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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
Practitioners { 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.[1]

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".[4][5] Matsubayashi-ryū is a style of Shōrin-ryū and the terms Matsubayashi-ryū and Shōrin-ryū can be used interchangeably.[4] Normally, the style is referred to as Shōrin-ryū, but when a definite distinction is required between the other styles of the Shōrin-ryū family (Kobayashi Shōrin-ryū, Shōbayashi Shōrin-ryū and Matsumura Seito Hohan Sōken) then it is called Matsubayashi-ryū.[6] Nagamine also credited Motobu Chōki as the teacher who inspired his seven Yakusoku Kumite Forms.

Matsubayashi-ryū is one of the better-documented traditional karate styles, owing to Nagamine's book, The Essence of Okinawan Karate-dō.[7] as well as Tales of Okinawa's Great Masters.[8]

After the death of Nagamine in 1997, many of his senior students formed their own organisations to teach Matsubayashi-ryū. Until his death in 2012, the official Matsubayashi-ryū organization was run by Shōshin Nagamine's son, Takayoshi Nagamine. Since 2012, Yoshitaka Taira has been the association president. However there are many schools teaching Matsubayashi-ryū that are no longer affiliated with the WMKA.


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

A new kata, Fukyugata San, was developed in 1960 by Ueshiro and is performed in his association's schools, however it is not included in the general kata for Matsubayashi-ryū.


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 SKKA, the NAMKA, the WSKF, the Midwest Honbu Dojo, the SKRDI.

  • World Matsubayashi-ryu (Shorin-ryu) Karate-Do Association (WMKA), Headed by Yoshitaka Taira and Toshimitsu Arakaki
    • Other Matsubayashi country-based associations or Honbu dojos include:
      • European Matsubayashi-ryu (Shorin-ryu) Karate-Do Association (EMKA), Europe, Headed by Ole-Bjørn Tuftedal
      • Okinawa Shorin-ryu New Zealand, New Zealand, Headed by Kevin Plaisted
      • Matsubayashi-ryu Karate Association of Australia (MKAA), Australia, Headed by John Carlyle
  • North American Matsubayashi-ryu Karate-Do Association (NAMKA), United States, Headed by Don Caponigro
  • Shorin-ryu and Kobudo Association, United States, Headed by Eihachi Ota ****************************************************************Shorin Ryu Karate Do International, Jerry Figgiani/ President- Takeshi Tamaki/ Chairman SRKDI.COM.
  • Okinawan Shorin Ryu Karate - Midwest-honbu-dojo- Headed by Bill George ** Website -
  • World Shorin-ryu Karate-Do Federation (WSKF), United States, Headed by Frank Grant
  • Matsubayashi Shorin-ryu International, Ireland, Headed by Patrick Beaumont
  • Matsubayashi-Ryu (Shorin-ryu) Karate-Do Argentina, Argentina, Headed by Shigehide Akamine
  • The Bubishi Karate Do Organization (Non-Profit)

Well-known Matsubayashi-Ryu Practitioners[edit]

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


  • Shoshin Nagamine, Founder of Matsubayashi-Ryu (DECEASED)
  • Takayoshi Nagamine, Second generation headmaster (Soke) of Matsubayashi-Ryu (DECEASED)
  • Nakamura Seigi, Senior student of Shoshin Nagamine (DECEASED)
  • Yasuharu Makishi, Senior student of Shoshin Nagamine (DECEASED)
  • Toshimitsu Arakaki, Senior student of Shoshin Nagamine
  • Yoshitaka Taira, Senior student of Shoshin Nagamine
  • Kiyoshi Shinjo, Senior student of Shoshin Nagamine
  • Nobuhide Higa, Senior student of Shoshin Nagamine and Yoshitaka Taira
  • Ansei Ueshiro, Chief Instructor at the Nagamine Dojo, sent to the United States by Shoshin Nagamine in 1962 to promote Matsubayashi-Ryu in the United States
  • Chotoku Omine, Senior student of Shoshin Nagamine and sent to the United States to promote Matsubayashi-Ryu by Shoshin Nagamine (DECEASED)
  • Kensei Taba (DECEASED), Senior student of Shoshin Nagamine and Founder of his own organisation, the Okinawa Shogen-Ryu Karate-Do Association
  • Masao Shima, Senior student of Shoshin Nagamine (DECEASED)
  • Eihachi Ota, Senior student of Masao Shima. He came to United States in 1969 to promote Matsubayashi-Ryu
  • Chokei Kishaba, Senior student of Shoshin Nagamine and Founder of Shōrin-ryū Kishaba Juku
  • Shigehide Akamine, Student of Shoshin Nagamine who moved to Argentina and heads the Matsubayashi-Ryu (Shorin-Ryu) Karate-Do Argentina

United States

  • James Wax, First non-Okinawan to receive a Black belt from Shoshin Nagamine in Matsubayashi-Ryu.(DECEASED) [9]
  • Sam Palmer, Student of Ueshiro Sensei (DECEASED)
  • Parker Shelton, Student of Bob Yarnall and James Wax (DECEASED)
  • Don Caponigro, Student of Takayoshi Nagamine & Frank Grant, North American Matsubayashi-ryu Karate-do Association
  • Joseph Carbonara - Student of Chotoku Omine (DECEASED)
  • Bill George - Original Student and Black Belt of Takayoshi Nagamine. Okinawan Shorin Ryu Karate Midwest Honbu dojo. Also holds Rokudan rank in Judo.
  • Bob Yarnall, Student of Jim Wax [9]
  • Frank Grant, Student of Jim Wax, Ansei Ueshiro and Shoshin Nagamine, Head of the World Shorin-ryu Karate-do Federation[9]
  • Walter Rowden,(Deceased) Student of Sam Palmer,(Deceased)
  • Jerry Figgiani - Student of Joseph Carbonara (Deceased)


  • Frank Baehr - Student of Shoshin Nagamine


  • Ricardo Fuchs Camani - Student of Shigehide Akamine


  1. ^ ^ Bishop, Mark. Okinawan Karate: Teachers, Styles and Secret Techniques. ISBN 0-8048-3205-6, page 86.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-09-04. Retrieved 2011-01-17.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-08-01. Retrieved 2010-02-15.
  4. ^ a b Nagamine, Shoshin. Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do. Page 22.
  5. ^ ^"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2011-03-16.
  6. ^ ^ Nagamine, Shoshin. Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do. Page 23.
  7. ^ Nagamine, Shoshin. The Essence of Okinawan Karate-dō. ISBN 0-8048-2110-0.
  8. ^ Nagamine, Shoshin. Tales of Okinawa's Great Masters. ISBN 0-8048-2089-9.
  9. ^ a b c ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-23. Retrieved 2012-02-21.


  • Shoshin Nagamine. The Essence of Okinawan Karate-do. ISBN 0-8048-2110-0 chapter 1 pages 21–24
  • Patrick McCarthy and Mike Lee. Classical Kata of Okinawan Karate ISBN 0-89750-113-6 Chapter 1 page 18
  • Bishop, Mark. Okinawan Karate: Teachers, Styles and Secret Techniques. ISBN 12
  • Maccarrone-Kresge Martial Arts Book Collection anotated bibliography z Patchogue-Medford Library 11772 1980 to present

External links[edit]