He was taught by Sakugawa and also taught Ankoh Itosu
(1830 - 1915)
He trained a
great number of eminent karatemen, including Kentsu Yabu (1863-1937), Chomo
Hanashiro (1869-1945), Gichin Funakoshi (1867-1957), Moden Yabiku (1880-1941),
Kanken Toyama (1888-1966),Chotoku Kyan (1870-1945), Shinpan Shiroma (1890-1954),
Anbun Tokuda (1886-1945) and Kenwa Mabuni (1889-1952). Kanryo Higashionna
(alternate reading as HIGAONNA) was born in Naha in 1853.
In 1901 Ankoh
Itosu sensei introduced Okinawan Karate into the Shuri Elementary School System
as part of the physical education training program. This became the root by
which Okinawan Karate began to gain popularity. By 1905 Itosu sensei was the
first to teach Okinawan Karate at the Dai Ichi College and the Teacher's Training
College. In 1908 he wrote a letter to the Prefectural Educational Department
encouraging the introduction of Karate to all Okinawan schools including those
on the Japanese mainland. He wrote (paraphrased):
Kokan Oyadomari (1831-1905)
He taught Chotoku Kyan and Kosaku Matsumora
|Ancient warriors considered the techniques of the short stick(Jo) and the long stick (BO) to be of secondary importance but they still learnt the method and the practice. The Katori Ryu raised the staff to the dignity of a true fighting weapon. The monk warriors of the 16th century made it their chosen weapon because they said that the staff's humility could make it powerful and so conquer the enemy, or even break the famous sword in two.|
Master Arakaki was an accomplished Kobujutsu teacher and taught Kenwa Mabuni BO and SAI techniques, including various weapons forms. Back to Top
He was renown for his great physical strength and his performance of the 'SANCHIN' kata. Kanryo Higashionna was also considered to be one of the most highly respected martial artists in Okinawa during the 19th century. Master Higashionna had many disciples among whom were his most dedicated, Chojun Miyagi (founder of GOJU-RYU), Juhatsu Kiyoda (founder of TOON-RYU), Kanken Toyama, and Kenwa Mabuni (founder of SHITO-RYU). Back to Top
Kentsu Yabu (1863-1937)
The founder of Shotokan Karate-Do
|Chomo Hanashiro (1869-1945|
He was taught Tomari - Te by Kokan Oyadomari
The founder of 'GOJU-RYU' Back to Top
Kenwa Mabuni (1889-1952)
He was born in Shuri, the 17th generation descendant of one of the bravest warriors of Okinawan nobility.His family members had served Okinawan lords for hundreds of years. As a child, Kenwa Mabuni wanted so very much to be like his great ancestors, but unfortunately he was very sickly and weak. In 1902, at the age of 13, Kenwa Mabuni was taken to the most famous martial artist in Shuri, master Ankoh Itosu, to improve his health. From that day forward, he never missed a day of training until he was approximately 20 years old. It is said that Itosu developed a strong bond with young Mabuni, passing on his knowledge of 23 kata.
|During his teens, in 1909, encouraged by master Itosu to further expand his knowledge of the martial arts, Mabuni also studied under Kanryo Higa(ashi)onna (1853-1915), a teacher of Naha-Te, a particularly chinese influenced karate style, until the great master's death in 1915. Mabuni was introduced to Higaonna, by his friend, Chojun Miyagi (who went on to become the founder of Goju-Ryu karate). Interestingly, during the 1920s, Mabuni participated with Miyagi in a Karate Club at a dojo known as Ryukyu Tode Kenkyu Kai, the "Okinawan Karate Research Club". This dojo saw many masters from a diversity of backgrounds train together, and whilst there Mabuni learned some Fukien Province White Crane Kung Fu, from the legendary Woo Yin Gue, a Chinese tea merchant living on Okinawa. These teachings have survived through the kata Rohai (Crane on the Rock) and Nipaipo.|
this period, Kenwa Mabuni was also receiving instruction from master Seisho
Arakaki of Naha, who taught a similar style to master Higashionna. He was also
being influenced by a Fukien, 'White-Crane-Fist' master named WU XIAN GUI (pronounced
GO KENKI in Japanese) at the time.
As a result
of Itosu's death in 1915,Mabuni became the second master of the Itosu school,
building a shrine in front of his master's grave where he lived nearby for
a year, following the daily ritual of refining his kata performance and to
pay respect and honour to the great master.
During 1918, Kenwa Mabuni's first son, Ken-ei, was born. Mabuni trained in Kobudo, with the most important master on the isle, Sensei Sakumoto, and then with Master Aragaki expertise in the use of the Bo and the Sai; accomplishing mastery in the usage of the Bo, Sai, Tonfa, Kama y Nunchaku.
He published lots of articles in specialized magazines and some technical books: "Seipai No Kenkyu", "Yosi-Goshin-Jutsu", and "Kobu-Juzai-Goshin-Jutsu Karate Kempo".
