Kenwa Mabuni. (1889-1952)
Founder of Shito Ryu Karate
The Shito Ryu school of karate was founded by Mabuni Sensei who was born on November 14th 1889 in Shuri, Okinawa. Mabuni Sensei had trained under two of the greatest masters of Okinawan karate: Ankoh ITOSU (Shuri Te) and Kanryo HIGAONNA (Naha Te). Out of respect for both his senseis, Mabuni Sensei took characters from their names to form the name for his unique school of karate, Shito Ryu. In developing Shito Ryu, Mabuni Sensei incorporated both the Naha Te and the Shuri Te systems together with katas from the Chinese White Crane system (known as Wu Xianhui) that he had learned from the legendary Go Ken KI, a Chinese tea merchant who lived in Okinawa at the time. In 1929 Mabuni Sensei left Okinawa for mainland Japan and settled in Osaka where he worked daily to promote Karate-Do. Mabuni believed that the Katas of Karate, which contain attack and defence techniques, are the most important aspect and each purpose of the moves needs to be understood. Mabuni created bunkai kumite to help with this process which shows the correct use for each kata.
Uke no Go Gensoku, Shito-Ryu’s 5 Principles of defense.
The following principles are what karateka of the Shito-Ryu style try to achieve.
Rakka : A falling flower
Blocking with such force that if it were applied to the trunk of a tree it would lose it’s flowers. This would defeat the opponents attack.
Ryusui : Flowing water
This is to flow with your opponents movements and to it against them, responding with fluid movement.
Kusshin : Out and In
Using body movement to control an attack, using the knees to body shift and spring out and in from any angle
Tenshin : Rolling the body by stepping away - Tai Sabaki
Avoiding the attack of your opponent by using body movement and stepping away in all directions
Hangeki : Counter attack
Responding to the attack of your opponent with a counter attack.
Chojiro Tani. (1921-1998)
Founder of the Shukokai school of karate
He began his study of karate at junior high school practising Go Ju Ryu and continued his training at the Doshisha University in Kyoto where he studied under Chojun MIYAGI, the great karate Master (who was the founder of Go Ju Ryu and who had trained under Higaonna Sensei). Later when Sensei Miyagi returned to Okinawa, Tani Sensei trained under Kenwa Mabuni. After the Second World War Tani Sensei started to teach Karate in an open air car park in the centre of Kobe. His group (Shukokai) soon grew and one year later he built his own Dojo attached to his house. In 1946 Tani Sensei was presented with the scroll of succession from Mabuni Sensei and was given permission to start up his own school, Tani-Ha Shito-Ryu. Master Tani passed away on Sunday 11th January 1998.