Isshinryu or the School (Ryu) of United (Is) Hearts (Shin)
Isshinryu style came after the World War II in Okinawa is made by synthesis of Shorin Ryu Sensei Tatsuo Shimabuku (linear style mainly striking force) and Goju Ryu (style predominantly circular motion with many keys and throwing) with a infusion of principles and techniques of Xing Yi Kung Fu and Ryu Motobu.
Master Shimabuku was born on September 9, 1906 in the village of Okinawa Kiyan in a poor family with 10 children. With a relatively weak constitution, parents decide to send him to learn karate from his uncle that taught Urshu Matsumura Shorinryu in a locality close.
Shimabuku liked to participate in training with his uncle, considering that he continued to work on the family farm and go through every day the 8 km to the dojo. Progressing very fast reaching in some years assistant to his uncle and posed remarkable skills: gain constant of spear throwing competitions and jumping. In 23 years begins to study one of the most famous karate masters Chotoku Kyan. From this Endorses Shorin kata: Seisan, Naihanchi, Wanshu, Kushanku (version Yara) Tokumeni No Kun and Kiko exercises (working with internal energy ki).
Throught Master Kyan he meets Motobu Choki and continues studying a period in parallel with this free fight .It would seem that the Motobu met Chinese Christian missionary Gee Hsiang T’ang which teaches principles and techniques of Hsing Yi (style very aggressive internal Kung Fu).
After his death in 1945 Master Kyan, Shimabuku Sensei study Gojuryu with the founder of this system, including in its style Miyugi Chojun and Seienchin, Sanchin Kata.
About Sanchin will say that “there was no Karate without Sanchin” During this time Sensei Shimabuku often test their martial techniques in street fighting, comes to be known and feared as a fighter.
For expanding martial knowledge practice Kobudo (traditional weapons) with Moden Yabiku and, Shinken Taira. In the late 40, Sensei Shimabuku is opening a small dojo in Agen where he teaches his own vision, which resulted from combining the best principles and techniques of Shorin and Goju as “Chan migwa-lime (Kyan’s karate the small eyes one” ).
In January 1954 Sensei Shimabuku has a dream in which a water goddess tells Mizu-Gami to Isshinryu style and label (hearts united school) and so the birthday of Isshinryu’s January 15, 1954 and is considered an emblem representing goddess Water coming out of the sea.
The first formal organization of Isshinryu karate, “American-Okinawiana karate Association, was formed in 1960 by Sensei Shimbuku, Eiko Kaneshi, Harold Mitchum, Kinjo Kinsoku Steve Armtrong and others.
In 1964 and 1966, Shimabuku Sensei visit their students in America.With this occasion is made a film including all katas. It withdraws from official duties in 1972 leaving the leadershit to his son Kichiro. Sensei Shimabuku died on May 30, 1975. Note that in the early 50’s United States Marines Corps sought a master and a method for training soldiers in close combat.
Criteria of choice: aggressiveness, simplicity, easy to learn, rapid progress. After a period through several okinawan and Japanese dojos officials stop the Isshinryu Narin’s meeting all the qualities mentioned above. The stories say that Shimabuku Sensei has amazed the Americans beating a few nails throught oak beams edge hands only and said that “I can train you to do the same in 3-4 months”. And today’s Isshinryu is the training of Close combat troops of the Marines and Navy SEAL, and military instructors are black belts in Isshinryu style. The efficiency of this style was tested with success in wars between Korea and Vietmam.
Currently, Isshinryu’s is one of the most widespread systems of the Americas. Adaptability and lack of prejudice in the technical field made him to be the uniform style of Karate until present. Isshinryu exist in many current associates, masters with its own very special way sometimes, but all practice Isshinryu. Worldwide there are United Isshinryu Council, a coordinating council as all independent organizations that keeps Isshinryu style unit.
In IsshinRyu there is no rule about what you can and can`t do. There are no restrictions when learning something new. They`ll never say – Oh you want to learn Bo Techniques? I`m sorry we don`t teach that here. If is something useful or interesting They will always be eager to learn and then teach others to do. For this reason IsshinRyu is an Open Minded Fighting Style. As an IsshinRyu practitioner you will always learn something new starting from the regular blocks and strikes with legs, hand or other parts of your body and continued to more complex techniques like: throws, strangles, keys, joint locks, Acupuncture Points Stimulation, Ground Fighting and Kobudo(kama, nitabo, staff, tonfa, sai, nunchaku).
The complexity of the system results in different Teachers knowing different techniques. You`ll find Isshinryu Masters specialized on Kobudo, Ground Fighting or Stand Up Fighting. Each student chooses his path and his teacher will always be there to help him in his development.
The system used in Dojos and competion is Mixed Fight Full Contact – this system allows you not only to learn but also to practice your techniques in real combat. As a result the students are well prepared and can participate in almost all types of ring sports.
Compared to other Martial Arts Styles here you will not stop at 1 or 3 Dan rank. You`ll always have something to learn, even if you get the highest rank (10 Dan). Degrees reflect the individual progress – spiritual and physical and the exams are quite hard to pass. The students need to demonstrate a tremendous tenacity besides their fighting abilities and technical accomplishment. As a result IsshinRyu is the school with the largest number of Grandmasters holding a 10-dan Rank and they are still active and bring their contribution to the development of IsshinRyu.