Matsumara Sensei was born in 1809 in Shuri-Yamakawa village, Okinawa. His Chinese name was Bu Seitatsu. it is not known who taught him the martial arts, but it is said that he became involved with the martial arts at a very young age. Matsumura Sensei was famous for his intellect and courage as a result of his hard training. He was the chief bodyguard for the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth kings of the Ryukyu Islands (Okinawa).Matsumura Sensei was twice sent to Fukien, China, and mainland Satsuma (now known as Kagoshima, Japan) as an envoy of the Ryukyuan king. In China, he was allowed to learn the secret Chinese martial arts, and in Satsuma, he was instructed in the martial arts by Ishuin Yashichiro. This fact was recorded in his family lineage, which was unfortunately destroyed by fire in 1944. The following are the teachings of Matsumura Sensei:"There are three types of teachings in both literary arts and the martial arts. The three teachings in the literary arts are Shinsho, Kunko and Confucian. While Shinsho and Kunko are too iiterarily artistic to be justified as true teachings, the Confucian teachings should be recognized as true teachings because of their effort to attain sincerity and peace.""Three teachings in the martial arts are Gakushi, Meimoku and Budo. While Gakushi and Meimoku are too violent and harmful to be considered as true teachings, Budo teachings emphasize the non-violent and mental methods to overcome opponents. So, daily training has to be done with these two teachings (Confucian and Budo) in mind."Matsumura Sokon Sensei learned his form of "Te" while in China studying under Wai Shiu Zan. Among his students were Towada, !shimine, ltotsu, and Kuwae (his last formal student). All of these outstanding martial artists came from wealthy families. Matsumura Sensei was a verywell-educated man and was married to a very beautiful woman, who was also a splendid martial artist in her own right.. It is said of Matsumura Sensei's wife that she would marry the man who could defeat her. Matsumura Sensei took up the challenge and fought her. Although she was very skilled, Matsumura Sensei kicked her in the breast area causing her to surrender the fight. Shortly after their fight, they were married. It is said that the Shuri-te form of the kata Seisan was developed by Matsumura Sensei's wife so as to allow her to fight with a baby strapped to her back.Matsumura Sokon Sensei was the Ryukyuan King's bodyguard up until his death at age 85. A story is related concerning one night when three criminals broke into Shuri Castle. Upon being notified of this, Matsumura Sensei decided to send his wife to get rid of them or arrest them. Upon arriving at the castle, she confronted them leaving. After a short fight, the lady Matsumura left one dead and the other two severely injured (one of which died several days later from a toe-tipped kick to the leg).Another incident involved Matsumura Sensei fighting another Okinawan Bushi, Kushiguawa Uehara. The fight was to take place in front of the king to determine who would be the chief bodyguard. Both men only threw one punch, with Matsumura Sensei winning by skillfully punching Bushi Kushiguaw's punching hand and breaking it.

The most famous story concerning Bushi Matsumura involved him fighting a large bull. The Ryukyuan king had always wanted to know whether a man could fight and win against a bull, but he also wanted to see how well Matsumura Sensei could handle himself in a life or death confrontation. When the king gave Matsumura Sensei the challenge, he could not refuse because he was the king's chief bodyguard. The other Okinawan Bushi advised him that he would be killed if he took up the challenge. They stated that it would be much wiser for him to step down rather than be needlessly killed.

Matsumura accepted the challenge and the king then ordered fifteen men to construct a special bull-fighting ring for the fight. The news spread throughout all of Okinawa that the great Matsumura would fight the king's favorite fighting bull. In turn, Matsumura Sensei asked the king for three weeks to prepare for the match. The king gave his permission and Matsumura Sensei began his preparations to ensure his win and his survival.

The next day, Matsumura Sensei took a short bamboo spear and went to the stables where the bull was corralled. He told the keeper of the stable that he needed to be alone with the bull in order to make peace with it so as the bull's spirit would not haunt him after he killed it. The keeper honored Matsumura's wish and left. Matsumura Sensei then used his cloak to give the bull his scent and then poked its privates with the bamboo spear. The bull became very angry, but could not get at Matsumura because of the strong corral. He continued to terrorize the bull every day for three weeks until the mere sight of Matsumura caused the bull to cry with fright.

