Shorin-Ryu Karate (Seiyo no Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai)
"Training in Shorin-Ryu Karate and Kobudo matters little if you do not have spirit. It is the martial arts spirit that sets us apart from sport, MMA, McDojos, and street fighters!"
- Unknown author
Although, most think of karate as Japanese, this is misleading. Karate originated on Okinawa when the island was independent of Japan. It later became Japanese, long after karate had been created. Even so, karate was kept secret from outsiders until 1922. Okinawa remained a separate nation until 1879. Many karate techniques, traditions, forms & weapons are indigenous to Okinawa or borrowed from China & other southeast Asias. The Japanese had little influence on karate until it branched from a combat system to competitive sport art. Still, the original Okinawa karate, such as Shorin-Ryu remain mostly sport-free. The Japanese hybrid (sport) karate has taken a separate path, even though both have similarities.
Legend states a Buddhist monk named Bodhidharma traveled from India to northern Henan province of China where he taught Zen at the Shaolin Temple around 525 AD. When Bodhidharma arrived at Shaolin-si (small forest temple), he began lectures but found most monks unfit & lazy. If you examine the kanji in our copyrighted icon on the above left side of the title at the top of this page, the 3rd and 4th kanji from the top refer to the 'small forest temple' or 'Shaolin Si' to indicate Shorin-Ryu has roots at the Shaolin Temple. Bodhidharma realized the solution was to improve physical conditioning of the monks in order to improve their minds; thus, he began teaching physical exercises with meditation known as 'Shi Po Lohan Sho' (18 hands of Lohan) reputed to be a fighting system. The blending of Lohan with Zen evolved into the first martial art. To be a martial 'art' there must be intrinsic value for the spirit, body and soul.
SEIYO NO SHORIN-RYU KARATE KOBUDO KAI
Seiyo No Shorin-ryu Karate Kobudo Kai is a hybrid-style of Shorin-ryu karate officially recognized and certified in 1999 by Juko Kai International the Zen Kokusai Soke Budo Bugei Renmei and several other martial arts institutions. It joins a limited list of other modified forms of Okinawa Shorin-ryu karate and kobudo that originated on Okinawa.
Seiyo No Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai (西洋少林流空手道) also known as Seiyo Shorin-Ryu, Seiyo No Shorin-Ryu Karate Renmei & Seiyo no Shorin-Ryu Karate Kai is a form of Shorin-Ryu Karate developed on Okinawa and later modified with new techniques and new kata by the sokeshodai of the federation - Soke Dan Hausel. Soke Hausel felt many important techniques were eliminated from Shorin-Ryu karate and thus created new kata and new training methods to assist in developing these techniques in his students karate and kobudo.
Historically, Shorin-Ryu Karate and Kobudo was developed on Okinawa prior to 1900. The actual timing of this event is not clear due to Okinawan martial artists keeping karate a secret from the invading Satsuma samurai clan from Japan in 1609 [Bishop, 1989]. The Japanese samurai would not allow Okinawans to develop martial arts and all weapons had been confiscated. By 1669, even the manufacture of ceremonial weapons were banned, thus the development of martial arts on Okinawa went underground [Draeger and Smith, 1990)].
The practice of karate was disguised by developing kata, or forms, that mimicked traditional Okinawan dances. These incorporated weaponless strikes, blocks, kicks, throws, pressure point strikes as well as the use of fishing and farming implements developed as weapons for self-defense [Nagamine, 1970]. After three centuries of secrecy, Okinawa 'Te', as it had been known, was publicly demonstrated on Okinawa by Anko Itosu (1831–1915) followed by Gichin Funakoshi (1868–1957) in 1903 [Bishop, 1989]. By this time, Okinawa 'Te', also known as Kara 'Te' had developed many styles or 'ryu'. One of the primary styles recognized on Okinawa was that of Shorin-Ryu which referred to the original development of Wushu in at the Shaolin Temple in China: 'Shorin' means 'Shaolin'.
