A brief history of Shito-Ryu Karate
Shito-Ryu karate, was founded by Kenwa Mabuni Sensei (1889-1952).
When he was 13 year old, Kenwa Mabuni Sensei began his training in Shorin-Ryu Karate with Anko Itosu Sensei, a noted Karate master in the Shuri area of Okinawa (Shuri-Te). Itosu Sensei was not only highly skilled in Budo but also a great innovator in teaching the martial arts. Around 1905, Itosu Sensei introduced Karate into the Okinawan public school system.
Amongst other accomplishments, Itosu Sensei created the Pinan (Heian) Kata, which are still practiced today in many schools. Itosu Sensei had an important effect on Karate in the 20th Century. Evidence of this can be found in the number of Karate styles that trace their lineage back to him.
In about 1909, through an introduction by his friend Chojun Miyagi Sensei (Founder of Goju-Ryu) Mabuni Sensei started to train with Kanryo Higaonna, in Shorei-Ryu. Higaonna Sensei was a great expert from the Naha area of Okinawa (Naha-Te).
In 1915, both Itosu Sensei and Higaonna Sensei passed away within a short time of each other. Mabuni Sensei continued his training. Ultimately, he and Miyagi Sensei joined with other students of Karate to start a research group aimed at practicing and spreading Karate.
In 1926, Mabuni Sensei moved his entire family to Osaka. There he established a small Dojo and began teaching his unique art, which was an eclectic mix of Shorin-Ryu (Itosu) and Shorei-Ryu (Higaonna), with some Kata from the White Crane system that were taught to him by the legendary Go Kenki, a Chinese tea merchant, who would visit Okinawa on business.
Mabuni Sensei ultimately decided to name his art ‘SHI TO’ which was formed by taking the first two characters (kanji) from the names of his two primary teachers, Itosu and Higaonna. Thus, the name Shito-Ryu has no literal meaning but rather honors the two main teachers in Mabuni Sensei’s life.
Mabuni Sensei worked tirelessly to teach Karate throughout Japan, and the impact that he had on the development of Japanese Karate was tremendous. Many groups trace an element of their lineage back to him. Kenwa Mabuni Sensesi died on 23rd May 1952.
Chojiro Tani Sensei
Chojiro Tani Sensei (1921-1998) was the founder of Tani-ha Shito-Ryu Shukokai Karate.
Tani Sensei began his study of Karate at junior high school, in the Goju-Ryu Karate. He then entered Doshisha University in Kyoto Japan and continued to study Goju-Ryu under the great master and founder of Goju-Ryu, Chojun Miyagi Sensei.
After some years, Miyagi Sensei returned to Okinawa and asked his good friend Kenwa Mabuni Sensei to take over the university class where he continued to teach Goju-Ryu (Shorei-Ryu) as taught to him by Higaonna Sensei.
After Tani Sensei graduated from university, he continued to train under Mabuni Sensei in the Shorin-Ryu and ultimately Shito-Ryu. After the war, Tani Sensei Started to teach Karate in the center of Kobe. Tani Sensei was presented with the scroll of succession from Mabuni Sensei and was given permission to start up his own sect, Tani-Ha Shito-Ryu Karatedo in 1948.
Tani Sensei sought to perfect his style by studying the mechanics of the human body and developed techniques which can be delivered with maximum efficiency. Over a long period of time Tani Sensei evolved and developed Shukokai. He always laid stress on the importance of etiquette, discipline and mental control and was at pains constantly to promote the improvement of techniques.
Chojiro Tani Sensei passed away on Sunday 11th January 1998.
Soke, Technical Director, Grand Master Masataka OHSHITA, 9th Dan
Born in 1956 in Hyogo prefecture, Japan, Masataka Ohshita began the study of Judo at the age of 9. At age 16 he began the study of karate to become at the age of 35 the All Japan Karate Kata champion in Tokyo “Nippon Budokan 1991”
He has since then conducted numerous karate seminars throughout the world educating thousands of students in Karatedo.
International Shito-Ryu Karatedo Union (ISKU):
Soke, Hanshi: 9. Dan
- Karatedo Shito-Ryu Kensei-kan: Hanshi 9. Dan
- Shito-Ryu Karatedo Seishin-kan: 9. Dan
- Austria Karate Federation: 8. Dan
- Japan Karate Federation: Kyoshi 7. Dan
- Iaido – Muso Jikiden Eishin-ryu‘Suirei-kan’: 7. Dan
- All Japan Kendo Federation: 3. Dan
- Nippon Kenpo: 3. Dan
- Judo: 2. Dan
- MA.Ed. = Master of Arts in Education University Vienna: Doctorate Course in Philosophy