On the day of the fight, Matsumura Sensei wore his oldest and dirtiest fighting clothes that had not been washed. The dirty clothes carried his scent and his hopes for survival. The bull-ring had been situated on the beach and Matsumura Sensei arrived at the appointed hour. By then, almost all of Okinawa was there to watch the Bushi meet his match in the king's favorite fighting bull. The Bushi approached the bull-ring carrying his favorite bamboo fighting fan and nothing else.


The following are the teachings of Itotsu Sensei:

  1. Karate training should not be used for your own interest, but for the protection of your parents, and it is never to be used to hurt anyone.

  2. Karate training is to be used to make the muscles and bones of the body as hard as a rock and to make the arms and legs as sharp as spears, hence it is so practical that it will help our military society in times to come. The First Duke of Wellington said when he defeated Napoleon I, "Our victory today was attained in our schoolyards."

  3. Karate cannot be mastered in a short period of time. One to two hours of hard and correct training every day for three or four years will help put you on the right road to understanding Karate and eventually mastering it.

  4. Karate requires such strong hands and feet that you should train by striking makiwara (striking post) one to two hundred times each day.

  5. Karate students should train with their limbs straight up, the lungs wide open, the shoulders down and the feet firmly on the ground.

  6. Karate form (kata) is a training method where meaning and analysis is of the utmost importance.

  7. Karate form (kata) must also be analyzed by the student to determine its use-whether it is to be used for physical or practical training. Karate training must be intensive as if one is actually on a battlefield.

  8. Karate training must be systematic and correct so as to develop one's physical strength.

  9. Karate experts have lived longer because training develops the muscles and the bones. It also helps the digestive organs and improves the circulation of the blood. Therefore, Karate training should be offered in physical education courses beginning in the elementary school and up.

Yasutsune Itotsu Sensei is often referred to by his nickname of "Ankoh." He was born in 1830 in Shuri-Yamakawa village, Okinawa. He began studying "Shuri-te" under Matsumura Sokon Sensei at a very young age and was literate enough to be named as the official clerk of the Shuri government.When Karate became part of the physical education training at the Shuri Elementary School in 1901, Itotsu Sensei was its first instructor. This was the first step for the popularization of modern Okinawan Karate. Between 1905 and 1915, Itotsu Sensei was a part-time Karate instructor at the Okinawan Dai Ichi High School. He devoted his entire life to the spread of Shuri style Karate and ended his 85 year long life in 1915.

Chosin Chibana

Chosin Chibana was born in Shuri on June 5, 1886, into a modest family. As a boy, he worked in the fields to help with his families livlihood. He attended Okinawa Prefectual Grammer School. In 1898, Chibana successfully met the requirements necessary to enter Okinawa Prefectural Dai Ichi Middle School, but left school in mid-course in 1900 to become a student of the widely known authority of Karate, Ankoh Itotsu. Chibana devoted his total life to the study of Karate under Itotsu Sensei for 13 years.During this time, Chibana was a classmate to men like himself, who were to leave their mark on Karate across the world. Students studying under Itotsu Sensei with Chibana were Kenwa Mabuni, Choki Oshiro, and Masashige Shiromo, to just name a few. In 1920, Chibana Sensei opened two dojos, one in Shuri and one in Naha. Shortly before this time, Karate had been introduced to mainland Japan by several of Chibana's classmates, Kenwa Mabuni and Gichin Funakoshi. During this surge of interest in Karate, many Karatemen sought ways of making what they knew more appealing, but Chibana Sensei maintained that it would take him a lifetime to understand thoroughly what he had been taught by Itotsu Sensei. He devoted his life to this principle. He could often be heard saying, "Karate is teaching Kata (form) we have taken from forefathers without changing it at all." When the many changes were taking place in Karate with the naming of different systems by Ryu names, Chibana Sensei named his system Shorin-Ryu to denote that he was teaching exactly as he had been taught by Itotsu Sensei. While training his students, he also coached students at three universities in mainland Japan; Takushoku University, Tyo University and Nihon University, through explanation of military exercise before the Pacific War.After the war and Okinawa had recovered from the destitution, Chibana Sensei started to teach again to those students who had no been killed in the war. Many of his top students served and died for the Japanese Imperial Army.

Having devoted his total life to teaching Karate and never having another vocation, in 1956 at the age of 71, he organized the Okinawa Karate Federation and took office as its first president. This was a big step for Chibana Sensei because the Okinawa Karate Federation was made up of main Ryus that had developed in Okinawa. This was the beginning of the end of the quarreling between school and system as to whose system was the best. In 1957, because of his efforts to unite Karate on and system as to whose system was the best. In 1957, because of his efforts to unite Karate on and system as to whose system was the best. In 1957, because of his efforts to unite Karate on Okinawa and his total dedication to Karate, he was given the degree of "Hanshi no Sogo" (Doctorial Master) by the Dainippon Butokukai. This was the highest rank ever given to any Karate instructor and no one has received this rank since. In 1960, he was awarded a special athletic prize by the Okinawa Times.

