The Techniques of Shitoryu - Its Characteristics

1.The Characteristics of “Shuri-Te” and “Naha-Te”

-The Characteristics of Shuri-Te

Shuri-Te is the style of Karate that was inherited by the descendants of Samurai families who lived in Shuri, Okinawa. It is told that Master Soken Matsumura is the founder of Shuri-Te. And he passed it on to his student, Sensei Anko Itosu. Sensei Itosu devised the Heian Kata forms. By doing so, Sensei Itosu paved his way for popularization of the modern Karatedo. “Ryuso” (Founder) Kenwa Mabuni was born in Shuri, and he learned Shuri-Te under Sensei Anko Itosu. Shuri-Te is characterized by its rapid and agile movements that are straight forward and efficient. Other characteristics of Shuri-Te can be seen in the frequent use of
Motodachi and Zenkutsudachi stances and its “counterattack” techniques such as Tsuki-Uke.

-The Characteristics of Naha-Te

Naha-Te is the style of Karate that was developed in Naha,Okinawa and it was led and taught by Master Kanryo Higaon-na. “Ryuso” (Founder) Kenwa Mabuni first learned Shuri-Te and then he learned Naha-Te under Master Kanryo Higaon-na. Here we can see Sensei Chojun Miyagi, another student of Master Higaon-na who was senior to Sensei Kenwa Mabuni. Sensei Miyagi and Sensei Mabuni were two best students of Master Higaon-na. Sensei Chojun Miyagi later founded Gojuryu Karate. Naha-Te is characterized by its focus on the powerful techniques with hard impact based on mainly circular movements in infighting.
By practicing Kata, students can not only learn and acquire techniques but can strengthen the body by Shime (tightening) at the same time. Other haracteristics of Naha-Te are frequent use of Sanchindachi, Shikodachi, Nekoashidachi stances, and Mawashi-Uke (circular deflection by two hands) and other techniques.

2.The Characteristics of Shitoryu

-Shitoryu reaches both Shuri-Te and Naha-Te but Waza is supposed to be practiced as Separate Packages

Needless to say, Founder of Shitoryu is Sensei Kenwa Mabuni. He named it as “Shitoryu” after he learned under Master Anko Itosu and Master Kanryo Higaon-na. He named it so by taking the first hieroglyphs of the Chinese characters of each of these two names.

Shito-ryu, as the name indicates, inherits two schools of Karate that originated in Okinawa, namely Itosu school (Shuri-Te) and Higaon-na school (Naha-Te). Among many styles of Karate, only Shitoryu reaches two schools.

But as far as Waza (techniques) is concerned, it is not that Shitoryu has combined and mixed these two schools. Students of Shitoryu practice each of these schools separately. In other words, students practice Itosu school on one hand and Higaon-na school on the other.

-Practical Ways of Teaching based on Kata

Practice of Karate tends to be separated between Kata and Kumite.

But in the practice of Shito-Kai, Kata means Waza and also Kumite. All of them are considered as one. This is the way Shito-Kai interprets its practice.

When we practice “Bunkai Kumite” (analyzed Kumite), we do it to make our students understand how Kata has been developed and what kinds of role it plays. We not only instruct our students to let them know how to practice Kata but we try to make them understand the meaning of Kata. Then we move ahead and apply what we learn for practicing Kumite.

In the old days, it was natural for instructors to teach and for students to learn one Kata in three years. And our instructors moved to the next stage after knowing that all students understood the meaning of Kata by themselves. It was such an amazingly good decision to make to set up such an efficient way of instruction for Shito-Kai. It is more so when we know that they did it in the days when many leading instructors of martial arts wanted to arm themselves with some kind of secretiveness and mysticism.

-Members’ Convictions to Do Their Duties for Social Service

Another characteristic of Shito-Kai is the commitment of its members to maintain their spirits of amateurism. Most instructors who manage their Dojos have their own occupations to sustain their living and they do not depend upon the income at these Dojos. And they do not charge any entrance fee for tournaments they hold. They do not do any activity for advertisement and publicity.

In other words, most of the members of Shito-Kai are doing their best to help young students grow their sound mind and body through Karate. They are totally committed to do their duties for social service. They are holders of their own convictions.

