Isshinryu Karate


    Isshinryu Karate was founded in 1954.  Its founder was Chief Grand Master Tatsuo Shimabuku.  Master Shimabuku was born with the name Shinkichi Shimabuku in Chun Village, Okinawa on September 19, 1906.  He began his Karate training with his uncle, Urshu Matsumura (Kamasu Chan).  His uncle was a Shuri-te instructor.  In 1929, Shimabuku began training with Chotoku Kyan.  Kyan was a legendary master of Shuri-te (Shorin-Ryu).  He trained with master Kyan until Kyan's death in 1945.

    During the early 1930's, he began training with Choki Motobu, another Shorin-Ryu instructor, while still training with master Kyan.  Motobu was known for his advanced fighting ability, and as his student Shimabuku advanced his skill as a fighter.

    Master Shimabuku always wanted to learn Naha-te (Goju-Ryu).  He began training under Master Chojun Miyagi, the founder of Goju-Ryu, after the death of Master Kyan in 1945.  He went on to become Master Miyagi's best student.  He studied with Master Miyagi until Miyagi passed away in 1953.

    After mastering both Shorin-Ryu and Goju-Ryu, Master Shimabuku sought out the best weapons (Kabudo) instructor on Okinawa, Master Moden Yabiku.  He went on to train with Yabiku's best student, Shinken Taira.

    In the early 1950's, Shimabuku began experimenting with combining the best of Shorin-Ryu, Goju-Ryu,

and Kabudo.  One night in 1954, Master Shimabuku had a dream of a beautiful woman of the sea.  She was half woman, half serpent, and her name was "Mizu-Gami."  On January 15, 1954, Master Shimabuku announced the official formation of his new style, and Isshin-Ryu Karate was born. The Mizu-Gami  became the official patch of Isshinryu Karate.

    "In 1955, the 3rd U.S. Marine Division was stationed on Okinawa, and the Marine Corps chose Master Shimabuku to provide instruction to marines on the island.  As a result of this instruction, Isshin-Ryu was to be spread throughout the United States by marines who returned home." 

                            -Isshin-Ryu Karate The Ultimate Fighting Art: Long & McGee-

  "The first two Marines to bring Isshin-Ryu Karate to the United States were Don Nagle and Harold Long.  Don Nagle opened his first dojo at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, while Harold Long's first dojo was in his back yard at Twenty-Nine Palms, California.  Upon their discharge from service, Nagle moved to Jersey City, New Jersey, and opened the first Isshin-Ryu Dojo in the Northeast.  Long returned home to Knoxville, Tennessee, and opened his first dojo at the Marine Reserve Training Center.

    Returning later were Harold Mitchum, Steve Armstrong, Clarence Ewing, Jim Advincula, Bill Gardo, and Harry Smith as well as others.  All these men had an impact on the spread of Isshin-Ryu Karate in North America."

                            -Isshin-Ryu Karate The Ultimate Fighting Art: Long & McGee-

Chief Grand Master

Tatsuo Shimabuku

Founder of Isshinryu Karate

A Brief History of Isshinryu Karate, as I Understand It:

The following history has information obtained from different sources. 

This is a partial list of some of these sources:

-The Secrets of Isshinryu Karate by: Joel Chandler

-Isshin-Ryu Karate The Ultimate Fighting Art by: Harold Long & Tim McGhee

-History and Philosophy of Isshinryu Karate-Do by: Michael J. Dobyns

-Oral tradition past down to me by the ones who came before me also shaped the history written below.

Please remember, I don't claim to be the Ultimate Authority on Isshinryu Karate history.

One thing I have learned from my years of Karate training is that no one is perfect,

everyone makes mistakes.  If I have made mistakes please forgive me and feel free to contact me and I will attempt to remedy any mistakes I have made.

Thank you for your interest in Isshinryu Karate and in my website.