In 1961, he seceded from the presidency of the Okinawa Karate Federation to devote more time to his disciples. At this time, he organized the Okinawa Shorin-Ryu Karate Association made up of his disciples. From this time, although 76 years old, he devoted all his energies to his followers. In February 1969, at the age of 84, Chibana Sensei passed away after a short illness, leaving behind him a life completely devoted to Karate and the almost impossible feat of having trained five of his disciples, Chozo Nakama, Katsuya Miyshira, Kensei Kinjo, Yucho Ku Higa, and Shugoro Nakazato, to the stage of Kyudan (9th Degree) Karate Master.


SHUGORO NAKAZATO was born in Nahn-city Okinawa on August 14, 1919. While attending normal school in Osaka Japan in 1935, he began his study of Karate at the age of 16 under the instruction of Ishu Selichl. Nakazato studied under Sensei Ishu for 6 years. During the war, he was in the Japanese calvary.

After the war was over, Nakazato returned to his home in Okinawa to find his family a casualty of war. In June of 1946, he began his study of Karate under Choshin Chibana, who was the Menkyo inheritor of Anko Itotsu. In 1948 Chibana's Shuri dojo closed but Nakazato continued his study with Master Chibana. For one year Chibana gave Nakazato personal tutoring at Chibana's home.

In 1951 Nakazato was instrumental in helping Chibana open his new DAI ICHI DOJO in Naha City at Matsuo. Chibana continued his personal tutoring of Nakazato at the Dai Ichi Dojo until January 10, 1954 when Nakazato received his Shihan Menkyojo at which time he became Master Chibana's Shihan Dai (assistant). After work as the Shihan Dai in the Dai Ichi Dojo under Chibana for one and half years, Nakazato was commissioned by Chibana to find the Shorin-Ryu. ShorinKan Nakazato dojo in Naha City at Aza.

Nakazato was appointed as one of the directors of the Okinawan Karate Federation when it was formed in 1956 with the four major (shiryuha) systems of Karate in Okinawa Goju-Ryu; Uechi-Ryu, Shorin-Ryu, Matsubayshi-Ryu. All during this time Nakazato devoted all of his time and energy to teaching and perfecting Shorin-Ryu Karate-do. In 1960 the Okinawan Karate Federation promoted him to Eight Degree Black Belt and Kyoshi. Seven years later Nakazato continued his climb to the top of the Shorin-Ryu hierarch y when Master Chibana and the Okinawa Shorin-Ryu Karate-do Kyokai promoted him to Hanshi and 9th Degree Black Belt.

Nakazato began his study of weapons almost from the beginning of his training in 1935. He was trained in the sai, bo, nunchaku, tonfa, and nicho kama, but he specialized in Bojutsu for 4 years. Throughout his career he has given of his knowledge very willingly. He has demonstrated his technique of Karate all over the world, in Europe, India, Africa, mainland Japan, and he has made at least 8 trips to America. He has appeared on television many times and is often a guest on the "Tokyo T.V. Afternoon Show." When Master Chibana passed away, Shugoro Nakazato inherited the Leadership of Okinawan Shorin-Ryu Karate-do, thus becoming a (10) TENTH DEGREE BLACK BELT.


Nakaza Sensei was born in Okinawa, Japan in 1942. He began is karate training in 1957 at the age of 15 under the guidance of Joen Nakazato. Nakazato, one of the most noted students of Chotoku Kyan (student of the great Matsumura Sokon) and founder of Shorinji-ryu, would teach Nakaza Shuri-Te.

In 1960 Nakaza would expand his training to include Naha-Te (Goju-Ryu) under Seiko Higa. Higa was a student of Chojun Myagi, the founder of Goju-Ryu, for more than 35 years.

After nearly 6 years with Higa Sensei, in 1966 Nakaza would again return to the Shuri-Te lineage under Shugoro Nakazato the founder of the Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan who inherited the Shorin-Ryu system from Chosin Chibana. Chibana-Sensei was the first 10th-degree grandmaster of Shorin-Ryu karate. LEARN MORE