3.The Founder’s Endless Mind of Pursuit

-Sensei Mabuni was Interested in Various Many Martial Arts

Sensei Kenwa Mabuni learned not only Shuri-Te and Naha-Te but also Tomari-Te and other traditional martial arts of the Ryukyu Kingdom. Sensei Mabuni
maintained close relations with many martial artists such as Sensei Kosaku Matsumora, Sensei Go Kenki (or Wu Xian Gui, Master of Chinese martial art), Sensei Kanmon Uechi (Uechi style) and others. All that Sensei Mabuni learned from them are remaining in Kata of Shitoryu.

Sensei Mabuni showed great interest not only in Karate but in many other martial arts. He learned Karate and “Bojutsu” (the art of fighting with a cudgel) under Sensei Yasukichi Arakaki , “Saijutu” (the art of fighting with metal truncheon) under Sensei Shinpachi Tawada, “Bojutsu of Soeishi style” under Sensei Soeishi, “ Nihon Den Jujutsu Kenpo Shinden Fudoryu” (Tameyoshi Hachiro Minamoto is said to be its founder ) under Sensei Noriyuki Yata, and the traditional Japanese martial art of Tenshin style under Sensei Tenshin Takashi Ueno.

The Techniques of Shitoryu

1.The Principles of Shitoryu

-The Four Elements of Martial Arts

There are four essential elements of martial arts including Karate.

They are “the vision (eyes), footwork (legs), mind (spirits) and strength (muscles)”.

The vision means your eyes being observant and looking at your opponent tight.

It means that you have to look at the movements of your opponent first. When you look at your opponent at somewhere outdoors, you have to instantly understand the situation, such as the terrain, land features and weather conditions. It is important to place yourself in an advantageous position. What do you have to look at when you face your opponent? First thing you have to do is to catch the movement of the mind of your opponent by looking at the eyes of
your opponent. But when you concentrate only on the eyes of your opponent, you may miss other movements of your opponent.

Start looking at the eyes of your opponent. But it is important for you to try to see the whole situation so that you can see all the movements of your opponent. When you do the Kihon (basics and fundamentals) and Kata, look straight ahead at your eyes level. Except a few special cases, do not look down. Never look down because you will lose your sight and the balance of your body.

“Footwork” means how you move your legs. You have to move them fast and smoothly for both offense and defense. At the same time, you have to take good balance of your body. The center of your body should be stabilized. Excessive high jumps and dragging of your legs make you unable to move right. You need to maintain the movements of your legs fast by not staying on the ground too long and by not detaching yourself from it too long.

“Mind” means the power of your mind. It is your spirits that can make you deal with any situation without any surprise but with calm.

“Strength” means the power you have. It contains the power of your muscles, endurance, and instantaneous actions. All of them are very important elements for you and you have to build them in you through your daily practice. Beginners tend to waste power by using it in vain. At some occasions, such tends to go against Waza. Beginners should learn how to use the power in the first place.

-The Goal of Training of Shitoryu Karatedo

(1) Karatedo as physical education
Karatedo is an ideal way of keeping good health (anyone, regardless of age and gender, canlearn it)
It is an ideal way of keeping good health from the medical point of view.

(2) Karatedo as education of martial art Karatedo is the origin of all martial arts.

(3) Karatedo as education of spirit and mind
Karatedo is an ideal way of educating the spirit and the mind.

-Three Main Elements of Shitoryu Karatedo

(1) “Sappou” (finisher)
Kime Waza
Nage Waza (techniques for throwing) Gyaku Waza (also called as Kansetsu Waza)
Hobakujutsu (technique for binding)

(2) “Kappou” (practical use of techniques)
“Sakkapo”(techniques of battle for life and death) and techniques for first aid
“Kenkoho” (techniques for maintaining good health)
Natural Healing Power

(3) Techniques for Mentality Techniques for Breathing Training of “Ki” (Mentality)
Techniques for Meditation Mental Concentration (Hypnosis)

-Techniques of Karatedo

(1) The techniques of Karatedo are composed of empty-handed techniques of martial art.

(2) The parts of the body used here are mainly the upper limbs (arms) and lower limbs (legs). However, the entire body is used as a weapon.

