in Africa. Kimura continued to teach after travelling to Europe, before settling in the United States in 1970 at the age of 29, where he taught at Yonezuka's Cranford dojo for two years; creating the first Shukokai World Tournament in 1981. Sensei Kimura died of a heart attack at the age of 54. Tani died on 11 January 1998.
- Seishin-kai: Founded by Kōsei Kokuba, student of Mabuni Kenwa and Chōki Motobu in 1943 in Osaka, Japan. This school originally represented Motobu-ha Shitō-ryū, but no longer claims this lineage.
- Kuniba-Kai International: Founded by Shōgō Kuniba, third sōke of Seishin-Kai and the son of Kōsei Kokuba. He moved to Portsmouth VA in 1983. His dojo was separated from Seishin-Kai after his death in 1992 and became known as Kuniba-Kai. Kuniba-Kai is now led by Shōgō's son - Kōzō Kuniba. The organisation's headquarters is located in Osaka, Japan.
- Hayashi-ha Shitōryūkai: Founded by Teruo Hayashi, student of Kenwa Mabuni and Kōsei Kokuba in 1970 . Hayashi led Seishinkai before founding Hayashi-ha Shitōryū-kai. Hayashi-ha Shitōryū combines many Ryūei-ryū techniques that Hayashi learned while studying in Okinawa. The European organization is run by Miguel Fernández Vázquez, Barcelona, Spain. In the USA, Hayashi-ha is run by Akio Minakami in Seattle. Teruo Hayashi died in 2004.
- Inoue-ha Shitō-ryū Keishin-kai : Founded by Yoshimi Inoue (井上慶身) in 2004 as a direct descendant of Hayashi-ha Shitō-ryū with headquarters in Tottori, Japan and dojos in Venezuela, USA, Sweden, Brazil, and other countries. Inoue is a senior coach of the Japan National Karate Kata Competition team and his students include a number of World Kata champions.
- Itosu-kai: Founded by Ryusho Sakagami (1915–1993) on March 1, 1940 as Shito-ryu Karate Sakagami Dojo in Kawanishi City, Hyōgo Prefecture. He succeeded to the position of 3rd soke of Itosu-ha on January 2, 1952, and he officially named the organization "Japan Karatedo Itosu-kai" and the style "Itosu-ryu" in 1969. The branch is now run by Ryusho's son Sadaaki Sakagami, 4th soke of Itosu-Ryu.
- Sanshin-kan: Founded by Tamas Weber in 1965 in Stockholm, Sweden. He was a student of Tani, Hayashi, Kuniba, and others. The term "San" (three in Japanese) stands for tradition, spirit, and justice. Sanshin-kan organization was established in 1969.
- Hokushin: Taught by Minobu Miki, a student of Teruo Hayashi until he left the Hayashi-ha organization. in San Diego, California Hokushin has been led by a student of Kenzō Mabuni since 1972.
- Shito-Ryu Karate-Do: Taught by Japan Karate-Do International Academy. It is a organization teaching the Shito-Ryu Karate-Do of Master Mabuni Kenwa and Ryukyu Kobudo. It has been existing since 1994.
- Seiko-kai: Founded in (Shinkoiwa, Tokyo-Japan) 1993 by Seiko Suzuki, a senior student of Ryusho Sakagami.
- Aoinagi-ha Shitō-ryū Karate-dō: founded by Ray Castilonia, a student of Chuzo Kotaka and Richard Kim, in California in 1978.
- Shiroma Shitō-ryū: Founded by Shinpan Shiroma, a student of Itosu and Higaonna, and Mabuni Kenwa's peer in Shuri and Nishihara, Okinawa. He taught from World War II until his death in 1954, thereby creating the only known Okinawan branch of Shitō-ryū. His student, Horoku Ishikawa, continues his lineage.
- Kotaka-ha Shitō-ryū: Founded in 1966 by Chuzo Kotaka, a member of Seishinkai, in Hawaii. He is the founder and President of International Karate Federation with its headquarter based in Hawaii.
