Okinawa Karate-Do Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan

The seeds of the development of karate were first sown in ancient China, around 483 AD when, Daruma Tashi developed physical exercise forms which were practiced by Buddhist monks at the Shaolin Temple. The discipline of the physical exercises contributed to the development of control of the body, mind and soul.

              In 1372, of official relationships began between the emperor of China and the leaders of Okinawa, formerly called the Ryu Kyu Islands. In 1392 thirty-six families were sent to Kume Village, Okinawa, for a cultural exchange. They introduced formal martial arts training called “To-De” to the hierarchy of the Okinawans. For the next 200 years these fighting techniques developed at the Shaolin Temple in China were taught to the nobility, and passed down from the family head to the oldest son or number one student. It eventually became known to common people as a means of protection against the Japanese Samurai.

In 1429 Okinawa was united under the leadership of Sho Hashi, the first King of Okinawa. His rule produced the beginning of a flourishing era. In 1477, Sho Hashi's rule ended and the Sho Shin dynasty began. Sho Shin placed a ban on all bladed weapons. This action produced the necessity for unarmed defenses. To-De became an essential part of the lifestyle of the nobility.

In 1609 the Satsuma clan of southern mainland Japan invaded Okinawa. Bitterness toward the new Japanese control inspired the widespread use of To De-commonly referred to as "Te"-throughout the islands. Three styles, Shuri-Te, Naha-Te and Tomarie-Te, were named for the cities from which they originated. From these districts many styles developed, yet all had two common factors: the use of karate was for survival and consequences were permanent.

Okinawans trained in secret in the mountains; punching trees, kicking rocks, climbing and running. They also practiced breathing techniques and meditation. Through incredible hard work and dedication, karate practitioners became well trained fighters.

While the Japanese control lasted several hundred years, Te was a necessity to the survival of the oppressed Okinawans. In addition, the art of Kobudo, or weapons, was developing. Simple farming and fishing tools became a means of protection.

After Japanese dominance relaxed, the need for self-protection was lessened and a competitive race for superiority between cities and styles of Te took place. In the early 1900s

Gichin Funakoshi introduced Shuri-Te karate to mainland Japan. What began as a secret means of self-preservation is now practiced worldwide as a discipline and sport. In 1936 instructors agreed to refer to the art as Karate, or empty hand.

Shorin-Ryu Karate developed from the Shuri-Te lineage. It is known for its short stances and fast hand movements. There are four styles of Shorin-Ryu Karate: Kobayashi-Ryu (small forest), Matsubayashi-Ryu (pine forest), Shobayashi-Ryu (young forest) and Matsumura Seito.

Choshin Chibana (1887-1969) was the creator of Kobayashi-Ryu, the style of Shorin Ryu taught at East Coast Karate. Chibana's number one student and successor as Grand Master is Shugoro Nakazato.

There are many styles of karate in the world today, each with its own Grand Master. Shorin-Ryu Karate is the original karate system. Shorin means “Shaolin“, or pine forest; and Ryu means The Way.' Thus, Shorin-Ryu means 'The Way of the Shaolin or pine forest way. Shorin Ryu traces its lineage to Shaolin Temple in Fukien Province in China. It is from Shorin Ryu that all other styles originated.

Hanshi Shugoro Nakazato

Shugoro Nakazato was born on August 14, 1920, in Naha City, Okinawa. He began training in Karate when he was sixteen years old. He studied for six years with Seiichi Iju , until World War II. The only interruption of Nakazato's martial arts training occurred when the war broke out during which time Nakazato served in the Japanese army.

Following the war, Nakazato began his training with Choshin Chibana. In 1951 Nakazato received his instructor's certificate, which was followed two years ~ later by the opening of his Aja Dojo.

In 1955 Nakazato formed the Okinawa Karate-Do Renmei Federation which was comprised of Goju-Ryu, Uechi Ryu, Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu, and Kobayashi Shorin Ryu.

In 1960 the Okinawa Karate Federation promoted Nakazato to 8th degree black belt. Seven years later, Chosin Chibana promoted him to 9th Degree Black Belt and bestowed the title of Hanshi. When Master Chibana died in February 1969, Shugoro Nakazato inherited the leadership of Okinawan Shorin Ryu Karate-Do. In 1980, he was promoted to the rank of 10th degree Black Belt, Grand Master of Shorin Ryu Shorin Kan Karate.

Shugoro Nakazato's kobudo training began in 1936 under Seiro Tonaki. Tonaki trained Nakazato in sai, bo, nunchaku, tonfa, and kama. In 1955 Nakazato furthered his ho skills by training under Masami Chinen.

Shugoro Nakazato is president of Shorin Ryu Shorin Kan Karate-Do Kyokai.

Choshin Chibana studied under the very famous Anko Itosu, who had integrated karate into the school system