(3) The techniques include Tsuki Waza (techniques for thrusting), Uchi Waza, Ate Waza (techniques for striking), Keri Waza (techniques for kicking), Nage Waza (techniques for throwing), Kansetsu Waza (techniques for locking) and Hobaku (techniques for binding).

(4) The techniques are classified and separated as Uke Waza (techniques for defense ) and Seme Waza (techniques for offense). The techniques for defense are concurrently these for offense and vice versa. These techniques are not to be separated. The classified separation is for the training of beginners.

During practice, these techniques for defense and offense are usually taught and instructed separately. But after beginners get to learn more about the basics and fundamentals, they begin to learn them as one series of Waza.

So we have five rules for defense and five rules for offense. (Refer to the chart on the coming page)

five rules

2.Basic Techniques

-Five Rules for Defense (Five Principles for Defense)

(1) Rakka (falling of petals)
The land receives the falling petals wherever they fall, without dodging or avoiding them from falling down. This technique is the same. It is for receiving the offense from your opponent. This technique was named as “Rakka” (falling of petals) because the way of receiving is the same as the land.

This is the way of receiving offensive movements of your opponent as they come by staying at the place where you are.

(Example) You receive Chudan Tsuki at your set position with Yoko Uke or Yoko Uchi.

(2) Ryusui (running water)
This is the way receiving the strikes of your opponent with no resistance. It is the way of receiving the power of your opponent and deflecting the way it is focused and directed.

(Example) You receive Chudan Tsuki with Yoko Uke or Yoko Uchi by twisting your upper part of body, either right or left. In this way, you can avoid the offence of your opponent. This way for defense, such as Sukui Uke, is part of the techniques of “Ryusui” (running water).

(3) Kusshin (bending and stretching)
This is the way of deflecting the offense from your opponent by using your power of bending and stretching.

(Example) You receive Chudan Tsuki by pulling back your body with the lower stance of Nekoashidachi. Then you do Zenkutsudachi Gedan Barai Uke of the Kata of Heian Nidan. And by pulling back your forefoot, you do both Motodachi and Jodan Uchi Otoshi at the same time by using the power of bending and stretching.

(4) Ten-i (transposition)
This is the way of defending yourself from offense by changing the position that is focused and targeted. This is the technique of transposition.

(Example) You can avoid Jodan Tsuki by simply bending your face to the left or to the right. You can also do it by stooping down or lowering your waist.

Making the stance of receiving by changing the targeted position is called “Teni” (transposition).

(5) Hangeki (counterattack)
This is the way of waging a counterattack as offense against the attack of your opponent. This is not the way of pulling your body back.

(Example) Tsuki, Uke (Jodan and Chudan)
Jodan Tsuki, Uke, Chudan Tsuki, Uke, Chudan Wa Uke, Bassaidai, Heian Yondan, and Sanchin

-Tenshinhappou (way of receiving by moving to eight directions)

This is the way of receiving the attack of your opponent by moving your body to the front or the rear, to the right or the left, or 4 diagonal directions. When you
learn the techniques of “ Tenpogosoku” that follow this, you can complete efficient ways of dealing with receiving any attack.

-Tenpogosoku (5 ways of shifting the position of your body)

(1) Deashi
It is to step forward or to the side.

(2) Hikiashi
It is to step back

(3) Yoriashi
It is to move your body to the right or to the left, forward or backward by not changing the position of your foot (left and right).

(4) Mawariashi
It is to change the position of your body either greatly or slightly.

(5) Tobiashi
It is to change the position of your body by jumping.

-Hiji Ate Roppo (6 ways of using your elbow)

Take your position at the stance of Soto Hachijidachi, and pull back your right foot to the direction of 6 o’clock and take your stance of Zenkutsudachi with your
left foot in front.

(1) Mawashi Hiji Ate
Take the stance of Zenkutsudachi with your left foot in front and step forward with your right foot to the direction of 12 o’clock. Then take the stance of Shikodachi and strike with your right elbow. The back of your hand faces up.

(2) Ushiro Hiji Ate
Pull your right foot back in the direction of 6 o’clock and take the stance of Zenkutsudachi with your left foot by deflecting the strike of your opponent with your left elbow. And then strike back with your right elbow in the rear. The back of your hand faces down.

(3) Chudan Tate Hiji Ate
Step with your right foot forwardin in the direction of 12 o’clock and take the stance of Zenkutsudachi. And then strike with your right elbow at Chudan (in the middle). The back of your hand faces outward to the side.

