The Origins of Martial Arts Styles
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The Origins of Martial Arts Styles
This is the origin of Shorin Ryu Shidokan Karate. What's the origin of YOUR style?
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Okinawa

Okinawa | The Origins of Martial Arts Styles | Scoop.it

The location of Japan, Okinawa and Shuri.  The birth place of Beikoku Shido-kan as reference for the related posts under this topic.

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Recent Okinawa Masters

Between the years of 1831 and 1908 many of Itosu's most promintent students were born in various regions of Okinawa. These students are among the most well recognized names throughout the world to karate practitioners. Among them are Gichin Funakoshi (vintage footage of Funakoshi can be viewed elsewhere within this topic), Shinpan Gusukuma, and Choshin Chibana (Choshin Chibana performing kata http://youtu.be/mkSr5-iM-BI ). All became great masters of the art of karate. Funakoshi became the first to demonstrate karate on the mainland of Japan and in front of the Emperor no less. The Emporer was so impressed that he wished to have the art taught on the mainland as soon as possible and Funakoshi became the most respected master of what is now known as Shoto-kan Karate. Gusakuma was considered to be one of, if not the, pre-eminent kata master in Okinawa and was known for his ability to "maintain intense focus of his thoughts for long periods of time". ( http://ihadojo.com/Origins/gusukuma.htm ). Chibana became the first Okinawan master to recieve the title of Hanshi (grand master) from the Dai Nippon Butokukai of Japan. Chibana also changed the name of the style of karate from Shuri-ti(te) to Shorin-ryu and founded the Okinawa Shorin-ryu Karate-do Association. Chibana had many students and, of them, Myahira was the most senior (Above is video footage of Myahira performing kata). After Chibana's death in 1969, Myahira became president of the Okinawa Shorin-ryu Karate-do Association and also renamed his particular style to Shorin-ryu Shido-kan after the name of his dojo, a common practice of the times. By now karate had begun to spread all over the world, taken to various countries either by those who were teachers in Okinawa and had left for new places, or by US military personell who learned while stationed in Okinawa after WWII. It was, however, Seikichi Iha, Myahira's senior student, who trully brought the Shido-kan style out of Okinawa.

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Gichin Funakoshi - 1924 Vintage Footage

Gichin Funakoshi - 1924 Vintage Footage...
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McDerder's comment, May 3, 2012 3:49 AM
Good stuff, Jeremy.
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Iha Sensei: Sharing Beikoku Shido-kan with the World.

     In 1963, Iha Sensei was sent to the Phillipines where he taught Shido-kan for 11 months before returning to Okinawa. It was not long after his return to Okinawa that
Myahira once more chose him to go out, this time to Los Angeles, to continue the spread of Shido-kan Karate. Iha Sensei taught many students during his time in L.A. from 1967 to 1975 and during this time the style was also being brought to many other nations such as Russia and Germany. In 1975, Iha Sensei moved to Lansing. MI where he resides and teaches to this day. In 2001, Iha Sensei was promoted to 10th Dan, Hanshi, making him the highest ranking karate practitioner in the US. After Myahira's passing in 2010 Iha Sensei has made many trips back to Okinawa due to requests for his expertise in the style. Each year he also holds a National Training Seminar (NTS) in Lansing, MI and in the Summer NTS of 2011 the 35th anniversary of Shido-kan Karate in the US (and therefor Iha Sensei's 35th anniversary in the US) was celebrated. 5 or more grand masters were present (most from Okinawa or Japan) including Iha Sensei. Beikoku Shido-kan practitioners from around the world made the trip to train with Iha Sensei and this author learned how far Shido-kan has spread when he trained with students from Australia, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Canada, the Phillipines, and more. 

     This collection of articles has been the human geography of Beikoku Shido-kan. The people that led to its creation. The masters who devoted their lives to the study and teaching of the art. This is the history of a Kingdom lost to an Empire and of a philosophy that began in China over a thousand years ago yet still lives on as a distinctly seperate culture existant in an art of combat that teaches peace and can now be found in nearly every corner of the world. This is Beikoku Shido-kan Karate.

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The Origin and Rise of Shido-kan Karate

The Origin and Rise of Shido-kan Karate | The Origins of Martial Arts Styles | Scoop.it

     The Beikoku Shido-kan Association teaches the art of Shorin Ryu Shido-kan Karate-do.  The history of this style is full of tradition and the stories that have been written down, or even passed down verbally from master to student and father to son, about this defensive fighting art are many and interesting.  The origins of Karate can be traced back to China over a thousand years ago but some of these histories are too much debated to write down as fact here and so this article will focus only on the origin of Beikoku Shido-kan from the formation of Karate in the 1400's, to its dissemination throughout the world over the last couple of decades.