- Shito-ryu Karate-do Genbu-kai: Founded by Fumio Demura in 1965 in Santa Ana, California. He was a student of Ryusho Sakagami and Shinken Taira. It was renamed to Shito-ryu Karate-do Genbu-kai Federation in 2003.
- Kurokawa-ha Shitō-ryū Kai: Founded in 1995 by Timothy M. Brooks, student of Teruo Hayashi, Shōgō Kuniba and Ryusho Sakagami.
- Sosa-kai: Founded by Jorge Sosa Sr; a direct student of Kenei Mabuni.
- Tanaka Shito-ryu Shobukan: Founded by Hiromasa Tanaka a student of Ken Sakio (former president of the Shito ryu Karate Federation) in Matsuyama city, Japan. Shobu means the spirit of warrior.
- Tetsu-ryu-Ha Shito-Ryu: Founded by Ted A. Hines, student of Richard Baillargeon and Shogo Kuniba, in Ohio in 1996.
- Hinsei Shito-Ryu Karate-Do: Founded in 1995 by John Gaddy, a student of Yoshisada Yonezuka and Masayuki Kukan Hisataka. Shigeru Kimura, Yonezuka, and Tomo Kidachi were early pioneers of Tani-Ha Shito-Ryu Karate-Do in the United States, while the Italian sensei Fabio Martella was an early pioneer in France.
- Nobukawa-Ha Shito-Ryu Karate-Do: Founded by Soke Kuniaki Nobukawa, 8th (Hachi) Dan holder from Japan Karate-Do Federation and the title of Hanshi. Soke Kuniaki Nobukawa had learned Karate-Do under Master Hayashi Teruo of Hayashi-Ha and Master Tani Chojiro of Tani-Ha Shito-Ryu. Later he reformed his organization and changed it to Japan Karate-Do Nobukawa-Ha Shito-Ryu Kai which is officially recognized by Japan Karate-Do Federation. Renshi. Naresh Sharma represents India branch of Nobukawa-ha Shito-Ryu Kai.
Shitō-ryū is a combination style, which attempts to unite the diverse roots of karate. On one hand, Shitō-ryū has the physical strength and long powerful stances of Shuri-te derived styles, such as Shorin-ryū and Shotokan (松涛館); on the other hand, Shitō-ryū also has the circular and eight-directional movements, breathing power, and hard and soft characteristics of Naha-te styles such as Uechi-ryū and Gōjū-ryū (剛柔流). Shitō-ryū is extremely fast, but still can be artistic and powerful. In addition, Shitō-ryū formalizes and emphasizes the five rules of defense, developed by Kenwa Mabuni, and known as Uke no go gensoku (受けの五原則), Uke no go genri (受けの五原理) or Uke no go ho (受けの五法):
- 落花 (rakka, "falling petals"). The art of blocking with such force and precision as to completely destroy the opponent's attacking motion. Examples of rakka are the most well-known blocks, such as gedan-barai (下段払い) or soto-uke (外受け).
- 流水 (ryūsui, "running water"). The art of flowing around the attacker's motion, and through it, soft blocking. Examples are nagashi-uke (流し受け) and osae-uke (押さえ受け).
- 屈伸 (kusshin, "elasticity"). This is the art of bouncing back, storing energy while recoiling from the opponent's attack, changing or lowering stance only to immediately unwind and counterattack. Classic examples are stance transitions zenkutsu (前屈立ち) to kōkutsu (後屈立ち) and moto-dachi (基立ち) to nekoashi-dachi (猫足立ち).
- 転位 (ten'i, "transposition"). Ten'i is the utilization of all eight directions of movement, most importantly stepping away from the line of attack.
- 反撃 (hangeki, "counterattack"). A hangeki defense is an attack which at the same time deflects the opponent's attack before it can reach the defender. Examples of this are various kinds of tsuki-uke (突き受け), including yama-tsuki (山突き).
