The Isshinryu Connection

  Appendix "I"
The Isshinryu Connection*


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*For more insight into this related style, please refer to Isshinryu Karate, By Steve Armstrong as told to Jay Alevizon, Copyright DLAW Publication 1984, Tacoma, WA.

The excerpts below are based upon the comments and recollections of Steve Armstrong, both as I remember from personal acquaintance, and as recorded in Isshinryu Karate (referenced above).  It must be emphasized  Master Armstrong was not a historical researcher, nor was he attempting to create any impression he knew the "whole story" regarding the evolution of Okinawan Karate, or the genesis of Isshinryu.  Mister Armstrong stands unique as a Karate Pioneer of towering stature.  He brought back the "goods", nourished them, propagated them, and passed them on, in tact, to thousands of karateka.  What he knew regarding the history, or evolution of Isshinryu was primarily anecdotal, or acquired in spite of a significant language barrier.  Modern scholars have done painstaking research into the history and evolution of Okinawan Karate, to include Isshinryu, and we encourage your exploration in that direction (though it is not necessary for learning the physical art).  An excellent starting point would be the archives of Mississippi Isshin-Ryu Karate.

     

    The Creed of Isshinryu Karate

            I come to you with only Karate,
            my empty hands.
            I have no weapons.
            Should I be forced to defend myself,
            my principles, or my honor...
            Should it be a matter of life or death,
            or right or wrong...
            Then here are my weapons,
            Karate, my empty hands.


    The Code of Isshinryu Karate

      1. A person's heart is the same as heaven and earth.
      2. The blood circulating is similar to the moon and sun.
      3. The manner of drinking and spitting is either hard or soft.
      4. A person's unbalance is the same as a weight.
      5. The body should be able to change directions at any
          time.
      6. The time to strike is when the opportunity presents
          itself.
      7. The eye must see all sides.
      8. The ear must listen in all directions.


    STUDENT'S NOTATIONS:
     


    The Kata of Isshinryu

    1. SEISAN
    Shorinryu---Named after a Chinese Karate-ka, notable for his raw power.  Performance time:  60-65 seconds.

    2. SEIUCHIN
    Goju-ryu---Chojun Miyagi taught this Kata to Tatsuo Shimabuku.  Performance time: 55-60 seconds.

    3. NAIHANCHI
    Kung Fu and Shorinryu---A Kata of lateral movement, designed for someone whose back is against a wall.  Performance time: 35-40 seconds.

    4. WANSU
    Shorinryu---One of Isshinryu Karate's most imitated forms.  Performance time: 45-50 seconds.

    5. CHINTO
    Shorinryu---In the thirteenth century, Chinto, a Chinese sailor was   shipwrecked on the Okinawan coast.  Naked and penniless in a  foreign country, he hid in a cave, foraging for food in a neighboring  village at night.

    The villagers complained to the Okinawan King, who sent Matsumura, his best Samurai, to capture the thief. When the discovered sailor refused to surrender, the samurai tried unsuccessfully to take Chinto by force.

    Matsumura, impressed by Chinto's martial ability, returned to the king and reported that there would be no more trouble with the
    thief. Matsumura then returned to Chinto's cave, befriended him,
    and became his student.

    Chinto taught his martial system to Matsumura, including Chinto Kata.

    According to legend, Chinto's art merged with native Okinawan Te to form modern day Karate. Performance time: 55-60 seconds.

     6. KUSANKU
       Shorinryu---This Kata is a mock battle waged against eight
        imaginary opponents. Kusanku was a great Okinawan martial
        artist.  Performance time: 65-70 seconds.

     7. SUNSU
      Shimabuku---Shimabuku combined elements from seven
        Isshinryu Kata to create this new form. Performance time:
        65-70 seconds.

     8. SANCHIN
      Goju-ryu---Because of its emphasis on muscular tension and
        control of breath, students enjoy discussing their subjective
        experiences of performing Sanchin. Performance time:
        117-122 seconds.

     9. KUSANKU-SAI
      Shorinryu---Derived from Kusanku, this Kata is performed with
        two sai. Although in the film made by Sensei Shimabuku in 1966,
        three sai are used, using two sai is more practical in the dojo.
        Performance time 75-80 seconds.

   10. TOKO MENI NO KUN NO DAI
      Shimabuku's favorite Kata. It is a Bo Kata created in the 18th
        century by Toko Meni. Traditionally, the Bo was wielded on the
        left side. Shimabuku wielded the Bo on both the left and right
        side.  Performance time 70-75 seconds.

    11. SAI CHATAN-YARA NO SAI
      Shimabuku told the story of a great fight between two masters,
        Cambra Yama and Chatan-Yara. During the fight, Yara, feigning
        retreat, ran into a fort. Yama took the bait and pursued Yara.
        Yara ambushed Yama, cutting off his right arm with a sai, thus
         ending the fight. Performance time: 130-135 seconds.

   12. BO SHI SHI NO KUN NO DAI
       Created by Shi Shi No Ieketa. Master Shimabuku said that he
        once fought a fight with the "Thirteenth generation of Shi Shi
        No Ieketa."  Performance time: 110-115 seconds.

    13. URASHI BO
      In this Bo Kata, the Karate-ka often feigns attack with the front
        of the Bo, then actually attacks with a backhand strike. The
        Okinawan Master Huntagawa created Urashi Bo. 

 

 

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