(4) Yoko Uchi
Move your right foot in the direction of 9 o’clock and take the stance of Hachijidachi and strike Jodan Yoko Uchi with your right hand. The back of your hand faces outward.

(5) Otoshi Hiji Ate
Face in the direction of 9 o’clock with your waist down (Shikodachi), and strike downward with your right elbow. The back of your hand faces outward.

(6) Yoko Hiji Ate
Move your right foot in the direction of 3 o’clock and face straight forward to take the stance of Soto Hachijidachi. Do Yoriashi in the direction of 3 o’clock and strike with your right elbow in the direction of 3 o’clock. The back of the hand faces up.

Face straight forward and take the stance of Soto Hachijidachi.

*When you take the stance of Zenkutsudachi with the right foot forward, strike with your left elbow. Practice all these six ways of using your elbow.

-Shichidan Geri

Take the stance of Soto Hachijidachi and do the following Keri (kickings) with your right foot.

(1) Do Hiza Geri (kicking by your knee) forward (Ate).
(2) Kick downward with the heel of your foot and trample the upper surface of the foot of your opponent.
(3) Bend your leg backward and kick up the groin of your opponent in the rear with your back heel.
(4) Kick the groin of your opponent in front of you with the upper surface of your foot.
(5) Do Chudan Geri with the ball of your right foot.
(6) Do Sokuto Geri with your right foot diagonally to the right in the lower part.
(7) Do Sokuto Geri with your right foot diagonally to the left in the lower part.

*These 7 ways of kicking movement should be done without putting your foot down on the floor and it should be done one after another in serial form.

After practicing with your right foot, start your practice with your left foot.


-The meaning of Kata (reasons of Kata training)

(1) The Study of Kumite Techniques
The following three elements of Kata are together with Kumite techniques.
1. variation of techniques
2. inhaling and exhaling of breath 3. shifting of the center of gravity

(2) The Mental Training of Self-Discipline

-About Kata Training

(1) The training starts with Kata of Itosu style. [Basic Kata] Naifanchin, Shodan, Nidan, Sandan

[Hirate Kata] Four basic Kata
(Excerpts from the basic Kata of Karatedo from 1st Dan to 12th Dan authorized by the Karatedo Promotion Association of Okinawa Prefecture in March 1937)
Heian Nidan, Sandan, Shodan, Yondan, Godan, Jitte, Jion, Jiin, Bassaidai, etc.

(2) After learning Kata of Itosu style, the training starts with Kata of Higaon-na style.

[Basic Kata] Sanchin, Tensho
[Hirate Kata] Sehsan, Sehpai, Sehenchin, etc.

After this, train both Kata of Itosu style and Higaon-na style by turns and try to understand and master the characteristics of both styles.

In the meantime, try to learn Karate of Arakaki style, Matsumura style, Tomari-Te, “Kakuho”(White Crane) Kenpo (Chinese martial art), and many old and traditional martial arts of Okinawa that use “Sai” (metal truncheon), “Bou” (cudgel), “Kon” (club) and others. And also try to learn many other martial arts as well.

-About Shuri-Te and Naha-Te

[Styles of Shuri-Te]
Shorin style, Shorin style, Shorin style

[Styles of Naha-Te]Goju style, Uechi style

[Characteristics of Tomari-Te]
It is inscribed on the stone tablet that Tomari-Te was originated by Chang Nan who was born in Shandong Province, China.
Tomari is located between Shuri and Naha. Kata of Tomari-Te is similar to that of Shuri-Te and it includes some techniques that resemble those of Naha-Te.

Kuhsankuh is a representing Kata of Shuri-Te. But in Kata of Chatanyara Kuhsankuh, Mawashi Uke, the technique unique to Naha- Te, are being practiced.

