History

Isshin-Ryu is an art form that blossomed in Okinawa and has its roots in China.  It can be traced to the Shaolin and Daruma.  Translated Isshin-ryu means “One Heart Way,” or “One Heart, One Mind.”  The name is symbolic of the effort to integrate heart and mind, heaven and earth.

Tatsuo Shimabuku, founder of Isshin-ryu karate, was born in Okinawa on September 19, 1908. Tatsuo, meaning Dragon man, was a nickname given to him for his prowess in the martial arts. It is believed that he began martial arts training around the age of 12 or 13. Tatsuo first studied under Master Kyan and soon became one of his top students. Tatsuo also studied Gojo-ryu under its founder Chojun Miyagi. He also studied under the notorious fighting master Choki Motobu, who taught the Kobayashiryu version of Shorin-ryu.

After more than 30 years of study and experimentation, he formulated his own system of karate. He took the best principles and techniques from the styles he studied, two empty hand katas from Gojo-ryu ( Sanchin & Seiuchin), five from Shorin-ryu (Seisan, NaiHanchi, Wansu, Chinto and Kusanku), one composed by Shimabuku himself (Sunsu), and five weapons katas (3 bo-staff- ergo: Tokomine no kun no dai, Urashi-bo & Bo shishi no kun) & (2 sai-ergo: Kusanku sai & Chatan Yaya no sai) plus a number of novations based on his own observations, such as the vertical fist, and the snap punch!!

He also practiced Kyan no sai, and Tuifa katas. The official birthday for Isshinryu is January 15, 1954. The name Isshinryu, meaning “One Heart Style” came from Eiko Kaneshi, one of Shimabuku’s best Okinawan students. Shimabuku believed the principles of Isshinryu were not just for fighting, but for all of life.

Other Interesting Isshin-ryu links:

The Isshinryu patch

More History

Martial Arts Directory

Dojo Genealogy

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