View Full Version : Zentokukai Karate

11th April 2003, 05:28
Zentokukai is a Karate-do Association, does anyone know anything about it? I think it's started by Sohan Tim Rodgers. I think its lineage goes back to Shorin-ji Ryu. There said to be a dojo in Miami, does anyone know where it is? Do they allow new students to train there who never had experience in Karate before? Thank you so much.

11th April 2003, 10:26

I am in the Zentokukai, what would you like to know?

11th April 2003, 19:56
Anything at all would be helpful. Like how do you guys do things or do them uniquely. I was pretty much drawn to the fact that it keeps the old tradition of karate than emphasis on competition. Ummm how do you guys do conditioning on building resistance to pain and derive power, any breaking boards, etc? Anything at all would be great. Thanks. Im trying to find the dojo in Miami.

11th April 2003, 21:52

I'll send you a PM later to put you in touch with Tim Rodgers & you can have your questions answered. That would be a lot easier than trying to go into it here.

Prince Loeffler
12th April 2003, 20:48
Hi Jay !

Great Site ! Is Zenryo Shimabukuro related to Eizo Shimabukuro ? or "shimabukuro" just a common last names in Okinawa ?

I often see two names with different spelling "shimabuko" and "Shimabukuro" is this common too ?

I am curios as to who and how many of these great "Shimabukuro" masters are related.

If truly they are all related, wow ! This is one tough clan in okinawa !:)


12th April 2003, 22:03
I think they are not related at all. Eizan Shimabokuru studied under Chotoku Kyan, Zenryo Shimabokuru's master obviously. But later he felt he needed the pure Okinawan art as so he claimed to himself, so he sought Chotoku Chibana, direct student of Itosu. Chotoku Kyan and Zenryo Shimabokuru kata curriculum is rather different than Eizan Shimbokoru's Shorin Ryu, although some of the katas correlate with each other. And even then, there are variations to Seibukan karate budo. Also keep in mind that Chotoku Kyan and Itosu were both students of Bushi Matsumura.

12th April 2003, 22:10
I thought you decided on Judo.

12th April 2003, 22:16
But as I explained to Mark, it's only once a week in the place I train in, :(. So looking for good Karate teacher, and Karate and Judo, could be a very good combination :D. Hoping that I that consider myself a genius and able remember all the techniques and not kill myself. *Crossing fingers*

13th April 2003, 11:15

Ashkel has done his homework! No, they are not related as far as I know, unless they are distant cousins. Shimabuku is a fairly common name, just as Smith or Jones would be here. The "ro" suffix is added to make the name more formal, so it can be Shimabuku or Shimabukuro.

13th April 2003, 14:37

I started inJudo when very young then moved to karate. I think it is a great idea if you can do both . The question is do you have the time in todyas busy world?

One thing thought, a complete karate system should have throws incorporated into it's mutltilevel repertoire of applications (bunkai). At one point most systems concentrated on stiking as the core of kata applications but this is not what karate is all about. karate bunkai is a very complex set of progressive applications dealing with the 3 distances, close, medium, long, and based on striking, controllin (Tuite) and finally with throwing.

This is what all Karate had a long time ago but it was either not emphazised or forgotten when it went to japan and it was made into a sport (liek Judo, kendo, etc..).

My point being is that if you're lucky to find a teacher that know the whole enchilada, you don;t have to necessarily cross train to get a little bit this or that. It should all be in karate.

Chinese systems are so much better organized than Okinawan karate as far as having a systematic way of preserving kata applications. Look deeply into this and you may get lucky.

Take care,

13th April 2003, 20:28
Ok, that answers my throwing and joint-locking question. lol. Does Mr. Tim Rodgers cover that as well? thanks.

Prince Loeffler
13th April 2003, 20:38
Hi Millia,

Just a suggestion, I think you should call the Zentokukai and make an appointment. This way all your questions can be answered.

Just an idea and hope you like it.

Shitoryu Dude
13th April 2003, 22:53
Hmmm, that brings up an interesting question. What is considered a good mix of striking, controlling and throwing? I know that this differs considerably from style to style and even from dojo to dojo within a style. American Kenpo spent a lot of time on controlling and throwing and striking was usually incorporated in that. Switch over to my present training in Shitoryu, and while controlling and throwing are quite present in kata and a smattering of self-defense training, the emphasis is on striking. However, at promotions when doing ippon kumite, controlling and throwing is looked for and does quite well with the judges.