Modern Shitō-ryū styles also place a strong emphasis on sparring. Shitō-ryū stresses speed, and fighting is generally initiated from a higher, more upright stance than Shotokan employs. On the other hand, because the style has so many kata, a great deal of time is spent perfecting any one of its 40 to 60 forms.
Opening ceremony (Reishiki)
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (July 2012)|
Ritsu rei - Standing bow to Sensei
Seiza - Sensei sits (formal sitting position), the class sits in seiza facing shomen and prepares for class. Head student (sempai) calls out:
Mokuso! This means "Close your eyes and Clear your mind!" After about a minute, the sempai student calls out:
Kaimoku! This means: "Open your eyes!" or Mokuso Yame! This means “Finish meditation”
Zarei - Next the class performs three zarei or sitting bows. The head student calls out:
Shomen ni rei! This means "Bow to the front of the dojo." After the class finishes this bow, the Sensei will turn around and face the class and the head student will call out:
Sensei ni rei! - This means "Bow to the Teacher!" As the class bows to the teacher, the teacher will return the bow. As each student bows, they recite "Onegaishimasu" which means "Please (teach me!)"
Otagai ni rei! - This means "Bow to each other!" Both the teacher and the students will bow to each other at the same time. This is to acknowledge that we are all students of the art of Karate Do.
At this point the Sensei will indicate that the class should stand up and practice will begin.
These are all the katas of Shitō-ryū and an orientative grade for each of them:
- Junino Kata
- Daichi Dosa
- Daini Dosa
- Daisan Dosa
- Daiyon Dosa
- Heien Nidan
- Heian Shodan
- Heian Sandan
- Heien Yondan
- Heian Godan
- Naifanchi Shodan
- Bassai dai
- Shiho Kosokun
- Tomari no Wanshu
- Tomari no Bassai
- Chatanyara no Kusanku
Kunshi no Ken (The Noble Discipline)
Mabuni's motto "Kunshi no Ken" which means to concentrate on cultivating oneself to become a well-rounded, respectful individual. The person who is able to accomplish this as well as to exercise good manners in all situations with self-discipline and respect, who is able to assume accountability for one's actions, and to keep one's integrity as to set an example for others, is considered a Shito-ryu practitioner.
Heijutsu no Sanbyo
The three weaknesses or sicknesses of Martial Arts by Kenwa Mabuni.
Hitotsu - Giryo (One - Doubt or Skepticism)
Hitotsu - Ketai (One - Negligence)
Hitotsu - Manshin (One - Egotism)
- Heisoku dachi: Toes & heels together, (closed foot stance), at "attention".
- Musubi dachi: Heels together, & toes apart, (open foot stance) "knot" shape.
- Heiko dachi: Feet apart, parallel (open, hip width).
- Hachiji dachi: Feet apart, toes pointing OUT at 45 degrees (open, shoulder width).
- Uchi-Hachiji dachi (Niafanchi Dachi): Feet apart, toes pointing IN at 45 degrees (open, shoulder width).
- Shiko dachi: Straddle leg, "Sumo" stance.
- Moto dachi: Front knee partially bent, forward stance
(shorter than Zenkutsu dachi).
- Zenkutsu dachi: Front knee bent, long forward stance.
- Nekoashi dachi: "Cat foot" stance.
- Sanchin dachi: Inward tension stance. ("Hour glass" stance.)
- Kōkutsu dachi: "Looking back" stance. ("Back stance".)
- Renoji dachi: Stance resembling the letter "L".
- 'Tee'-ji dachi: Stance resembling the letter "T" upside down.
- Kosa dachi: "Hooked leg" stance.
- Sagiashi dachi: "Heron foot" stance (one-legged).
- Ukiashi dachi: Stance resembling Nekoashi dachi, but more upright in a loose floating leg stance.
Uke-waza (blocking techniques)
- Gedan barai uke (Hari uke): Low-level, downward block / sweeping block.
- Yoko uke (Soto uke): Block from inside (centre of body), towards outside.
- Yoko uchi (Uchi uke): Block from outside, towards inside (centre of body).
