Make your own free website on Tripod.com

the famous eccentric and enormous Okinawan shorei-ryu master, Choki Motobu.  Yabu left two well-remembered students, Shinken Taira and Kanken Toyama (1888-1966), the founder of shudokan karate.
Chotoku Kyan was a true okinawan karate master.  Kyan became his father's student in the arts of sumo and karate as a teenager.  When Kyan was about 20, his father felt it necessary for him to practice karate regularly.  At the time there were three noted karate teachers: Sokon Matsumura, Ankoh Itosu both from Shuri and Pechin Oyadomari in Naha.  Kyan's father asked all three to train his son, although his chief sensei is reputed to have been Itosu.  Kyan learned rapidly, absorbing both Shuri-te and Tomari-te; his Chinto kata was said to be flawless.  He was challenged frequently, but was never defeated.  Kyan founded the Shobayashi-ryu branch of shorin-ryu karate.
Eizo Shimabukuro, Grandmaster of Shobayashi Shorin-ryu, is presently the head of the All Japan Shorin-ryu Karatedo International League.  Born in the village of Gushigawa (also pronounced Gushikawa), Okinawa, on April 17, 1925.  He received the rank of tenth degree (judan) red belt at the age of 36 (the youngest person ever to do so).  Master Shimabukuro studied karate under several of the masters, beginning with Chojun Miyagi.  After spending three years with Miyagi, he learned from Choki Motobu (1871-1944), who has been called the greatest karate warrior ever to have lived.  Shimabukuro also studied with his brother, Tatsuo who created Isshin-ryu Karate.  He learned kobujutsu (the art of weapons) from Shinken Taira, an expert in the art and a student of Kentsu Yabu.  Always seeking improvement, Shimabukuro finally met Hanshi ("high master") Chotoku Kyan, a master of great ability.  It was from this man that Shimabukuro learned his karate so expertly.  After Kyan died, Shimabukuro maintained the traditions and excellence of Shorin-ryu by his mastery and example, and in 1959 he was promoted to tenth degree black belt by Kangen Toyama (1888-1966), president of the All Japan Karatedo League and the founder of Shudokan Karate.  He was awarded the tenth degree red belt two years later,  signifying his mastery as a teacher-not just a student-of karate.

Toyama was sent by the Japanese government in 1959 on a mission to unite the diverse styles of Okinawan karate under on umbrella association.  It was during that time that Toyama promoted Shimabukuro to tenth dan.  Shimabukuro was one of six he promoted to this level in his lifetime.  Toyama appointed Shimabukuro to chairman, Okinawa Headquarters, of the All Japan Karatedo League.  Of the various styles of karate which have evolved over the years, it is irrefutable that Shorin-ryu was there at the art's inception and survived through the ages.  It will continue to be a significant discipline in the years to come, guiding students in a style which attempts to retain its purity of philosophy, traditions and history in the midst of a constantly changing world.