Newville Scorpions Isshinryu Karate


How It All Began


Master Tatsuo Shimabuku


Master Tatsuo Shimabuku: (1906-1975) (Tatsuo means “Dragon Boy)

 He began studying karate from his uncle when he was 14 years old.  Later, he studied with three of the most prominent martial art masters in Okinawa as well as a renowned weapons master.  The teachers were Choki Motobu, Chotoku Kiyan, Chojun Miyagi and Taira Shinken.  


Choki Motobu: (1871-1944)       (Shuri Te)

 Master Shimabuku learned Shuri Te karate from Master Motobu.  Master Motobu was known as a fierce fighter, and Master Shimabuku learned good kumite “fighting” skills and the kata “Chinto” from Master Motobu.  


Chotoku Kiyan: (1870-1945)     (Shorin Ryu)

Master Shimabuku learned Shorin Ryu from Master Kiyan.  Shorin Ryu has roots dating back 500 years. (The name “shorin” is actually the Japanese pronunciation of “shaolin”, the famous Kung Fu style of the Chinese Buddhist monks.) 

Master Shimabuku learned the kata Seisan, Wansu, Naihanchi, and Ku San Ku from Master Kiyan, who also stressed good kumite skills.

(Naihanchi kata is considered the backbone of Shorin Ryu Karate.)  


Chojun Miyagi: (1888-1953)      (Goju Ryu)

 Master Shimabuku learned Goju Ryu karate from Master Miyagi.  From Goju Ryu, Master Shimabuku incorporated the kata “Sanchin” & “Seiunchin” into Isshinryu.

Goju Ryu is a very powerful hard style of karate.

(Sanchin is considered the backbone of Goju Ryu karate.)


Taira Shinken: (1889 - 1970)          (Kobudo)

 Master Shimabuku learned the use of weapons (Kobudo) from Master Shinken; this included the BO, SAI & TONFA.  


Master Tatsuo Shimabuku practiced and taught these styles for many years.  Over time he noticed that his karate in general worked best when he combined techniques, movements, power and ideas from the other three styles and used them together in a complementary fashion.  

Each style had a weakness that could be supported by strengths from the other styles.  Master Shimabuku then began to experimenting with some non-traditional ideas such as holding his punching fist vertically instead of twisting it horizontally when delivering a strike.  Also when blocking, using the forearm muscle rather than turning the forearm and blocking with the bone side of the forearm.  

Then on January 15th 1954 Master Shimabuku founded Isshin Ryu Karate in Gushikawa City on the island of Okinawa. The name Isshin Ryu means One Heart Style”, can also be translated in Japanese as “one mind style”.  

Isshin Ryu encompassed all of Master Shimabuku’s favorite traditional martial arts applications and techniques and incorporated his own innovative ideas, to stand by itself as a new and modern form of karate.





The Mizu Gami


The Mizu Gami


The Mizu Gami (Japanese Water goddess) is the emblem of Isshinryu Karate.

Based on a dream Master Tatsuo Shimabuku had one day while working to creating Isshinryu.

One day Master Shimabuku fell asleep, in his dream he was in his dojo (training hall).
 A man appeared at the door and challenged Master Shimabuku to a fight.  Master Shimabuku refused the fight from the stranger, stating he was a gentleman and didn’t fight unless absolutely necessary.  After saying that to the man a fierce dragon appeared above the stranger and spit a ring of fire around Master Shimabuku.  As it burned closer to the master, another figured appeared above Master Shimabuku’s head.  
It was the Mizu Gami; she had put out the ring of fire with water and saved the master.

Master Tatsuo Shimabuku felt that his dream vision was the image he wanted to mold his karate style and philosophy after.  The Mizu Gami emblem “patch” symbolizes the following things.  The 3 stars represent the 3 masters (Motobu, Kiyan, & Miyagi) who taught Master Shimabuku, they also represent  the mental, physical and spiritual sides of karate.

The dragon is the one from the dream that spit the fire at Master Shimabuku; the female is the water goddess who quenched the flames.  One of her hands is closed in a fist, indicating strength and courage, while the other hand is opened, indicating peace and friendship.  The upper body of the goddess is a female, a figure of kindness and peace, while her lower body is a roiling serpent, indicating troubled times or danger.   The water is the water that the Mizu Gami used to put out the dragon’s fire. The grey background is the sunya, or void which represents quite calmness and tranquility. The emblem, when seen on the patch on a Karate Gi is bordered by an orange ring “representing the fire spit around Master Shimabuku in his dream”.  The patch is designed in a vertical elongated form, not a circle; this represents the “vertical fist” this is unique to the Isshin Ryu karate punches.



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