The Genealogical Tree of Kata of Shitoryu

Itosu style (Shuri-Te)
  1. Naifanchin Shodan
  2. Naifanchin Nidan
  3. Naifanchin Sandan
  4. Heian Shodan
  5. Heian Nidan
  6. Heisan Sandan
  7. Heian Yondan
  8. Heian Godan
  9. Bassaidai
  10. Bassaisho
  11. Kosokundai
  12. Kosokunsho
  13. Shiho Kosokun
  14. Jitte
  15. Jion
  16. Jiin
  17. Wanshu
  18. Shodan
  19. Nidan
  20. Sandan
  21. Chinto
  22. Chinte
  23. Gojushiho
Higaon-na style (Naha-Te)
  1. Sanchin
  2. Tensho
  3. Seisan
  4. Seipai
  5. Kururunfa
  6. Shisohchin
  7. Sanseiru
  8. Seienchin
  9. Super Rinpei
  10. Saifa
Matsumura style
  1. Passai
  2. Seisan
  3. Rohai
Arakaki style
  1. Niseishi
  2. Unshu
  3. Sochin
Kakuhoh (Go Kenki, or Wu Xian Gui)
  1. Hafufa
  2. Nipaipo
  3. Papuren
Matsumora style
  1. Wankan
  2. Ahnankou
  1. Kusanku
  1. Passai
  1. Passai
  1. Shinpa
Kenwa Mabuni
  1. Myojo
  2. Aoyagi
  3. Juroku
  4. Matsukaze

4.Bunkai (Analyzed) Kumite

It is the characteristics of Shito-Kai that all learners scrutinize the contents of all skills with Kata as the basics. All learners practically and theoretically study all skills and practice as Bunkai (Analyzed) Kumite.

There are not so many techniques introduced and taught in one Kata. But, when we see all the combinations of application and variation of skills, the total number of skills is almost limitless

When you do Bunkai (Analyzed) Kumite, you should not do it by simply using skills mechanically or by complying with the movements of your opponent. You should catch the target of your attack by seeing the movements and the intervals of your opponent. At the same time, you should attack your opponent all at once with the best power and quick movements that you have. You should always have the mentality of striking and smashing your opponent with no failure.

In this case, when you do not attack your target all at once, your opponent cannot practice any Uke Waza or Tenshin (changing of the position).

The defender should be ready for watching the opponent tight, maintaining the position for change, Uke Waza, counterattack and keen tension. One big characteristics of the defender is to keep the stance of defense and offense at the same time.

The moment you dodge and evade the strike of your opponent is the time that your opponent is most vulnerable and unguarded. It is also the time when your opponent should rebuild his stance. So it is most important for you to strike back quick and fast in no time at this point.

5.Ouyo (Applied) Kumite

Today, Kumite is becoming more popular. So the importance of Kata seems to be slighted and ignored. But when you don’t practice and master truly important Kata and when you are unable to apply your skills as freely as you wish, you cannot expect any further upgrading of Kumite.

When you truthfully understand and grasp the heart of Kata and when you get to know more about the depth of skills through your body, you naturally become able to understand that Kata and Kumite are one thing like the two wheels of one vehicle.

[Guides for Practice]
(1) You have to understand your exact targets.
(2) You have to have good Deashi (quick steps) and move your body fast.
(3) You have to maintain good stance and interval for offense.
(4) You have to attack with good stance by yourself.
(5) You have to connect your movements for defense with those for offense
(6) You have to speed up the movements of Deashi, Tsuki and Keri.
(7) You have to repeat practice with your partner.
(8) You have to go through with one Free Kumite.
(9) You have to go through with Free Kumite (application of the basics)
(10) You have to find the skills that you are good at and master them.

Try to upgrade yourself in Applied Kumite by following these guides in due order.

The Spirit of Japan

1.Rules for Learners

All learners and students of Karate, whether you learn it under your master, with your fellow comrades or alone, should always learn it with serious and earnest
mind. You should repeat practice and learn Kata with a prepared mind to fight with your opponents.

Any practice without a tense concentration of mind tends to end up as more like a sheer play or performance. So you will never be able to upgrade yourself in Karate, including the training of your mind and body, no matter how long you may try to learn it without this concentration of mind. You will find yourself and your body unable to move when you have to fight and you are destined to find yourself trapped with a big mistake. Therefore, your daily effort to repeat practicing Kata with a tense concentration of mind makes a big difference in time.

At the time of practice, you should lower your shoulder, open your chest, put in your power in your abdomen, open your eyes wide open and see straight, draw in your chin, and put in your power in the scruff of your neck. When you hit your fist, it would be best to do your practice with the mind of one deadly blow. When you do so, you can naturally train yourself both in your mind and body.