- Age uke: Rising, upper-level block.
- Yoko Barai uke: Side, sweeping block.
- Uchi Otoshi uke: Circular, inside drop (downward pushing) block.
- Tsuki uke: Simultaneous punching (forearm) block.
- Te Kubi Sasae uke: Augmented (supported) wrist block.
- Sukui uke: Scoop block.
- Shuto uke: "Knife-hand" block.
- Kosa uke: "X" block (wrists crossed).
- Hijisasae uke: Augmented (inside-middle) elbow block.
- Osae uke: Pressing down block.
- Kakewake uke: Reverse-wedge block.
- Nagashi uke: Cross-body open-hand flowing/sweeping block.
- Shiuko uke (Haishu Uke): Open-hand, back-hand block.
- Shotei uke (Teisho): Palm-heel block.
Uchi-waza (striking techniques)
- Seiken tsuki: Fore fist, straight punch (for basic practice).
- Oi tsuki: Lunge punch.
- Gyaku tsuki: Reverse hand punch.
- Furi tsuki: Circular/swinging (roundhouse) punch.
- Age tsuki: Rising punch.
- Kagi tsuki: Hook punch.
- Mae Te tsuki: Lead-hand (forward hand) jab-punch.
- Ura tsuki: Inverted (palm up), close punch.
- Morote tsuki: U-shape punch.
- Tate tsuki: Vertical fist punch.
- Nihon tsuki: Double punch.
- Shuto uchi: "Knife" (chopping) hand strike.
- Ura uchi: Back fist punch.
- Kentsui uchi: Bottom fist strike.
- Shotei (Teisho) uchi: Palm-heel strike.
- Haito uchi: Ridge-hand strike.
- Haishu uchi: Open back-hand strike.
- Hiji ate uchi: Elbow strike.
- Koken uchi: Bent wrist-hand strike.
Keri-waza (kicking techniques)
- Mae geri: Front (forward & return) kick.
- Oi geri: Stepping (lunging forward) kick.
- Yoko sokuto geri: Side (edge of foot) kick.
- Mawashi geri: Roundhouse kick (to front).
- Gyaku Mawashi geri: Reverse direction (inside) roundhouse kick.
- Ura Mawashi geri: Back leg, hook kick to front (heel/ball of foot).
- Ushiro geri: Straight-back (backward) kick.
- Ushiro Mawashi geri: Spinning, back-roundhouse kick to front.
- Mae-ashi geri: Forward leg, front kick.
- Fumikomi geri: Stamping/thrusting kick.
- Hiza geri: Knee cap kick.
- Ushiro geri: Spinning-back, roundhouse kick.
- Gyaku geri: Reverse (inside) roundhouse kick.
- Mae-tobi geri: Front (jumping/flying) kick.
- Yoko-tobi geri: Side (jumping/flying) kick.
- Hokama, Tetsuhiro (2005). 100 Masters of Okinawan Karate. Okinawa: Ozata Print. p. 39.
- The History of Shito Ryu[dead link] at martialsource.com
- The History of Shito Ryu[dead link] at martialarm.com
- Kenzo Mabuni Soke[dead link] at seitoshitoryu.com
- History at WSKF
- Tokyo Hisatomi at shitokai.com
- Minakami Karate Dojo - Minakami Shihan[dead link] at MinakamiKarate.com
- Martial Art History at Inoue-ha Shitō-ryū Keishin-kai Karate-dō Kobushi Dojo, Miami FL
- Brief History of Itosu-ryu Karatedo
- Tamas Weber at Sanshin Kan International Karate website
- Minobu Miki
- Andreas Kuntze (2003). "A Brief History of the Origin of Shitō-ryū SEIKO-KAI". Retrieved 2008-02-09.
- "Uke No Go Gensoku". Shitoryu Cyber Academy. Retrieved 2007-05-16.
- "Shitō-ryū Stances". Karate-do Shito-kai Canada. Retrieved 2012-02-12.