     In the early years of the 1400's, the Ryu Kyu islands, a series of Islands spaning over 300 miles starting from the southern coast of Japan to about 400 miles North of Taiwan, were seperated into 3 regions each ruled over by a King, Lord, or other form of noble.  By 1429 this changed when King Sho Hashi united the 3 regions into a single kingdom called the Ryukyu Kingdom.  His palace was in the town of Shuri on the Ryukyu Island of Okinawa and it was from the region of Shuri that Karate was born.

     Throughout the 15th and 16th centuries the Ryukyu Kingdom was a major stop along many of the asian trade routes and the Kingdom flourished during this time.  This is not to say that all was perfect, however.  It was also during this time that the Okinawa martial art known as "ti" (this is Okinawa dialect, Japanese dialect is "te") was developed and perfected.  The constant trade with China and other Southeast asian countries allowed for other fighting styles, like kung-fu, to be mixed with ti and it is this combination of fighting philosiphies that has become Karate.  The art of defensive fighting was learned and learned well by the Ryukyuans to protect themselves from Japanese pirates of the time(Okinawa Karate and Kobudo World Tournament Brochure 1995).  Three main fighting styles were created during this time.  Shuri "ti" was developed in the Capitol City of Shuri with Shuri Castle recognized as its origin.  Naha "ti" was developed in the town of Naha, a merchant and business  district.  Tomari "ti" was born in the village of Tomari which is a farming and fishing village situated between the former two regions.  These styles were and still are fairly similar as the regions from which they hail from are very close together.  In fact, the entire island of Okinawa is only about 10 miles wide and 70 miles long.  The Shuri, Naha and Tomari regions of the past are, in present day, all part of the same Okinawa capitol city of Naha.

     In 1609 Okinawa was invaded by the Satsuma Clan of Kyushu, Japan.  The ban on ownership and wearing of weapons, imposed by the Kings of Okinawa, was reinforced with a ban on the practice of karate and kobudo (kobudo is the fighting art in which one uses common tools as weapons ie: staff [bo], scikle [kama] etc.).  At this point in history Okinawa remained as a seperate "Kingdom" with its own ruling class but it was truly under the control of Japan.  Karate became something that was taught in secret, mostly to the ruling class of Okinawa.

     Over the next 250 plus years, this was the status quo for Okinawa and for the art of Karate and yet, somehow,  Shuri "ti", Naha "ti" and Tomari "ti" survived by being passed down in secret within small villages and sometimes just within families from father to son.  Starting in 1809 we begin to get a clearer picture of Karate as it begins its assent from secrecy to mainstream. 

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A short biography of Matsumura

A short biography of Matsumura | The Origins of Martial Arts Styles | Scoop.it

Matsumura "The Warrior".

 

     In 1809, in the City of Shuri, in Yamagawa Village, Sokon Matsumura was born. Matsumura was a great practitioner of the art of Karate and he was a great teacher as well and trained many martial artists. He also was the personal bodygaurd of the last 3 Ryukyuan Kings and was often refered to as "Matsumura the Warrior". His teachings are where many of the movements of todays Karate styles can be traced back to. His practice and teaching of Karate was not just the physical movements and actions but also the metaphysical understandings of the way of Karate. Much of Matsumura's
teachings were Confucionistic in nature and cautioned against the use of Karate
to the very end of any other resolution of conflict because "to harm someone,
even in self-defense, you harm yourself."  The above link will take you to a brief biography of Matsumura as well as an excerpt from a letter sent from Matsumura to one of his senior students.

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Anko Itosu

In 1831 was born Anko Itosu, one of Matsumura's most prominent students. Itosu was a clerk for the royal family of Ryu Kyu and studied many of the Chinese classics as well as the art of caligraphy. Itosu is credited with developing the five Pinan kata (again, this is Okinawan dialect, Japanese styles call them the Heian kata. Shown above is a demonstration by Beikoku Shido-kan practitioners performing the application of 3 of the pinan kata.  Itosu was also able to "main stream" karate in Okinawa and bring it out of the shadows. In 1879 Japan officially annexed Okinawa and disolved the Ryu Kyu Kingdom making Okinawa a prefecture of the Empire. With this annexation came a relaxation of the prohibitions against the practice of karate. In 1901 Itosu taught karate to elementary school students as part of their daily curriculum. By 1905 he had expanded his instruction to a middle school and a college. Finally, in 1908, Itosu petitioned to have karate taught in all schools as part of their regular curriculum. His petition was drafted as the famous "10 Articles" document which showed the benefits of karate training as seen through his teachings in the school system to that point. The above link will take you to an english translation of this historical document.

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