All learners and students of Karate should refrain from excessive intake of alcohol and sex. You should refrain from getting drunk and use your fist with a puzzled mind of yours. You should refrain from doing your practice without a prepared calm mind of yours. You should refrain from indulging yourself in sensual pleasure. You should refrain from all of them. You should get rid of them all.

Essentially Karate is not the tactics for offense. When you practice Kata, you will know that everything is there for receiving whatever comes to you first. You defend yourself by saving enough power of yours for offense.

In this sense, I sincerely hope that you will make the most of the spirit of Karate not only for the art of self-defense but also for the art of mutual cooperation in our world. You can cherish and preserve your power inside yourself and at the same time you can stay on good terms with other people. I sincerely hope that all students of Karate will hold this spirit in yourself for long.

Like Kendo is not for the art of cutting people in vain but for the art of refraining from being caught up with selfish greed, Karate is the way to control your greed and grow and nurture humble mind of yours.

It is not the main goal and purpose of Karate to wave and use your fists and legs to surprise people and fight with people.

I see some learners and students of Karate show the power of their fists by breaking roof tiles and boards for fun or as part of entertainment. I see them boasting what they do.

It is important to train and strengthen the fists. But it is no good for Karatedo to use these fists to surprise or threaten people by any means.

The essential goal of martial arts is the training of mind and body. It is for making and building fine and good characters. One noted person said this. “There is nothing so obnoxious to find men of martial arts who pretend to be as real martial artists”. There were many students of mine who showed the power of their fists by breaking roof tiles and boards in front of people and became self-sufficient and satisfied. But none of them succeeded in upgrading themselves
in Karate. They were not enthusiastic about learning Kata. It is important to build strong fists but learning Kata is far more important than that.

In old days, we used to learn or teach Karate in a secret way without being known by other people. Those who wished to learn any martial art were very humble and quiet and they were reluctant to show what they can do in the place where many people gathered.

This is the basic rule we must abide by and obey no matter how things may change. It is more so in today when everything is becoming wide open and public. As for my advice for practice, it is important to go to the lavatory before you start your practice. It is something very important for those who wish to learn the essence of any martial art.

It is important to trim and shear the nails of the limbs (the arms and the legs).

In many cases, long nails often tend to hurt yourself. The most important of all, needless to say now, is to take a good balance of your mind. I refer to this because I talked about the breaking of the roof tiles and boards by fists. What counts is your daily practice. You have to do your own practice punctually in the morning and in the evening. Your fists are far weaker and softer than roof tiles and boards. You should overcome whatever comes to you with these fists.
You can accomplish it by only controlling your mind and repeating your practice. Today everyone seems to place great emphasis on scientism as if it were almighty. I guess that what I am saying now holds some truth in it. I guess that what I am saying is going to be proved in a very scientific way some day.

I believe that many of you do understand the spirit of Karate and try to understand it more in depth. I believe that many of you are trying to study it more.

At my hometown in my country (Okinawa), we used to use the word “Kunshi” or “man of wisdom” and name it for our Karate and its learners in the old days. It means “Bushi” or a gentle person. It also means someone who can hold and maintain good character. Today we see many new happenings going on. Even the ways of thinking seem to be changing for the worse. In such situations, I sincerely hope that we will be able to produce more and more people who can be “Kunshi” or “man of wisdom”.

--the part from page 82 to page 84 is the excerpts from the book “Kobojizai Goshinjutsu Karate Kenpo” (Karate As A Martial Art--- Ways of Offense and Defense for Protecting Yourself) written by Kenwa Mabuni in March, 1934

2.The philosophy of Shitoryu Karatedo

-The philosophy of Shitoryu Karatedo

The origin of Shitoryu Karatedo comes from “Shuri-Te” (Shuri Karate) founded by Master Anko Itosu and later from “Naha-Te” (Naha Karate) founded by Master Kanryo Higaon-na. Kenwa Mabuni, “Ryuso” (Founder) of Shitoryu Karatedo, tried to combine many Karate groups such as Matsumura Group or Arakaki Group into one. Founder Kenwa Mabuni, in deep contemplation, named the style he combined and created as “Shitoryu” after forming the first hieroglyphs of both Anko Itosu and Kanryo Higaon-na. It is after Kenwa Mabuni called his own style as “Mabuni Style” inheriting both styles of Shuri Karate and Haha Karate.

