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Matsubayashi-ryu (Shorin-ryu)
Official logo
Official logo
Date founded 1947
Country of origin Okinawa Prefecture Okinawa, Japan
Founder Osensei Shōshin Nagamine
Arts taught Karate, Kobudō
Ancestor schools Tomari-te, Shuri-te
Official website

Matsubayashi-ryū (松林流), is a style of Okinawan karate founded in 1947 by Shōshin Nagamine (1907–1997). Its curriculum includes 18 kata, seven two-man yakusoku kumite (prearranged sparring) routines, and kobudō (weapons) practice. Matsubayashi-ryu is one of the four main styles of karate on Okinawa today, and was one of the styles represented when the Okinawa Karate-do Federation was founded. It included the styles: Goju-ryu, Uechi-ryu, Shorin-ryu, and Matsubayashi-ryu.[1]

Sensei Nagamine named his style in honor of the two most important masters that his teachings were based upon, Sōkon Matsumura of Shuri-te[2] and Kosaku Matsumora of Tomari-te.[3] He chose to name the school using the first kanji characters from both master's names Matsu (松) and the style is pronounced in Japanese "Matsubayashi".

Shuri-te is divided into three styles, two are called Shorin-Ryu and a third is called Matsubayashi-Ryu.[4][5] Matsubayashi-Ryu is a style of Shorin-Ryu and the terms Matsubayashi-Ryu and Shorin-Ryu can be used interchangeably.[6] Normally, the style is referred to as Shorin-Ryu but when a definite distinction is required between the other styles of the Shorin-Ryu family (Kobayashi-Ryu, Shobayashi-Ryu and Matsumura Seito Hohan Sōken) then it is called Matsubayashi-Ryu.[7]

Shoshin Nagamine also credited Motobu Chōki as the teacher who inspired his seven Yakusoku kumite forms. Until his death in 2012, the official Matsubayashi-ryū organization was run by Shōshin Nagamine's son, Takayoshi Nagamine. However there are many schools teaching Matsubayashi-ryū that are separately affiliated with the Nagamine dojo. A new kata, Fukyugata San, was developed in 1960 by Ueshiro sensei and is performed in his association's schools, however it is not included in the general kata for Matsubayashi -ryu.

Matsubayashi-ryū is one of the better-documented traditional karate styles, owing to Nagamine's book, The Essence of Okinawan Karate-dō.[8] as well as Tales of Okinawa's Great Masters.[9]

After the death of Shoshin Nagamine in 1997, many of his senior students formed their own organisations to teach Matsubayashi-ryu. After Shoshin Nagamine the following people were the successors to this organisation:

  • Takayoshi Nagamine (1992-2012), second generation headmaster (Soke)
  • Yoshitaka Taira (2012-), Association President / Toshimitsu Arakaki (2012-), Association Vice-President


Kata are sets of moves in Karate and are considered the most important part of the Matsubayashi-ryu style.


These are the ranks as set out by the World Matsubayashi-ryu (Shorin-ryu) Karate-Do Association (WMKA) and the Kodokan Nagamine Karate Dojo (World Honbu).


  • 8th Kyu - White Belt, one green stripe
  • 7th Kyu - White Belt, two green stripes
  • 6th Kyu - Green Belt, three white stripes
  • 5th Kyu - Green Belt, two white stripes
  • 4th Kyu - Green Belt, one white stripe
  • 3rd Kyu - Brown Belt, three white stripes
  • 2nd Kyu - Brown Belt, two white stripes
  • 1st Kyu - Brown Belt, one white stripe


  • 1st to 10th Dan - Black Belt

Shogo Titles

  • Renshi (6th Dan) - Black Belt with one stripe
  • Kyoshi (7th & 8th Dan) - Black Belt with two stripes
  • Hanshi (9th & 10th Dan) - Black Black with three stripes
  • Hanshisei (10th Dan) - Black Belt with four stripes

Major Organizations of Matsubayashi-ryu[edit]

After the passing of the Matsubayashi-ryu founder, Shoshin Nagamine, in 1997 all practitioners of Matsubayashi-ryu Karate-do were affiliated with the Nagamine Honbu Dojo and the Okinawan Matsubayashi-ryu Karate-do Federation. After the passing of Shoshin Nagamine, some students decided to form their own organisations. The Major organizations in the USA are the WSKF, the NAMKA and the World Matsubayashi-ryu (Shorin-ryu) Karate-Do Association (WMKA).

Well-known Matsubayashi-Ryu Practitioners[edit]

Ranks and honorifics have been excluded from the list for simplicity.


United States


  • Frank Baehr - Student of Shoshin Nagamine


  • Ricardo Fuchs Camani - Student of Shoshin Nagamine and Shigehide Akamine


  • Ole-Björn Tuftedal - Student of Takayoshi Nagamine


  1. ^ ^ Bishop, Mark. Okinawan Karate: Teachers, Styles and Secret Techniques. ISBN 0-8048-3205-6, page 86.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ ^ Nagamine, Shoshin. Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do. Page 22.
  5. ^ ^
  6. ^ ^ Nagamine, Shoshin. Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do. Page 22.
  7. ^ ^ Nagamine, Shoshin. Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do. Page 23.
  8. ^ Nagamine, Shoshin. The Essence of Okinawan Karate-dō. ISBN 0-8048-2110-0. 
  9. ^ Nagamine, Shoshin. Tales of Okinawa's Great Masters. ISBN 0-8048-2089-9. 
  10. ^ ^
  11. ^ ^
  12. ^ ^


  1. ^ Shoshin Nagamine. The Essence of Okinawan Karate-do. ISBN 0-8048-2110-0 chapter 1 pages 21–24
  2. ^ Patrick McCarthy and Mike Lee. Classical Kata of Okinawan Karate ISBN 0-89750-113-6 Chapter 1 page 18
  3. ^ Bishop, Mark. Okinawan Karate: Teachers, Styles and Secret Techniques. ISBN 12
  4. ^ The Directory of Okinawa Karate and kobudo
  5. ^ The History of Japanese Karate. Masters of The Shorin-ryu. by Graham Noble with Ian McLaren and Prof. N. Karasawa Part Three:
  6. ^ Master Funakoshi's Karate, The History and development of the Empty Hand Art Part 2. by Graham Noble
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Maccarrone-Kresge Martial Arts Book Collection anotated bibliography z Patchogue-Medford Library 11772

1980 to present

External links[edit]