Because there were major influences and differences even in Shorin-Ryu karate, four principal branches of Shorin-Ryu developed on Okinawa. These are known as Matsumura Seito Shorin-Ryu, Matsubayashi-Ryu, Kobayashi Shorin-Ryu and Shobayashi Shorin-Ryu. Each provided some different kata as well as emphasis of force [Bishop, 1989]. Other systems of Shorin-Ryu karate were developed including styles such as Seidokan Shorin-Ryu Seibukan Shorin-Ryu and Seiyo Shorin-Ryu.
The introduction of karate worldwide meant that individuals from outside of Okinawa began to influence the evolution of karate, such as Matsutatsu Oyama (1923–1994) from Japan. Oyama, a former student of Gichin Funakoshi, was Korean who took on a Japanese name to fit into Japanese society. He also trained in Shorin-Ryu Karate, Shotokan, and Goju-Ryu karate before forming his hybrid martial art that combined powerful strikes and blocks and simplified kata to produce Japanese karate known as Kyokushin Kaikan [Oyama, 1965]. As karate moved to North America, variations arose in styles of karate with Western Influence.
One of these styles was a modification of Shorin-ryu Karate that became known as Seiyo Shorin-ryu, a style of karate practiced by an international association of martial artists known as 'Seiyo No Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai'. This translates from Japanese as "Western Shorin-Ryu Karate and Kobudo Association". Much of this art was developed over several years while Soke Hausel was a Professor of martial arts and geoscientist at the University of Wyoming [Anonymous, 2001] and the style incorporates modified kata from previous Shorin-Ryu systems, & includes several new kata authored by grandmaster Hausel. The Hombu of the association is now located in Arizona.
What makes this style unique is acquisition of several kata (forms) as well as creation of new kata. Kata is very important in karate, and in many ways cannot be differentiated from karate. As stated by Shoshin Nagamine (1907–1997), kata and karate are the same [Nagamine, 1976]. The kata of Seiyo Shorin-Ryu emphasizes powerful strikes and blocks similar to Kyokushin Karate as well as jujutsu (throwing arts).
Because karate and kata were kept secret for a few centuries; kata, which appears to be esoteric, has hidden self-defense applications and many remain hidden and undiscovered. Seiyo Shorin-Ryu Karate is different from other styles in that it incorporates hundreds of the classical movements in kata and teaches them as individual, practical, self-defense applications known as bunkai, such that members of this style learn what every movement in kata is used for in self-defense. Seiyo Shorin-Ryu Karate also incorporates kobudo, the ancient art of weapons and has taken this one step further by including a variety of modern gardening tools into the art - such as the garden hoe, pitchfork, hammer, hose, rake and others for self-defense training. Such modern tools and ancient kobudo weapons are taught to students of the Seiyo Shorin-Ryu karate. Soke Hausel is of the opinion that many other martial arts had left the traditional path of focusing on karate kata by focusing too much on sport competition.
Shorin-Ryu karate and kobudo has origins in China. According to legend, a Buddhist monk named Bodhidharma traveled from India to the Henan province of China to teach Zen at the Shaolin Temple. The time of this event is not known, but suggested to be possibly around 525 AD [Draeger and Smith, 1980]. Development of Wushu (Kung Fu) and later Karate is thought to be related to this event. When Bodhidharma arrived at Shaolin-si (small forest temple), legend states that he began lecturing on Zen Buddhism, but found the monks to be unfit and lazy and periodically fell asleep during meditation. Thus Bodhidharma began teaching a set of physical exercises with meditation called Shi Po Lohan Sho (18 hands of Lohan) that is reputed to have been a fighting form. The blending of the Lohan techniques with Zen led to the development of the first martial art. This became a martial 'art' as it blended esoteric thought with pragmatic self-defense applications. Martial arts must provide a path to form positive, ethical and self-confident individuals in order to be a martial art, otherwise it just becomes another form of street fighting with kicking and punching.
For example, the dojo kun of Gichin Funakoshi, Kara te ni sente nashi translates as there is no first attack in karate. This is a very important precept as it hints at a moral philosophy attached to a fighting method. Funakoshi also stated, the ultimate aim in karate lies not in victory and defeat, but in the perfection of the character of its participants, a philosophy that is ignored by mixed martial arts and other forms of street fighting.
