O’Sensei  Tatsuo Shimabuku



Shimabuku Sensei, founder of Isshin-Ryu Karate and Kobudo, was born in Chan village, currently called Kinaka, in Gushikawa City, Okinawa on September 19, 1908.  Kana was his Okinawan given name and his Japanese given name was Shinkichi.  He later chose the name Tatsuo, but had a nickname of Su nu su or Sunsu for short.  Shimabuku studied Shorin-Ryu under Chotoku Kyan who lived in Kadena.  Later he studied Goju-Ryu under Chojun Miyagi.  He also studied Shorin-Ryu under Choki Motobu.  In the mid1950's, after many years of pioneering (Chan Migwa Te), he named his style Isshin-Ryu. Shimabuku  taught Isshin-Ryu Karate to many American military men from the 1950’s into the 1970’s.  They in turn brought Isshin-Ryu to America in the late 1950’s.  Okinawan Isshin-Ryu Karate is presently one of the largest karate styles practiced in the United States today. Shimabuku Sensei was a legend in Okinawa.  On May 30, 1975, O’Sensei, the dragon of Isshin-Ryu passed away after a stroke in Okinawa. His legacy lives on!

Isshin-Ryu no Megami or Megami for short, is the name Shimabuku gave this symbol.  The half serpent-half woman was the start of his vision.  The woman depicts softness and the dragon portrays strength.  The three stars within this artistry symbolizes Shorin-Ryu, Goju-Ryu, and it’s offspring Isshin-Ryu.  It also stands for Shorin-Ryu, Goju-Ryu, and Ryukyu Kobudo, which is again the essence of Isshin-Ryu Karate.  The stars can also signify Masters Kyan, Miyagi, and Motobu, that Shimabuku followed.  Sensei A.J. Advincula is also credited for the design of this symbol.


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