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Shōrei ryū
Motobu Choki.jpg
Country of originRyūkyū Kingdom
FounderHigaonna Kanryō (Naha-te)
Choki Motobu (modern)
Arts taughtKarate
Ancestor artsOkinawan martial arts (Shuri-te), Quanfa, Baihequan
Descendant artsGoju-ryu, Shito-ryu, Shuri-ryu, Ryūei-ryū
PractitionersRobert Trias

Shorei Ryu (昭霊流, Shōrei ryū) is a style of Okinawan karate and is one of the two oldest Karate styles, alongside Shōrin-ryū. It was developed at the end of the 19th century by Higaonna Kanryō in Naha, Okinawa.


Shorei Ryu means "the style of inspiration" and certain martial arts scholars believe[citation needed] that the term Shorei is derived from the Shoreiji Temple [1] that's located in either Fujian or Mount Jiulian of Longnan, Jiangxi.[2]


Much is not known about the origin of Shōrei-Ryū, but it was influenced in its early development by Shuri-Te. Kanryo Higashionna originally studied Shuri-Te with Sokon Matsumura and learnt quanfa from Chinese Wai Xinxian (assistant of Xie Zhongxiang). Higaonna later traveled to China to perfect his skills, which he probably succeeded in because he learned many new kata from Fujian, the home of Baihequan (Chinese 白鶴 拳, Pinyin báihèquán) and adopted it in his style. The teachings of this temple provided the basis for the Naha-Te style of Okinawan Karate.

Following passing of Higaonna Kanryo, the style began to take a new direction and became a purely "internal" combat style. This was due in large part to the influence of Choki Motobu.[3]

Although Motobu's sensei style is still considered Naha-te, it actually had nothing to do with Higashionna. When Motobu became the leader of Shorei-ryu, he began to guide his development in another direction, mainly because he trained with Anko Itosu, of the Shuri-te style and disciple of the great Sokon Matsumura.[4]

Features of style[edit]

The main features of Shōrei-ryū are the use of open hands, circular block techniques and kicks in the Gedan area.

In addition, the use of short and hard techniques in close combat in combination with throwing techniques is a great specialty, especially from the Sanchin and Shiko dachi stalls. Great importance is also attached to training on the Makiwara.

Another peculiarity is that the handling of Kobudō weapons such as Bo, Tonfa or Sai is also very practiced.

Shorei-Ryu Kata[edit]

Shorei-ryu originates various kata that would be used in descendant styles like Goju-ryu and others.[5]

Gekisai dai ichi (撃砕大一) Seisan (十三手) Anan (阿南)
Gekisai dai ni (撃砕大二) Shisōchin (四向戰) Ohan ( )
Saifā (碎破) Kururunfa (久留頓破) Peiho ( )
Sanchin (三戰) Sūpārinpei (壱百零八手) Sōchin (壮鎮)
Tensho (転掌) Pachu ( ) Niseishi ( )
Seienchin (制引戰) Heiku ( ) Useishi ( )
Sansēru (三十六手) Paiku ( ) Unsu (雲手)

Further development[edit]

Modern descendants of Shorei-Ryu include styles such as Gōjū-ryū and Ryūei-ryū. Goju-ryu is considered the direct evolution of Shorei-Ryu.[6]

The Shitō-ryū also contains many elements of the Shōrei-ryū, since Mabuni Kenwa was a student of Higoanna, and even the Shōtōkan contains kata from the Shōrei-ryū, which, however, did not get there directly, but via Mabuni Kenwa to Funakoshi Gichin were passed on. [7]

The Shorei Ryu name (alternatively, Goju-Shorei-Ryu and later, Shorei-Goju Ryu) was also used for the style of karate brought to the United States by Robert Trias.[8] Later Trias used the name Shuri-Ryu, although some lineages still use the Shorei Ryu name. This style should not be confounded with traditional Shorei Ryu. Trias's karate incorporated elements from Naha-Te, Shuri-Te, Tomari-Te, and others.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]