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HISTORY OF SHITORYU KARATEDOΕλληνικάEnglish日本語


History of Shitoryu Karatedo and of Shitokai: The footsteps of Ryuso Kenwa Mabuni

Η πόλη Σούρι, στο τέλος του 19ου αιώνα


Ο τάφος του Κένγιου Οσίρο. 
Δέχεται ακόμα σήμερα αρκετούς επισκέπτες.

Mabuni was born on 14 November in 1889, in the city of Shuri, Ryukyu, where is known well now as Okinawa island. Kenwa was 17th ascendant of lord Kenyu Oshiro, who was famous in the history of Ryukyu.

Since Kenwa was a weak child, his parents told him often to encourage him the story of Kenyu Oshiro.           


It gave him a motive to strengthen his physical condition.

“Since I was a weak child, I cared much about my health. Before I began Karate, I started some excersises”, said Kenwa Mabuni.





His first contact with Karate was when he was 10 years old. He learned traditional version of Naifanchi from Matakichi Morihiro who stayed as a guest at his home.

When Kenwa was 13 years old, he was accepted at the dojo of Anko Itosu who was the authority of Shuri-te. Since then Mabuni was absorbed in the learning of Karate.



Ο Άνκο Ιτόσου με τους μαθητές του

“Every day I woke up at 5 in the morning, worked on Kata and Makiwara, and other exercises for two hours before I went to school. After school, I practiced very hard with my teacher. When night fell I went home, studied for one hour and a half, then around 10 o’clock till 1 at midnight I practiced Karate. For 6 years I kept practicing everyday even it was stormy weather I never stopped the training.”




Η μακρόχρονη φιλία μεταξύ Κένβα και
Τσότζουν Μιγιάγκι στήριξε την μεγάλη
ανάπτυξη και την εξάπλωση του
Καράτε στο κόσμο.

Meanwhile, at the junior high school he met Chojun Miyagi, who was elder by a year. They became friends.

Later Kenwa was enrolled to fisheries high school in the region Itoman. After he graduated the high school, he was employed in an elementary school of Naha as an substitute teacher.

In the meantime, because of the acquaintance with Miyagi, Kenwa was accepted by Higaona Kanryo who was the master of Nahate technique. He started to learn Nahate while he was practicing Shurite.

“When I was 19 years old, I became a student of Sensei Higaona Kanryo. His teaching was completely different from other methods I knew. The practices was very hard, I can say it was stoical, but I continued them for 7 years.”




Κάνρυο Χιγκαόνα

Kenwa joined the army when he was 20 years old and completed his service in 1912. Miyagi advised him to enroll in the police academy. Kenwa listened his friend’s advice. He was appointed as a policeman at the police station of Naha.

“At the age of 26, I obtained the license of teaching Karate from both teachers. When I was 27 years old, I opened my first school at my home reforming a part of it. People of my neighborhood enrolled in the school. Within a year, the number of my students reached to 50. Those days I worked as a policeman. The situation was quite practical to study Karate.”*

But it was the same period of time when he lost his two teachers. Higaona passed away first, and then Itosu died.

Kenwa told about the idea of establishing an organization with other karate-ka. In March of 1918, “Society of Karate Study” was established. Almost all well-known karate-ka of the period joined to this society, such as Kentsu Yabe, chomo Hanashiro, Anbun Tokuda, Sinpan Joma, Chojo Oshiro, Seito Tokumura, Aiko Isikawa, Gichin Funakoshi.

Kenwa learned all Kata of Shuri-te, Naha-te, Tomari-te and son on those days, which would become the foundation of Sitoryu’s establishment.

In 1924 Kenwa was employed as a teacher of Karate in the prefectural fisheries high school, in a normal school, as well as in the police academy. In 1921 prince Kuninomiya and prince Kachonomiya, also in 1924 prince Chichibu and prince Takamatumiya visited the Okinawa. Kenwa undertook the demonstrations of Karate-Jutsu in the presence of these princes.

In April of 1925, he established a new society, “Karate Kenkyu Club”. In October of 1927, Jigoro Kanno visited Okinawa. Then, demonstrations of martial arts were held. Miyagi took charge of Naha-te, while Kenwa did Shuri-te. Kanno encouraged Kenwa and Miyagi. He invited them to visit Tokyo.

“Kanno Sensei invited us to his room. For two days he listened our explanations of Katas’ Bunkai enthusiastically.”


Τζιγκορό Κάννο, ιδρυτής του Κόντοκαν Τζούντο

Kenwa decided to settle himself in Tokyo for the purpose of popularizing Karate in the mainland of Japan (Honshu). In 1928 he travelled alone to Tokyo, and visited Kanno with Funakoshi. But next year he moved to Osaka. Possibly it was because of Funakoshi who had already settled into Tokyo and began teaching Karate there.






“I moved to Osaka, in the district Nisinari, on the street Tsurumibashi. I opened my new Dojo.”




In 1931 Kenwa organized his first demonstration of Karate in the mainland of Japan, in Sumiyoshi ward.
In 1934 he named his style of Karate as Shito, taking two first letters of his teachers names.


In 1939 Kenwa applied officially his style of Karate with the name of “Shito-ryu” and his organization “Dai Nippon Butokukai”. He obtained the title of Renshi.

After several years, tough, the war broke out. From this reason a very few documents were left to tell us about those days.

In 1945, after the end of the war, martial arts was forbidden by the Occupation Forces. But Karate wasn’t in the list of forbidden martial arts, so it restored quicker than other.




Το μέρος όπου ο Κένβα διοργάνωσε πρώτη
επίδειξη του Καράτε στο Χόνσου
(κύρια νησιά της Ιαπωνίας).



Δεξιά ο Κένει Μαμπούνι, αριστερά ο Γκίτσιν Φουνακόσι
Kenwa passed away in 1952. He was 63 years old. He never had imagined that his style would have been spread worldwide.






After his death, in 1960, “East Japan Karatedo kai” was established with the president Manzo Iwata, “West Nihon Karatedo Kai” was established at the same time with the president Kenei Mabuni. Two organizations held championships

separately. In April of 1964, they organized their domestic championships of Shitoryu together. These two organizations were united and established as an organization, which was named “All Japan Karatedo Shitokai”. In October of the same year, by the opportunity of Japan Karatedo Federation’s establishment, “All Japan Karatedo Shitokai” was renamed “All Japan Karatedo Federation Shitokai”.

In March of 1993, in Osaka, World Shitoryu Karatedo Federation was established. In the same month, in Tokyo, its first world championships were held. Since then 7 world championships were held in Japan, Mexico, Russia and China.

In 1997, Honbu Dojo opened in Asaka-city, where the office of Headquarters of W.S.K.F is located, too.


Δοκίμασε αγώνα κούμιτε με τα προστατευτικά



Το Αρχηγείο της W.S.K.F. 








*In his personal note, Kenwa wrote that he opened his first Dojo when he was 27 years old, while other documents mention that his first Dojo was opened in 1925, when he was 36 years old.


Bibliography:

«The Original Though of Shioryu Karatedo», All Japan Karatedo Federation, 2009

«Kunshi No Ken», All Japan Karatedo Federation, 2013