After studying and going through with all these stages and processes of “protecting, breaking and detaching”, Kenwa Mabuni scrutinized the whole of these spirits and techniques and named his new style as “Shitoryu”.

Its main characteristics are as follows. First, the rule is to study thoroughly the contents of practice with the Kata as its fundamental basics. Then by practically and theoretically analyzing these skills and techniques, You have to go to your own practice such as “bunkai kumite” (analyzed kumite). As a result, it becomes possible for you to loosen your power, do practice with no major unnecessary movement, and do practice with no outstandingly showy movement of Kata. Eventually you will be able to perform Kata by understanding the contents of all the skills and techniques.

The “Ryuso” (Founder) did play a great role in leading his students in improving their skills and techniques. At the same time, he placed a big emphasis on developing the way of educating the minds of his students. The Founder advocated “Kunshi-no-Ken” (the fists of man of wisdom). What the Founder aimed at and actually taught his students is the making and upgrading of good characters of people who learn Shitoryu Karatedo.

The Shitoryu has its own sub-main groups. But Shito-Kai is doing its best to develop, expand and popularize Shitoryu Karatedo among students and followers of its mainstream groups.

-”Kunshi no Ken” (Fists of Man of Virtue)

Sensei Kenwa Mabuni learned the special barehanded martial art in the land of Ryukyu (old name for Okinawa) that has been secretly taught and inherited by its students from the old days for generations. Sensei Kenwa Mabuni wished to change it into the martial art that is not only for sheer ways for battles and combats. He wished to change it as the martial art that can help learners train their mind and body as its first goal. He learned it to make it as the martial art that can maintain the dignity and integrity of “Kunshi” or Man of Virtue. Therefore, Shitoryu Karatedo advocates “Kunshi no Ken” (Fists of Man of Virtue) and
is aiming at educating learners not only the techniques but the ways to seek to build good characters. The teaching of “Kunshi no Ken” should not be misled or forgotten by learners of Karatedo.

The Writing of the Essence And the Series of “Waka” (traditional Japanese poetry)

1.The Writing of the Essence by the “Ryuso” (Founder)


水は地に因よって制流し兵は 敵によって制勝す。

<意 The Will>

極意 「柔」は「剛」を制し、「弱」は「強」を制するというけれど、「柔」は「剛」を有しているし、「弱」は「強」を用い ているからである。 兵の形を水にたとえると、水というのは高いところから低いところに流れるのと同様に、兵の形は実を避けて虚 を討つものであり、水が地勢によって流れが決まるのと同じ様に、兵は敵の形によって勝ちを制する。つまり、水 は勢いで制するのではないし、兵は常に決まった形がないものだ。敵によって変化し、勝ちを得る。これを神という。

鬼大城賢雄松金十七世 摩文仁賢和

The essence

They say that “juu” (being gentle) commands “gou” (being strong) and the weak commands the strong. It is so because “juu” contains “gou” in itself
and because the weak is making the most of the strong. When we talk about it by looking at the example of “the Kata (or form) of the army and the
water”, we can see it very clearly. The water runs from high place to low place. Likewise, the army’s Kata can catch its opponents by napping off their guard.
Like the way the water is destined to be guided and directed by the topography (geographic features), the army is destined to win and command its
victory by the Kata of the enemy (opponent). In short, the water is not to be commanded by any force and there is no set Kata of the army. Changing yourself in a flexible way by seeing the movement of your enemy and winning the battle----we call it “God”.

17thGenerationofOniOhgushikuKenyuMatsugane KenwaMabuni

We found the handwritten note of Founder Kenwa Mabuni. It was handed by the Founder to Sensei Yoshiaki Tsujikawa, exsenior advisor of Shito- Kai. It was handed to him in around 1935 and 1940. This important note is now being kept by Sensei Kiyoshi Sakamoto, senior student of late Sensei Tsujikawa. And the framed writing of the “will “ ―the essence of Shitoryu Karatedo― written by Founder Kenwa Mabuni is being kept by Sensei Sakamoto as well.

