Karate Style History - Kenwa Mabuni

Shito-Ryu Karate-Do

Shito-ryu karate-do is one of four major styles of traditional karate practiced around the world today. The founder of the Shito-Ryu system, Kenwa Mabuni (1889-1952) was born in the ancient Okinawan capitol of Shuri on the 14th November 1889.

He began his study of martial arts at the age of fourteen under the guidance of Ankou Itosu Sensei, the great master of Shuri-Te and later, Kanryou Higaonna Sensei, the great master of Naha-Te. ‘Te’ was a simple term meaning ‘hand’ used to describe this local unarmed combat system, believed to be a blend of indigenous fighting techniques with those of Chinese origin.

Mabuni graduated from Junior High School and became a police officer. During this time Mabuni continually researched not only ‘Te’, but also traditional Ryukyu Kobudo (ancient warrior ways – using traditional Okinawan weaponry) in particular, Bo-Jutsu and Sai-Jutsu.

He furthered his skills by learning from a number of other prominent teachers before eventually combining his eclectic knowledge to form one of the most comprehensive fighting systems, not only using Tsuki (thrusts) and Keri (kicks) but also Nage (throws) and Gyaku-waza (reverse techniques). Mabuni also emphasised the need for spiritual education in order to develop a peaceful and harmonious personality.


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