In 1924, Kenwa Mabuni and Chojun Miyagi were asked to take charge of the training sessions, even though they were still fairly young. During these sessions, actual kumite was stressed to increase their physical techniques and strength. It is said that, when a student wanted to learn more from a master, the master would simply invite the student to attack him freely, all the while, blocking and shifting his body while constantly asking the student, " now, do you understand?" and encouraging them to attack, again and again.
|Kenwa Mabuni originally named his system 'HANKO RYU' (Half-Hard style), but later changed it to reflect the deep respect he felt towards his two great masters, ITOSU and HIGAONNA. Using the alternative reading of the Kanji for 'ITO' from master ITOSU's name, (which can also be read as 'SHI'), and 'HIGA' from master HIGAONNA's name, (which can be interpreted as 'TO' ), Kenwa Mabuni created the new name, 'SHITO' for his style of Karatedo. It was during this time 1927-1928, that Kenwa Mabuni moved to Osaka permanently, to teach Shito Ryu Karatedo|
1929, master Moden Yabiku was also teaching Karatedo and Kobudo in Japan. His
most famous student was master Shinken Taira (1897-1970) who also trained under
master Mabuni during the late 1930's. Ryusho Sakagami (1915-1993), founder of
the NIHON KARATEDO ITOSU KAI, began training under master Moden Yabiku in 1934,
and then in 1937, became a student of master Kenwa Mabuni. Sakagami sensei also
received a teaching certificate in Kobudo, from master Shinken Taira. Over the
next few years, master Mabuni dedicated himself to the further development and
promotion of SHITO RYU karatedo in the Osaka area. He was faced with an extremely
difficult task due to the unwillingness of the population to accept him or this
strange looking system of self-defence, resembling an ancient 'Okinawan-Fist
In order to bring Shito Ryu to the general public's attention, master Mabuni would perform many demonstrations where he would break bricks and boards to show the power of karate. Continually trying to gain acceptance of his art, master Kenwa Mabuni would give free instruction at various police stations across western Japan. Eventually his enormous efforts began to finally payoff with the establishment of the DAI NIHON KARATEDO KAI, in 1931. This original group later was the forerunner of the present World Shito-Kai Karatedo Federation.
Ryu Karatedo became more accepted after this time, and master Mabuni began to
teach many students at his home and at many Universities that were forming clubs.
Among his many students included were his two sons, Kenei Mabuni and Kenzo Mabuni,
Chojiro Tani (founder of Tani-ha SHUKOKAI, "The way for All"), Ryusho
Sakagami, Yoshiaki Tsujikawa, Ken Sakio, Jun-ichi Inoue, Manzo Iwata, Toshiyuki
Imanishi, Kazuo Kokuba, Tokio Hisatomi and Ryusei Tomoyori. During the Pacific
War, many promising young karateka from the four major styles lost their lives,
including from the Shito Ryu group. Master Mabuni barely survived the post-war
turmoil, contending with great poverty but, he persevered and continued to devote
himself unselfishly to the further development of Shito Ryu Karatedo. After
the war, many of the previously established Shito Ryu Karate clubs in the universities
and colleges began to reopen. By this time, the future of Shito Ryu Karatedo
was assured by many of his surviving students the majority of which could be
found on the East coast of Japan in the Kanto district.
In 1993 the World Shitoryu Karate-Do Federation was created so as to unify the style. Master Manzo Iwata was designated as President. After his death, Master Ken Sakyo (8th. Dan) signs as the new President. When this was done, continental federations were created. Back to Top
Mabuni with Motobu and Konishi Sensei
On graduation from University, Sensei Tani followed Mabuni, learning first the Shuri-te system and then ultimately the developing Shitoryu system that Mabuni Kenwa founded. After many years of training under Mabuni Sensei as one of his most senior students, Sensei Tani received the certificate of succession entitling him to use the name Tani-Ha Shitoryu, the Tani sect of Shitoryu In 1948, whilst still a high school teacher, Sensei Tani founded his own school, which he called Shukokai.
Sensei Tani sought to perfect his style by studying the mechanics of the human body and developed techniques which can be delivered with maximum efficiency. Over a long period of time, Tani evolved and developed Shukokai. He always laid stress on the importance of etiquette, discipline and mental control, and was at pains constantly to promote the improvement of technique.
On the death of his teacher Mabuni Kenwa in 1952, many of the senior students went their own ways and at this time, Tani Sensei adopted the name bestowed by Mabuni: Tani-Ha Shitoryu He also organized clubs in Kyoto University and Osaka College of Economics, Tottiro University and Kobe University Medical School. Outside of Japan, Tani's style spread mainly in Europe (Kofukan International). Shigeru Kimura, one of the students of Chojiro Tani then promulgated Shukokai to the United States, whilst Yoshinao Nambu continued to teach in Europe, He called his style Nambudo.
At 5.00am on
Sunday January 11th 1998, just ten days before his 79th birthday, Sensei Chojiro
Tani, passed away in a hospital in Kobe, Japan.
Kimura-Left Shukokai USA
Hanshi Takeshi Masuyama
started karate in April 1965. He trained under Sensei Tani. He received Shodan
(1st Dan) 21 April 1973. He is currently a 9th Dan and hold the
degree of Hanshi, being the president of Skukokai World Karate Union, with
headquarters in Kobe, Japan. He is also the Soke of Ryushinkan International Karate-Do Federation.
We would like
to join all the world Shukokai groups from our Ryushin-kan World Headquarters.