MABUNI KENWA ( 1889- 1952 )
Mabuni Kenwa was one of the most gifted prodigies of Ryukyu Kempo Toudi- jutsu in Okinawa.Mabuni Kenwa was born and raised in Okinawa old castle district of Shuri.
It was during the Itosu-Hagashionna generation of karate-do history that a young Kenwa Mabuni first began learning the main stream traditions of Ryukyu kempo Toudi-jutsu.
It was not until late 1926 that mainstream self defence disciplines practiced in Okinawa were assigned such names as Shuri-te,Naha-te , and Tomari-te.
Mabuni Kenwa first started learning Toudi-jutsu directly under master Itosu Anko ( 1832- 1915 ) studying at the old masters home in Shuri and later went on to learn from Hanashiro Chomo ( 1869- 1945 ) while a student at Okinawas Prefectural First Middle School.
Later Mabuni Kenwa trained directly under Higashionna Kanryo the prominent master from Naha in 1910.Mabuni was only one of three men who had ever enjoyed the privilege of studying directly under two of karate-do most important figureheads of that era,Toyama Kanken ( 1888- 1966 ) and Gusukuma Shimpan ( 1890- 1954 ) were the other two.
Mabuni Kenwa established clubs within Osaka west ward of Nari and several Universities where he built up a considerable following .Even to this day Osaka is Japans stronghold of Shito-ryu
In 1934 Mabuni decided to designate his interpetation of Toudi-jutsu as Shito-ryu naming it after his two principle teachers Itosu and Higashionna in 1939 Master Mabuni officially registered the name Shito-ryu with the Dai Nippon Butoku-kai.
Although rarely mentioned Mabuni was highly skilled in Kobudo the ( old martial ways ) Mabuni specialised in both sai-jutsu and bo-jutsu,Mabuni received most of his kobudo instruction from Yabiku Moden in addition to his training with Aragaki two other important kobudo experts with whom Mabuni came into contact were Sueyoshi Jino ( 1846- 1920 ) and Tawada Shimbuko ( 1851- 1920 ) .
Sought after not only for his knowledge in Toudi-jutsu Mabuni Kenwa was often petitioned to teach kobudo .One of Funakoshi Gichins most senior students Taira Shinken ( 1897- 1970 ) benefited most from Mabuni Teachings .Master Mabuni taught Taira Shinken for six years
Another example of Mabunis genius can be observed by way of his five principles of blocking
1) Rakka ( dropping flower ) intercepting an attack by dropping down onto it with such force that if it was a tree being struck all the leaves of flowers would fall from its branches
2) Ryu-shui ( running water ) the ability to respond to changing conditions with circular movement in the same that flowing water naturally conforms to its path
3) Kusshin ( up and down ) using vertical movement in order to subjugate an adversary
4 ) Teni ( changing position ) three principles initiative, combative engagement distance( mai-ai ) and the space between one-self and an opponent necessary for subjugation by shifting and pivoting ( tai- sabaki)
5) Hangeki ( countering ) the principles of brief but intelligent responses also encompassesthe capacity to overcome an adversary with or without physical confrontation.
For me these principles are the cornerstone of all karate but all five must be implemented together for to achieve its goal in all aspects of karate.
Mabuni Kenwa maintained that karate-do was never intended to be used within an arena against other trained athletes .He described Kumite as a completely detached entity that had surfaced when Karate -do became a cultural recreation influenced not only by Kendo and Judo but by the younger generation within the highly competitive university karate clubs.Mabuni had never liked competitive fighting saying that it always seemed to bring out the worst in human behaviour but that it did have some good points.
Mabuni felt that the ultimate aim of the fighting traditions was to go recognise and overcome the real enemy ( the enemy within ) to go beyond the impulse of fighting with others, to transcend ego-related distractions and to bring man back into harmony with nature through austerity, philosophical study and protracted introspection.
Master Mabuni said there are no styles of karate -do just varying interpretations of its principles. The do of karate -do merely describes the spiritual path upon which followers of karate-do travel en route to the world within to the inner discovery.
A staunch advocate of the moral values established to govern the behaviour of karate-do practitioners Mabuni concluded that understanding the deepest meaning of karate-do first meant transcending ego-related distractions and finding inner peace.
Mabuni Kenwa principle teachers
Itosu Anko ( 1897-1915 ) Higashionna Kanryo (1853-1917 ) Hanashiro Chomi ( 1869-1945 ) Wu Xiangui : Go Kenki : ( 1886-1940 ) Aragaki Seisho Tsuji Pechin ( 1840-1920 ) Sueyoshi Jino ( 1846-1920 ) Tawada Shimbuku ( 1851- 1920 )Yabiku Moden ( 1882- 1945 )
Mabuni Kenwa principle student
Taira Shinken ( 1897-1970 ) Ryukyu kobudo Iwat Manzo (1924-1992 ) Shiokai
Mabuni Kenei ( 1918- ) Shito-ryu Mabuni Kenzo ( 1927- ) Shiro-ryu
Konishi Yasuhiro ( 1893- 1983 ) Shindo Jinen-ryu Seishikai
Sakagami Ryusho (1915- 1993 ) Itosukai Kokuba Kosei ( 1901- 1958 ) Motobu-ha
Tani Chojioh ( 1921- 1999 ) Taniha Shukokai Uechi Kanei ( 1904- 1993 ) Shito-ryu kempo
Sawayama Masaru ( 1906- 1977 ) Nihin Kempo Hayashi Teruo ( 1924 – )
Seiki Hiroshi Shudikai Hayashi-ha Fujitani Masatoshi Meibuksi
Fuji Kozo Shingikai Abe Iwao Doshikai
Takayama Teruo Kenseikai Tomoyori Ryusei Kenyukai
Kimura Kempe Nambukai Watnabe Masaru Seikikai