History of Isshinryu Karate


Shimabuku performing Sai

Master Shimabuku was born on September 19,1908, and began his study of karate as a boy with his uncle, who practiced Shuri-te. He continued his studies with three great Okinawan masters: Chotoku Kyan, Chojun Miyagi and Choki Motobu. These three are featured in “The Weaponless Warriors”; and Richard Kim’s notes and charts clearly show how they tie into the long tradition of karate. Kyan was a student of Master Yasutune Itosu, who taught Shuri-te, and of, Master Matsumora, who taught Tomari-te. These two styles were combined to form Shorin-ryu (named after the Shaolin Temple tradition), and Kyan was one of Shorin-ryu’s greatest practitioners. He was famous for his powerful kicks and for his outstanding teaching ability. Kyan was a stern perfectionist, and young Tatsuo Shimabuku achieved the honor of being his best student.