I've talked to some TKD guys who transferred to the dojo and half of them couldn't do an armbar to save their life. They could kick you in the head while blindfolded, but a takedown was out of their training. Haven't had a chance to ever talk to anyone who ever studied a Gracie style, but it seems that the primary focus of that is strictly controlling and throwing.


13th April 2003, 23:39
Quote from Akshel:

so he sought Chotoku Chibana

That's Chosin Chibana or more correctly,
Chibana Chosin.

My theory on the grappling/striking thing is,
Funakoshi didn't teach (know) the tuite because
the Japanese already had Jujitsu. They didn't need another
grappling art, so Funakoshi's karate became what TKD did
to the Korean arts. (Notice alot of TKD schools also
teach Grappling on the side?) Tuite (grappling) is part of
Okinawan karate so if you find a good teacher, you should have
a more comprehensive art.

Regarding the Shimabukuro thing, I'm pretty sure Mark Bishop
covers that in his book, "Okinawan Karate". I'll have
to dig the book up and check that out.


Jussi Häkkinen
14th April 2003, 00:42
Bishop covers Shorin-Ryu Seibukan in his book (Zentokukai was later born from the Seibukan in North america). However, Bishop has misnamed the style as "Chubu Shorin-Ryu", which actually was a name for an organization founded in 1967. Chubu means "central". "Nambu" (southern) Shorin-Ryu was lead by Joen Nagazato, another student of Kyan Chotoku.

And no, Eizo Shimabukuro is not a relative of Zenryo nor Zenpo Shimabukuro.

14th April 2003, 03:36
I think the question- What is considered a good mix of striking, controlling and throwing? has nothing to do with any Karate style per say for the majority of them as we know today all suffer from the same lack of knowledge on everything that is not punch & kick.

If you look at Chinese systems you will find an integrated, logical, and progressive teaching curriculum which covers striking, Chin-na (tuite), push hands constinuous drills, and lots of throwing. This "completeness" was not evident in the post WWII migration of karate to the rest of the World for both Japanese/Okinawan karate was pre-ocupied with the whole competition thing, experimenting with Bogu, and Karate became a long distance art as evident when UFC made mincemeat of karate representation.

Many GIs came back wearing black belts during/after the Vietnam war era but really were good green/brown belts. Sure they could spar and spar good, but how much can you really learn in a 2 year tour of duty? With what we know today 2 years is nothing.

Unfortunately today, a "style" does not determine wether it has all the cool stuff, it really boils down to the teacher.

14th April 2003, 03:49
Ahh, Nincho,

first, welcome to this place.

Second, good comments. I hope we hear more from you.

Third, as per the rules at the botttom of each page, please sign all posts with your full name.


14th April 2003, 06:02
Quote from Nincho:

Unfortunately today, a "style" does not determine wether it has all the cool stuff, it really boils down to the teacher.

I agree with you there however, don't lump Japanese in with Okinawan.
There was alot of information not communicated for what ever reason
between the two. Yes, it's true a lot of servicemen of the era you
speak of came back with what we today think of as inflated rank,
but back then, a black belt only ment that you were a serious
student of the art. Heck, You may not have gotten to tuite until
later. I don't think Miyagi even gave out a black belt.
The concept was new and needed some criteria to establish it.

Yes, most Chinese arts teach the art as a complete form but I wonder
with Wu Shu being an Olympic sport, will it too lose some of
it's martial heritage?

In most of my talks with old timers like, Oshiro Sensei
(Matsubayashi), Iha Sensei (Kobayashi), and Nakazato Sensei
(also Kobayashi), tuite was taught and passed down but for some
reason some Japanese and a lot of servicemen didn't get it.
The time I met Shimabukuro Sensei, he made a few off color
comments about Funakoshi and the way he changed things.
(Sorry Jussi)

Okinawan karate was pre-ocupied with the whole competition thing

I don't know what you based this assumption on, but most of the
material I've read about post-war Okinawan karate didn't focus on
competition. Early on, Funakoshi was against it, going to the extent
of not visiting a university club because they adopted sparring.
It was the university clubs in Japan that were competing.