Another Okinawan martial artist, Shoshin Nagamine, wrote, "if there is no kata, there is no karate, just kicking & punching". He further wrote that if "…kata is karate, one must then embrace do mu gen proverb which asserts: There can be no end to learning". He concludes his comments with his philosophy that karate begins and ends with the study of kata [Nagamine, 2000].
Soke Hausel interprets kata to be the essence of karate. Kata is the heart and soul of traditional martial arts and serves as a living encyclopedia of philosophy, training methods and self-defense techniques. Kata were created by past masters and grandmasters who embodied their favorite self-defense applications and philosophy into forms. According to Soke Hausel, if we unlock these secrets, we have a beautiful method for building self-confidence, self-esteem as well as access to devastating self-defense applications. Hidden in kata are blocks, strikes, kicks, throws, restraints, chokes, pressure point strikes, stomps, defenses against grabs, punches, kicks, knives, guns, spears, swords, but also there is concern for the attacker. This is seen in kata where they begin and end with rei or bowing. This is to provide a kata and karate practitioner with the concept that he or she bowed to an imaginary enemy.
History Of Karate. The Chinese character used to write Tode 'Chinese Hand Art" could be also be pronounced 'kara' (meaning empty) and was replaced with 'kara te' for 'empty hand art'. This was later changed to karatedo to adopt an alternate meaning for the Chinese character for kara, 'empty'. From this point on the term karate came to mean 'empty hand'. The Do in karate-do means 'way' or 'path', and is indicative of the discipline and philosophy with moral and spiritual connotations.
The first public demonstration of karate on mainland Japan was in 1917 by Gichin Funakoshi in Kyoto. This, and subsequent demonstrations, impressed many Japanese including the Crown-Prince Hirohito, who was very enthusiastic about the Okinawan art. In 1922, Dr. Jigoro Kano, founder of the Japanese art of Judo, invited Funakoshi to demonstrate at the famous Kodokan Dojo and remain in Japan to teach karate. This sponsorship was instrumental in establishing a place for karate in Japan. As an Okinawan ‘peasant art,’ karate would have been scorned by the Japanese without the backing of so formidable a martial arts master. Today, the major branches of karate-do practiced in Japan include Goju-Ryu, Shorin-Ryu, Shotokan, Kyokushin, Kenpo, Shito-Ryu, and Wado-Ryu.
Other influential karate ka of note included Soken Matsumura (1797–1889). Almost all branches of Shorin-Ryu that exist today can be traced to him. Soken Matsumura, sometimes called "Bushi" Matsumura, studied Okinawa-te under Tode Sakugawa (1733–1815). It was in the late 1800s that the fighting art founded in the village of Shuri, known as Shuri-te, began to be called Shorin-Ryu. It is not known who began this practice, but most of the leading practitioners of the time accepted the new name which was a reference to the roots at the Shaolin temple in China. From Shorin-Ryu Karate, modifications were made by various masters and the following styles evolved: Shobayashi Shorin-Ryu (‘small forest style’), Kyobayashi Shorin-Ryu (‘young forest style’), Matsubayashi Shorin-Ryu (‘pine forest style’), and Matsumura Seito Shorin-Ryu (‘orthodox’ style).
Some of Matsumura's students changed the name of their system when they began to teach their own variety of Shorin-Ryu: Sukunaihayashi (Shorin-Ryu Seibukan), Ryukyu Hon Kenpo (Okinawan Kempo), Kodokai Shorin-ryu, Matsumura Orthodox Shorin-ryu, Seidokan, Kobayashi Shorin-ryu (Shidokan, Shorinkan, Kyudokan), Chubu Shorin-ryu, Shorin-ryu (Shaolin), Ryukyu Shorin-ryu, Matsubayashi-ryu, and Shobayashi-ryu.
Thus, Seiyo Shorin-ryu followed this same evolution. Soke Hausel adapted several arts into Seiyo Shorin-Ryu including parts of Shorin-ryu, Kyokusin Kai, Okinawan Kempo, Seidokan, Shotokan, Wado-ryu, Juko-ryu and others. All of these influence Seiyo Shorin-ryu. Seiyo Shorin-ryu includes more than 70 kata. Karate is a type of Fountain of Youth based on longevity of many of its long-term practitioners.