Taira Shinken

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Shinken Taira (平 信賢 Taira Shinken?, 1897 – 1970) was a Japanese martial artist, born as Shinken Maezato (前里 信賢 Maezato Shinken?) in 1897 on Kume island in the Ryūkyū archipelago.[1] [2]

Early life[edit]

He was the second son in a family of three boys and one girl. He was given up for adoption as a child (not an uncommon practice in old Japan). In his early life he took on his mother's maiden name of Taira. Taira worked in the sulfur mines in Minamijima. He suffered a badly broken leg when he was trapped in a mine shaft collapse, which caused permanent damage to his leg.

Karate[edit]

In 1922, after traveling to Tokyo to find work, he was introduced to Gichin Funakoshi, a fellow Okinawan and karate instructor. In 1929, Taira began his studies of Ryūkyū kobudo under Moden Yabiku. In 1934, Taira became deshi of Mabuni.[1][2]

In 1932 after studying kobudo for three years and karate for 10 years, he received permission from his masters to open his own dojo. Taira began to teach karate and kobudo in the springs resort town of Ikaho, Gunma Prefecture.[2]

In 1940 Taira opened a kobudo dojo in Naha, Okinawa. He also opened dojo in Kantō and Kansai, two major districts of central Japan.

Taira's legacy[edit]

In the post-war era, even in Okinawa, the number of kobudo students was much lower than the number of karate students. To reviatalize Okinawan kobudo study, in 1955 he established the Ryūkyū Kobudo Hozon Shinkokai as a continuation of Moden Yabiku's Ryukyu Kobujutsu Society.[1][2]

Taira was in 1960 Shihan for the Nihon Kobudo Kenkyujo and in 1963 vice-President of the International Karate Kobudo Federation. On July 1, 1964, he was promoted to Hanshi by the Japan Kobudo Federation. He was the first president of the Ryukyu Kobudo Preservation and Promotion Society(July 1970).[2]

After his death in September 1970, Taira was succeeded in Ryūkyū Kobudo Hozon Shinkokai in Okinawa by Eisuke Akamine[1] and in mainland Japan by Inoue Motokatsu.

Taira created the nunchaku kata taught in Ryukyu kobudo 'Taira no Nunchaku'.[1]

Taira is credited with composing Maezato no Tekko, a kata using metal horse stirrups. The name Maezato relates to his birth name. He continued his studies in kobudo cataloging over 40 traditional weapons kata from around Okinawa.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Bishop, Mark (1989). Okinawan Karate. pp. 121,124,126. ISBN 0-7136-5666-2. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Hokama, Tetsuhiro (2005). 100 Masters of Okinawan Karate. Okinawa: Ozata Print. pp. 50–51. 

External links[edit]