Sorry if my comments seem a little curt, but it bothers
me to have someone box my discipline of choice into a corner
and call it a striking or punch kick art. I'm also sorry
for name dropping, but I needed to resource creditable sources.


14th April 2003, 20:31
Ray, your comments are great, let me elaborate some more...

Quote from Ray
I agree with you there however, don't lump Japanese in with Okinawan.
There was alot of information not communicated for what ever reason
between the two.
I am saying that Okinawan systems as they have been spread throughout the world post Vietnam do not show an integrated curriculum that clearly covers bunkai with all it's bells and whistles. Did some Okinawa Senseis teach it and know it, of course. But I am not talking about that scenario, just what is evident and what you have seen in the past 30 years and multi-generations of Karateka. We now better understand that karate for the most part does not emphasize "blocks" as we were originally led to believe. It is not defensive but more of a counter offensive, which makes much more sense.

Quote from Ray
Yes, most Chinese arts teach the art as a complete form but I wonder
with Wu Shu being an Olympic sport, will it too lose some of
it's martial heritage?
Wushu is a fantastic art and those who do it are absolutely incredible, but like it's modern counterpart of competition karate it is mainly practiced for sport. And although they both have martial elements in it, it's emphasis is on showmanship, acrobatics, and presentation. Your question is excellent and I do think that anytime one focuses on sport, the true martial heritage suffers because practicing for fighting is very different than practicing for sport. I do not say that both are mutually exclusive, for one practitioner could be very good at both, but it takes the ability to wear a "sport" hat one minute and then switch it with a "martial" hat the next, and this is avery difficult thing to do. My personal observations show that generally most schools focus on one or the other but not both simultaneously.

Quote from Ray:
In most of my talks with old timers like, Oshiro Sensei
(Matsubayashi), Iha Sensei (Kobayashi), and Nakazato Sensei
(also Kobayashi), tuite was taught and passed down but for some
reason some Japanese and a lot of servicemen didn't get it.
I fully agree with this, and I think we know why the Japanese did not get it, but for the Okinawan part, many Senseis did not have the commitment nor time from the service men who were there for a very short period of time. Oshiro sensei is one of my senseis and he is an exception to the rule (I think he is one of the most knowledgeable karate and kubudo master on the globe today) and his knowledge is extensive, but I put him in a class all by himself.
I always look at Wado ryu and I see a system of Karate that is very well put together containing a well balanced instructional curriculum convering striking, locking/controlling, and throwing, unfortunately most karate systems are not as balanced (if at all).

Quote from Ray:
I don't know what you based this assumption on, but most of the
material I've read about post-war Okinawan karate didn't focus on
This was not my assumption but based on fact, and coming directly from someone who was there in the thick of it (straight from the Horse's mouth!) Sensei Walter Dailey who was a direct student of Shimabukuro Zenryo whom I have had the honor of getting very close to, and have picked his brain for hours on end about this period of time in Okinawa. Walter was one of Shimabukuro Senseis closest students and was an adopted son to the master. There was a huge fever and drive for competition in Okinawa in the 50s and 60s which drove the emphasis towards some very heavy pounding across all styles. Shimabukuro Zenryo/Seibukan and Nakamura Shigeru/Okinawa Kenpo were among the pioneers to explore this area or karate.

There was nothing wrong with this of course, and it created some excellent punchers and kickers of the time who were awesome. But this is one reason for my comment for the "preocupation with kumite" which drew the attention from studying kata bunkai for the generation of service men (including natives) who came to the USA and preached what they knew how to do very well. This is not a condemnation just an observation. And of course there are exceptions this is not an absolute.
Check out Walter Dailey's article which ran in Bugeisha magazine issue #3 called Bogu. You can see it on www.zentokukai.com / Archive/ Articles.

Quote from Ray:
but it bothers me to have someone box my discipline of choice into a corner
and call it a striking or punch kick art.
Hey don't take it the wrong way for I am in your corner too, cause it is not just "your art" it is mine as well (I am a Karateka too). Karate is not just a punch, kick art and we know that today. But this has not always been the general wisdom going back 30 years ago. And there are still many dojos that do not know much more beyond punch/kick to interpret their forms. Things are changing for the better with the advent of forums like this, mass communications, videos, seminars. Future generations of karateka will hopefully not have to suffer through the lack of information that my generation had to deal with and that teachers will better research their art. No one today has any excuse for not understanding the concept of all emcompasing bunkai which contains striking, tuite and throwing, it is all out there now.

