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Isshin Ryu History

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Posted by Juan Carlos Buruchaga Susarte on February 17, 2017 at 8:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Isshin-Ryu (流 流) is an Okinawan Karate style founded in 1956 by Master Tatsuo Shimabuku (1908-1975). It is largely a synthesis of the styles of Karate Shorin Ryu, Goju Ryu and the art of using traditional weapons or Kobudō. Isshin-Ryu can be translated as "The style (or school) of one heart". The main features of this style are to use the muscles of the forearm instead of the ulnar and radial bones to block / deflect the blows, as well as the use of the fist vertically, with the thumb over it.


This style is practiced in several countries, but was widely spread in the United States through military troops or Marines assigned to the military base in Okinawa who then returned to their country. After the death of Master Shimabuku, several different lines of Isshin-Ryu were created, created by some of his most senior students.





The Isshin-Ryu compiles features of Karate Shorin Ryu, Goju Ryu and Kobudō; Therefore its origin is based on the three ancient Karate systems: "Naha-Te", "Shuri Te" and "Tomari-Te", and on one of the Kobudo lines Ryukyu Islands (original name of the Okinawan Islands).


Master Tatsuo Shimabuku, after training under the tutelage of four great masters: Master Choki Motobu (1871-1941) Shorin-ryu; The Master Chōjun Miyagi (1888-1953) Gojo-Ryu; Master Chotoku Kiyan (1870-1945) Shorin-Ryu, and Master Taira Shinken (1897-1970) Kobudo, amalgamated his teachings into a single self-defense system to which he adds modifications he deems necessary to enhance the new style, Use the muscles of the forearm instead of the bone to block / deflect the blows, and use his own variation of the Chinese fist, or in vertical form, with the thumb resting on the side of index finger, preferring this, instead of Horizontal fist or 'seiken' that is characteristic of the other styles of karate.





The formal methods of practice in Isshin-Ryu are composed of a series of basic traditional exercises and various Kata or "forms", both Karate (empty hand) and Kobudō (using traditional weapons)

Kihon or fundamentals

They are a series of basic techniques of karate that include displacements, blockades and blows.

1.Te-no-bu or Te-Waza (手 の 部 Top techniques / fist)

2.Ashi-no-bu or Keri-Waza (足 の 部 Lower Techniques / Legs)

3. Kotekitae (手 鍛 鍛 Strengthening and Breathing Exercises)


These exercises were developed by the teacher Shimabuku and his pupil Kaneshi Eiko, to gradually train the new students. They are the basis of the style, and are practiced at the beginning of each class with the aim of familiarizing students with basic techniques: displacements, blockages, blows of hands and legs, gradually conditioning the practitioner's body and mind for exercises Greater technical complexity.

Katas the way

In formal practice is included a series of Kata or more complex "forms" of karate that derive from other traditional Kata adapted to the style, with the exception of Sunsu, that is a own Kata and characteristic of the style Isshin-Ryu, developed by the founder .


Types of Kata:

1.Seisan (Thirteen opponents)

2.Seiunchin (calm in the Storm)

3.Naihanchi (or tekki / Iron Rider)

4.Wansu (楫 楫) (the empi)

5.Chinto (闘 闘)

6.Sanchin (Three Battles)

7.Kusanku (相 君 君)

8.Sunsu (ン ス ウ ウ) (stone man)




Kobudo Kata

In the style are also included several Kata or "forms" with traditional Weapons. While Master Shimabuku taught only three of the Kobudo's weapons; Being these: Bo, Sai and Tonfa, the different lines of Isshin-Ryu teach other Kobudo Kata, which include the use of Nunchaku, Kama, Eku and Tekko.

Bo Kata◦Tokumine no kon (嶺 嶺 の 棍)

◦Urashi bo (添 棒 棒)

◦Shishi no kon (石 石 の 棍)




Sai Kata◦Kusanku sai (相 君 サ イ イ)

◦Chatanyara does not leave (谷 屋 良 良 の 釵)

◦Kyan does not leave

Tonfa Kata◦Hamahiga-no-tuifa (比 嘉 嘉 の ゥ フ ァ ァ ー)

Nunchaku Kata ◦Nunchaku-no-Kata (ン チ ャ ク ク)

Kobudo Kumite Kata

Some Isshin-Ryu schools also include Kobudo katas performed by two people; Both armed.

◦Bo-tai-Bo-Kumite (Bo versus Bo)

◦Bo-tai-Sai-Kumite (Bo vs. Sai)

◦Bo-tai-Tonfa-Kumite (Bo vs. Tonfa)