2.Eight Summarized Phrases of Ken (fists of martial art)

-Eight Summarized Phrases of Ken

(1) Jinshin tenchi ni onaju-su.
People’s mind is one with the Heaven and the Land. (Law of the Universe and the Nature)

(2) Ketsumyaku nichigetsu ni nitari.
The circulating rhythm of body is similar to the cycle of the Sun and the Moon. (Law of the Yin and the Yang)

(3) Hoh Goju wo donto shi.
The almighty inhales and exhales the strong and the weak. (Law of Breathing with Body andMind)

(4) Mi toki ni shitagai hen ni ouzu.
The body moves in accordance with the time and the change. (Law of Handling of the Body by Repositioning)

(5) Te kuh ni aeba sunawachi hairu.
When the hands meet with everything, they get hold of everything. (Law of Techniques)

(6) Shintai wa hakarite riho su
Going forward or backward is to be measured for meeting and separating. (Law of Intervals)

(7) Me yoku shihoh wo miru koto wo yousu
The eyes need to carefully observe everything in all directions. (Law of the Five Senses and the Sixth Sense)

(8) Mimi yoku happo wo kiku.
The ears hear and listen to everything well in all eight directions. (Law of the Five Senses and the Sixth Sense)

-Shuyoh Kun (Instructions for Maintaining Good Health)

The Five Virtues[Benevolence, Justice, Courtesy, Wisdom, Trust]

Jin to have the heart of affection and kindness
Gi to have the heart of justice
Rei to have the heart of appreciation
Chi to have the heart of enlightenment and discretion
Shin to have the heart of sincerity

-The Five Moral Principles

Teachers and students should act together and take good care of each other with justice.
All of us should love and respect our parents.
Married couples should live together in harmony.
Students of Dojo, and brothers and sisters should respect to each other.
Friends should do things with sincerity to each other.

3.The Series of “Waka” (traditional Japanese poetry)

-Instructions of Budo (martial arts) Notes by Kenwa Mabuni of Shitoryu Karatedo

Nanigotomo Uchiwasuretari Hitasurani Bunoshimasashite Kogugatanoshiki
Konomichiha Orimewotadasu Michinareba Itaranutotemo Minotokutonaru
Karatetoha Mazuminokakiwo Mototoshite Satesonoatoni Hitonikatsubeshi
Tsuyomekite Hikiataruwoba Hetatoiu Mariniyanagiwo Jouzutohaiu Konomichino
Ken-nominamoto Tazuneyade Asasewohashiru Chiezohakanaki Ooinaru
Michinokokorowo Tazunureba GouniJuuari Juunigouari

Ikaniseba Kawashiuchikomi Inazumano Gotokihayawaza Tsukuriizubeki
Tsukutotemo Muriyaritsukuto Omounayo Tenouchi Hhoushini Tsukugamanokachi
Tekken-no Issunkawasuto Mirunaraba Ainuketeseme Wagamiazuukete
Irimisuru Kokorozashiaru Hitonaraba Katsukotoyamete Maketemiyogashi
Tesakinite Tsukidasukenwa Yowaminari Fumikomitsukumo Minitetsukubeshi
Yuruyakana Ugokinonakaani Hisometaru Toginitogitaru Kyuuhen-noken
Wagairowa Tekinishirarenu Tedatenite Kangaetetore Tekinoiroai
Omoetada Shoubuwatokino Unzokashi Onorenotsukusu Hitonomakotowo
Konomichiwa Yokunaraitsutsu Yokuoboe WasuretezoKatsu Tenouchitoiu
Nobinobito Keikonotokini Yokumakete Makotonokachino Aruyouniseyo
Konoshiwoba Naruhodoerami Toritaraba Wagaomowakuwa Sutetetsutomeyo
Hyouhouha Kokorozashisae Tadashikuba Nigorimoaziwai Kokoroshitetore
Karatetoha Jouzutohitoni Iwaretemo Herikudaraneba Isshounoheta
Karukunaku Omokuhaaraji Osokarazu Isogukokorowo Ashikitozoiu
Fukaiyamaziwo Honokanimireba Okufukashi Wakeiriikaba Satoniidekeri
Tsunezuneni Gojonokokoro Nakimononi Kaden-nohouhou Ninkayurusuna
Yowotamochi Kuninomamorito Naruhitono KokoroniHyouhou Tsukawanuhanashi

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