Sorry for the long post, but these are important issues and that is what this forum is about - communication!!!!


15th April 2003, 01:06

Since you were a new member, I had to go with the assumption that
you may not have known as much about the history of karate
as you now have enlightened me about. :D You seem to have
a good handle on what you know and I for one am happy to have
made your aquaintance. Now that I know where you're coming from,
I can respond to you in a more flattering light.

As for the bogu gear, yes I have seen a pictures of a few
Okinawan sensei with their students in bogu gear. I never thought
of it as competion as much as their testing their competence.
I could be wrong... ;)

Have a good week all.
Welcome to the group Angel.

15th April 2003, 01:29
Hi Angel,

How are you doing?I can't believe you don't miss Miami,hope everything is fine with you and your family.

As far as karate being a complete art of self defense.I must agree that this is a very touchy subject and in some cases very debatable.I must also agree with you that the art of karate covers the complete alphabet of techniques in it's bunkai,throws,strikes tuite,etc along with a complete interpretation of most if not all aspects of self defense.

The problem falls with the actual training methods and transfer skills of those techniques into a real live scenario or situation.

There is no denying that"some"of those techniques work.The debate always seem to come from which training method is best suited for the transfer of those skills for real,against a live resisting opponent.

Small example,you might have a throw that is designed within the bunkai of a certain kata"big deal"sport science shows and demonstrates to us time and time again that the best method suited to properly learn to throw a live resisting opponent is thru the methods that constantly practice the throw against a live resisting opponent.in this case wrestlers,judokas,samboist all train with constant live resistence.

Therefore those proven training methods for developing a throw far outweigh the value that wrestling might not have a striking or tuite syllabus in their alphabet soup.

What good is it to have a complete art?just because it covers the whole complete system & shinanagangs,if the "training methods" do not cover the most important of all shinannagangs.

Hector Gomez

15th April 2003, 13:22

Having spent over a year in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, I agree with you 100%. I'm sure that Angel will also agree, having spent several years in Judo. The idea with kata bunkai that is often overlooked is using those applications in two-man drills & sparring. As such, the attacker in these drills MUST attack aggresively. Otherwise, the intent is lost.

Here are some articles that may better explain the concept:


hector gomez
15th April 2003, 14:52

Thanks for the web sites.I do realize that karate original intent was not to fight from 10 feet away with just oizuki being used like stated on that page but rather to adress all the different ranges of combat & self defense.

I agree with you that all ranges of combat need to be practiced and trained.My question to you is...What is the best proven training method for dealing with a live resisting opponent in all ranges?and what proven fact is that training method based on?

Hector Gomez

Bustillo, A.
15th April 2003, 15:32
Originally posted by hector gomez

Thanks for the web sites.I do realize that karate original intent was not to fight from 10 feet away with just oizuki being used like stated on that page...'

Hector Gomez

In some cases, it is possible that they realized some of their bunkai theories did not work when they found themselves grabbed, manhandled and thrown by the Japanese judo men. Thus, they adopted a long range fighting approach in attempts to downplay grabbing tactics.

15th April 2003, 15:38

I guess that I would have to say that the context would have to addressed. Are you refering to habitual acts of random violence from untrained assailants (self defence), or the tactical and/or strategic methods needed to deal with another trained fighter (NHB/MMA/etc.)?

Also, I'm not certain that I've seen any double-blind studies that prove anything one way or the other. I would imagine that it's all based upon anecdotal/empirical conclusions.

So, to answer you qustion as directly as I can, for self-defence I would say that their are "many ways to skin a cat". For "fighting" (MMA/NHB) I would concentrate upon conditioning & sparring to the complete exclusion of anything that looked like traditional martial arts.

Personally, I like both. As you say, "It's all good."

hector gomez
15th April 2003, 17:05

your response about the japaneese judo men not completely adhering to the grappling bunkai in the okinawan karate kata is not so far fetched,although that opinion is probably not welcomed here on this forum.

I really agree with you and believe that this theory was evaluated on more on a "one on one" basis as there were no absolutes back then just as there is none today.All practical combat theories really fall on the shoulders of the practicioner to prove or disprove them.


