View Full Version : Shotokan to Isshinryu

27th October 2001, 02:11
Stupid question but what would be the obstacles of a good Shotokan black belt going over to Isshinryu or Shorinryu?

One opinion by an aquaitence of mine is, "Pretty much all he would need to do would be to learn the kata, lineage, history, and customs. He already has the skills".

27th October 2001, 04:34
When I trained in Shorinkan, a branch of Kobayashi Shorin Ryu, we had a Shotokan BB who had just been transferred to our base from the States. He was very strong and had decent technique. At first he found the transition a little difficult because he had been use to the very hard and linear way he was taught Shotokan. He did become my favorite Sempai though and since he wrestled, taught me a lot about that sport, too. He once said to me, when I asked him, that Shorin was a more complete fighting art, and more conducive for non-competition confrontations. He also made the point that if he would have had a good Shorin Dojo near him in the "world" he woulda' never taken up Shotokan. After a year of training he became truly awesome! At first he was very rigid and powered through his techs, but after training Shorin he was like a muscle-bound mongoose!

Shotokan can be thought of as Shorin Ryu light, with a lot of the body change and grappling techs omitted. You can see the Japanization and "sportification" of this art. Also, Kobudo or Kobujutsu is an integral part of training in Shorin. I don't know if Isshin trains in weapons. I'm pretty sure most Shotokan schools do not. Shorin Ryu involves speed as well as muscle and if taught correctly truly reflects the "half soft-half hard style" other styles insist they teach.

Much of the deadly techs and Hakutsuru principles were not relayed from Funakoshi to his senior students, as Matsumura refused to teach these principles to those he didn't deem "fit" to understand the intricacies of Shorin.

I think the transition to Isshin Ryu would be a lot easier as Isshin is simplified NahaTe and ShuriTe principles. Both Isshin and Shorin are good styles and some Shorin, IMHO, is not as good as Isshin Ryu for real self-protection. I would check out a couple of classes and from that, with your MAs experience, you should be able to surmise which style would be best for you. I'll tell you this, I've trained in 3 Ryuha of Shorin: Matsubayashi, Kobayashi and Matsumura Orthodox, and have learned more and more about mano-a-mano and multi-opponent combat everytime. I'm hooked, and I can't get off of it!! Later, sir, hope this helps...
Bryan Seer

27th October 2001, 14:44
I think Isshin-Ryu is made up from Goju-Ryu and Shorin-Ryu. Yes, Isshin-Ryu does have weapons training in it.

Isshin-Ryu uses the vertical punch instead of the corkscrew punch though so that might take some getting used to. I believe that Isshin-ryu has some of the same katas as Shotokan but they use different names and probably different approaches so that might be kind of confusing as well.

You are very correct in saying that Shotokan was a very simplified and sportified version, Funakoshi even says in his book that he altered the katas to make them safe for school children.

27th October 2001, 18:44

I've been studying Isshinryu for about 28 years and I did a stint of over 10 years studying with a Shotokan instructor during that period.

As for a Shotokan Dan changing to Isshinryu, it is no different than changing to a different Shotokan dojo.

The primary issue is does the instructor have a challenging course of training to follow. There is an incredible difference beween dojo even within the same style.

For example my Shotokan instructor's father trained with Funakoshi Ginchin, and one of Usheiba Sensei's early students, and their art incorporated Shotokan, old style Aikido (very small circle) and Indonesian Tjimande, all within the Shotokan framework.

Likewise there are many different approaches to Isshinryu, which mean far more than Isshinryu's higher stance or verticle punch.

If a person wants to learn, they can approach any instructor as a challenge and will do so. If they want their hand held in comfort for their good old style of training, they will be less successful.

The most important guide, train with the best person (martial as well as human values) avaialble and the style be damned.

28th October 2001, 09:35
90% of the karate out there is not worth a damn. I agree with you Victor. If you find a decent instructor (how you'll know this I don't know) train under him. Styles do vary in their approach though, and some are just plain speculation! I guess some of us are luckier than others to have trained in an art we know works when the feces hits the fan...

Bryan Seer