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Karate-KOBUDO (Japanese Weapons)

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Shorin-Ryu (style name) Shorin is the Japanese equivalent of the Chinese Sil Lum Loa ("Shaolin Temple Method"). Karate originated and developed in Okinawa, and all present-day styles evolved from there, Shorin-Ryu (Shuri-Te) and Goju-ryu (Naha-Te) being the two original styles to be formally systematized. Both have remained pure in form to this day, although Shorin-Ryu is considered to have had the most influence on the development of contemporary karate styles.

"Karatedo" means "the way (do) of the empty (kara) hand (te)." The way ecompasses the Bushido code and principles. The Shuri gate represents respect for authority and for one's own potential to become an authority in the sense of attaining wisdom through dedication to the martial arts tradition. The model for the gate is the entrance to Shuri Castle in Okinawa. That gate is called Shuri no Mon, "the gate of courtesy."

The Three Tears
We know this symbol as the three tears. The Three tears are a symbol of "death before dishonor. "The three tears represent three men- a 16th Century Okinawan and two Japanese samurai. The Okinawan was being restrained by the samurai, who were ordered by the Okinawan King to throw him into a vat of boiling oil while he watched. To show his indifference to death and his disdain for the king, the Okinawan grabbed the two samurai and dove headfirst with them into the vat. The story is so well-known in Okinawa, and the action is so highly regarded, that the three tears symbol is incorporated into the Okinawan flag.

The Grand Master's Name

The kanji on each side of the patch spell "Eizo Shimabukoro" in Japanese

The Bushido Flower
The Outside of the insignia has the form of flower Petals, symbolizing the Bushido flower, an Asian flower favored by Samuria warriors who regarded it as symbolizing the the code of Bushido. The word Bushido has three parts. Bu means "martial," shi means "martial," and do means the "way." Bushido means the way of "the martial arts warrior." It also means the "way of death."
The warriors attitude is "I have no hesitation to go into battle to the death. Therefore I have no fear of my opponent." This is what is meant by "death before dishonor." Like the flower, the patch symboliizes honor, loyalty, respect for self and others, courtesy, courage, and compassion.


The Shorin-Ryu style was broken into several branches: the Shobayashi-ryu ("small forest style"), the Kobayashi-Ryu ("young forest style") and the Matsubayashi-ryu ("pine forest style"). All three refer to the small pine forest where the Shaolin Temple was last located, and all three are still interpreted to mean Shorin-Ryu or "Shaolin way." Shobayashi, the original style of Shorin-Ryu, was taught by one of Itosu's famous students, Chotoku Kiyabu, better known as Chotoku Kyan (1870-1945). Kyan was extremely well-known and revered in Okinawa, and was considered Itosu's greatest student, even though he was second in succession, with Kentsu Yabu (c. 1870- ) having more seniority. Yabu took charge after Itosu's death, but retired shortly afterward, leaving Chotoku Kyan in charge. Kyan trained quite a few notable students, among them Tatsuo Shimabukuro (the elder brother of Eizo), who also studied under Chojun Miyagi. Kyan also trained Shoshin Nagamine (1907- ), who later developed the Matsubayashi form of Shorin-Ryu. It has been stated that Nagamine developed this style himself. He named the style after Bushi Matsumura (1797-1889). Nagamine's son Takayoshi has taken over this branch of Shorin-Ryu Karate.

Kyan's most noted student is Eizo Shimabukuro. Upon his death, Kyan left Shimabukuro in charge of the still-unchanged system of Shobayashi Shorin-Ryu. Another of Itosu's students, Chosin Chibana (1887-1969), taught Kobayashi-Ryu. This system, according to Master Shimabukuro, is the same as Shobayashi-ryu. He states that Master Chibana simply misspelled the term by using incorrect kanji (characters), which changed the pronunciation from "Shobayashi" to "Kobayashi." These two systems of Shorin-Ryu are the same today, with the same form and pattern in their kata.

In fact, in the early 1960s, Master Shimabukuro went to Chibana, who was then in his late seventies, to ask Chibana to correct his (Shimabukuro's) kata. Shimabukuro was concerned about the discrepancies gradually emerging in the various Shorin-Ryu styles which had begun to proliferate by this time in Okinawa. Shimabukuro was a tenth dan at the time he appealed to Chibana. Out of respect for Chibana, who was Itosu's oldest living student, Shimabukuro removed his red belt and instead wore a white belt while being corrected. This action demonstrated Master Shimabukuro's intense desire to retain the purity of Shorin-Ryu.

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