Good answer,there are many ways to skin a cat.I just wish more people would realize that.

Hector Gomez

16th April 2003, 23:48
Hector Wasssup!

For those in the Forum, Hector is by Far one of the best all around fighters I have ever had the pleasure to know. He is one of those gifted individuals who has the gift of timing and the heart of a Lion.

In the early eighties hector, myself and a bunch of Miamians were part of the Budweiser karate team who went to Caracas venezuela to compete in this huge tournament down there lead by Manny Saavedra (Sansei Goju) and Danny Reyes (Chinese Kenpo). Talk about roughing it! We had a fun time. The champion fighter from the leading school in Caracas ended up going at it with Hector for the Kumite for the grand-champion spot. Hector taught him a lesson that to this day I am sure he never forgot (he basically knpecked him out) and it was on a contrete flooring outdoor arena.

Hector remember that last night we were there, we didn't get any sleep, you, Jose and I? I should stop here.....

I sure hope you are still practicing, you should go by and visit Sensei Rodgers sometime.


17th April 2003, 12:00

Nice to hear from you and thanks for the kind words.it's been what...about 20 years since that last("great")night in venezuala,wow time flys by fast.

I still see Jose F. from time to time as we have remained friends to this day and even traveled together to japan in the early 90s.what I remember most about those days was you,jose and stanley f. disscussing the fine details about goju and its history.you guys were always in search of more goju knowledge.

Jose f. joined kenshokai goju in 86 and is still active in that system.He lurks on here sometimes so it would be nice to get you guys together to chat goju.

I do still train & promote Kickboxing and grappling down here in the south fla area as I still try to make it down to my judo/bjj club as often as my body does not act like it's 41.

I did run into Mr.Tim Rogers at a sushi restaurant a while back,I heard he has a beautiful dojo.I remember when he was seibukan at red road 57 ave.

Even thou I don't train goju I like to here all it's history & details.I will try to get CEB aka ED to talk goju along with Jose f.Good hearing from you and take care.

PS:Are you still riding that harley?

Hector Gomez

Bustillo, A.
17th April 2003, 12:08

The event in venezuela.

Your oppenet in the finals, Shoko Sato's student, son? Or perhaps I'm thinking of the time when you got your 'Point' across when they came to Miami.

17th April 2003, 15:09
Still ride a Harley, a 97 Road King.
Say Hello to Jose when yo uget a chance.
I have some old pictures of that event whcih I will try to find and make you copies.

Goju Man
18th April 2003, 00:57
Angel, as a matter of fact, there was an interesting discussion with Jose at lunch recently.:) I believe you and JCB were always head to head at tournaments. He is a good friend of mine (since the Ruben Font days) and train at his dojo from time to time.

Hector, I believe that tournament wound up being full contact? Which was exactly right down the middle of your alley!:D

18th April 2003, 05:39
Yes me and JCB were always fighting for first place in Kata. Those dasy were fun and full of energy, I miss them somewhat.

Please tell JCB hello for me. I hope e is doing well, he was/is a very talented and creative martial artist!

hector gomez
18th April 2003, 18:37

Sorry about taking so long to answer your question,I believe I fought a Jka guy or it could have been a shitoryu practicioner either way it was a long time ago.

I believe you visited caracas yourself from reading your book Steadytraining,It was basically the same type of experience,everyone wants to hand out beatings,what they call "CUNASOS"in venezuela.

Hector Gomez

20th April 2003, 08:26
A good karate-ka won't beat a good judo-ka with grappling. He will beat him with good karate, and serendipity.:)

Karate is a relative term of course.

The comment about Okinawan karate (or karate period) being kumite oriented is true; for many ryuha. Obviously for some of yooze guys this was not enough. You know, the kumite or the kumite-oriented karate. I am deducing you have gained some measure of proof pointing to that kind of "karate's" real fighting ineffectiveness. What was it for y'all? Was it defeat at the hands of a blue belt GJJ guy? A muay thai butt-whuppin'?

It is the polar opposite when it comes to others. Some start off like that then progress to a different phase. One with different intent: true, original intent. Most don't, can't or won't train that way. As a society we are structured to think in a status-quo manner. Oh well, you do you and I'll do me...

Bryan Cyr

21st April 2003, 14:11
What exactly were you trying to say here, can you please get to the point quickly?