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Thread: Shito-ryu: a shuri-te style?

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    Default Shito-ryu: a shuri-te style?

    Shito-ryu, the Karate style created by Kenwa Mabuni is considered a combination style, which attempts to unite the major roots of karate. Nevertheless some people still consider it to be essentially shuri-te.

    We know that KENWA MABUNI was a student of Anko Itosu. However, in 1909, encouraged by master Itosu to further expand his knowledge of the martial arts, and on the advice of his best friend Chojun Miyagi, he began taking lessons from master Kanryo Higashionna (Higaonna) of Naha, until the great master's death in 1915. During this period, Kenwa Mabuni was also receiving instruction from master Seisho Aragaki of Naha, who taught a similar style to master Higaonna. Master Aragaki was also an accomplished Kobujutsu teacher and taught Kenwa Mabuni BO and SAI techniques. More-over, Mabini Kenwa was also influenced by a Fukien, 'White-Crane-Fist' master named WU XIAN GUI (pronounced GO KENKI in Japanese).

    In 1929, Mabuni moved to Osaka (mainland Japan), and became a full-time karate teacher. He originally called his style Hanko-ryu (half-hard style) but later renamed his style of karate, Shito-Ryu, the “Shito” style, taking the first characters of each of his teacher's names: SHI (another Japanese readings for the first character of Master Itosu’s name) and TO (another Japanese readings for the first character of Master Higashionna's name). The name of Mabuni’s dojo in Japan, was Yoshinkan, “House for Cultivating the Spirit”. Among his students were his two sons, Kenei Mabuni and Kenzo Mabuni, Chojiro Tani (founder of Tani-ha SHUKOKAI), Ryusho Sakagami (continued Itosu-ha), Abe Hachiro (Abe ha Shito-ryu), Yoshiaki Tsujikawa, Ken Sakio, Jun-ichi Inoue and Manzo Iwata.

    For some, Mabuni Kenwa is considered as a successor of Itosu, and his art can be referred to as Itosu-ha Shito Ryu. The Itosu-ha lineage has been passed to his student Ryusho Sakagami (1915-1993), who became the 3rd soke of Itosu-ha. Later Sakagami would rename his style and call it Itosu Ryu.

    In respect to the development of Shito-ryu, it is also worth mentioning Shinpan Gusukuma (also called Shiroma), who started to teach Karate in Okinawa, after WWII. Shinpan Gusukuma was, like Kenwa Mabuni and Chibana Choshin (the first person on the island to use Shorin-ryu specifically as the name of his style), a student of Itosu. Together with Mabuni, he also trained under Kanryu Higaonna in Naha-te. When Mabuni would later create Shito-ryu and move to mainland Japan, Shinpan Gusukuma remained on the island and established an organization called the Shinpan Shiroma Shito-ryu Preservation Society. Nevertheless many people consider him to be a shorin-ryu teacher.

    That some students of Mabuni (like his student Ryusho Sakagami, later to become successor of Itosu-ryu) and Shinpan Gusukuma (like his student Yoshio Nakamura, author of the book Shuri Shorin-Ryu Karate-Do) are considered as representatives of Shuri-te styles is not surprising since the original Shito-ryu is sometimes considered to be a Shuri-te school that incorporated a lot of Naha-te techniques (and other techniques from tomari-te and “White-Crane”) , rather than a true hybrid school. Of course some contemporary members of Shito-ryu might not agree with this view so I am curious to know how people perceive this.

    Currently I am not that involved in Shito-ryu any-more but I was triggered by another threat recently and karate still remains my first passion and introduction to budo, hence my curiosity.
    Last edited by Guy Buyens; 12th February 2011 at 09:01.
    Guy Buyens
    Hontai Yoshin Ryu (本體楊心流)
    BELGIAN BRANCH http://www.hontaiyoshinryu.be/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Buyens View Post
    I was triggered by another threat
    Of course not by a threat but by a thread (see the thread "Help with this Karate book")
    Guy Buyens
    Hontai Yoshin Ryu (本體楊心流)
    BELGIAN BRANCH http://www.hontaiyoshinryu.be/

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