History and Lineage of Karate
History of Karate
Karate (Kara-Empty, Te-Hand) is a martial art that was developed and perfected on Okinawa. Karate merged Okinawa Te, a native form of fist fighting, with Kung fu. Kung fu was developed in China and is considered to be the oldest form of systematic fighting known to man. Okinawa is a small, isolated island that lies between China and Japan, and many of the young Okinawan men went to sea and worked on the trading ships that sailed back and forth between China and Japan. Due to its geographical location, it was only natural that both Japan and China influenced Okinawa's culture. Chinese sailors, merchants, scholars and even priests introduced Kung fu into Okinawa. Also, the Okinawan men that sailed back and forth into China learned much about Kung fu, as did Okinawans who went to China for work or as scholars.
Later, many Okinawan Karate Masters and students went to China strictly for the purpose of learning all they could about Kung fu. Kung fu was growing less popular because of the Chinese government's centralization programs and because of the loss of many of the masters and practitioners who lost their lives during the Boxer Rebellion. The new interest created by the Okinawans led to a revival of martial arts interest in China and the Okinawan form of fist fighting now began to exert an influence on the Chinese forms.
The Okinawans retained all that was useful and effective, but eliminated many techniques that were not practical for real combat. During a period in their history when all weapons were confiscated (first by the conquering Chinese, and then by the Japanese), Karate was developed to its highest level. Later, when Karate was no longer required for combat, it developed into a physical and mental art and later into a dynamic sport. While the Chinese exerted the greatest physical influence during the development of Karate, it was the Japanese who exerted the greatest spiritual influence. When the Okinawans introduced Karate into Japan, the Japanese people became highly interested and involved in the art. They combined their natural warrior spirit and introduced other cultural customs and courtesies to the art. The Spirit and Code of Bushi-do (the samurai warlords code) were applied to the dojos (training hall), and to the way of training in Karate. The language used in Okinawa is Japanese and thus many of the terms used in training are taken from the Japanese language.
International Seibukai Association
The International Seibukai Association is based in Okinawa, Japan with its International Headquarters in Syracuse, New York. It was founded in Okinawa City, in the middle of Okinawa Prefecture, in February 1996 by Nakasone Kinei Sensei (10th Dan). The association is dedicated to the preservation and study of traditional Okinawan Martial Arts. Nakasone Sensei said, "My purpose for teaching karate is to maintain Okinawan Goju Ryu Karate and ensure its continuous development. This is my duty and responsibility."
The Okinawan people have long accepted the responsibility for ensuring karate's survival in the modern world. And while many people would debate that karate's practicality has diminished with the development of sophisticated weaponry, any Okinawan would tell you that such a perspective misses the real lessons of karate.
Nakasone Sensei believed that "Karate is mental and spiritual training that teaches courtesy, cooperation, and patience." These are necessary for an individual to function as a productive member of society. He was born in 1936 in Goya, Okinawa City, Okinawa and died December 21, 2002. His studies began at the age of 20 under Toguchi Seikichi Sensei. Toguchi Seikichi was a senior student of Master Miyagi Chojun, the founder of Goju Ryu Karate Do.
Nakasone Kinei began his training using the uniquely Okinawan, time proven methods of basics, kata, and kumite. And, as always, Hojo Undo or supplementary exercises complemented this practice. As head of the Seibukai, Nakasone Sensei strived to ensure karate's survival by promoting these traditional methods of training for both mind and body.
All Central New York Karate Schools students are considered to be members of the International Seibukai Association. Members are required to register annually. Seibukai applications are mailed to black belt students in January. Seibukai applications are mailed to kyu students (under black belt) in April. Each student will receive Seibukai membership cards.
International Seibukai Patch - "Pure Heart Association"
Japanese Proverb: A ripened rice plant bends its head.
Meaning: The more that a Karate Ka develops their skills and spirit of Karate, the more you should know Modesty and Rei.
Miyagi Chojun is the founder of Goju-Ryu Karate-Do. Miyagi Sensei studied with the famous Naha-te Master Higashionna Kanryo and became his top disciple. He sailed to China in 1915 and continued his studies in the martial arts in Foochow, Fukien Province. Miyagi returned to Okinawa and combined the best elements of Naha-te, as taught by Higashionna, with the techniques that he learned while in China. This combined martial art system eventually became known as Goju-Ryu or hard/soft style.
In 1929, Miyagi Sensei traveled to Japan to instruct Goju Ryu Karate. In 1936, he received a medal for Excellence in the Martial Arts from the Minister of Education in Japan. In 1937, he received the Kyoshi Assistant Professor title from the Dai Nippon Butokukai (Great Japan Martial Arts Virtues Association). As a result of his efforts, karate was officially recognized as one of the martial arts of Japan with the formal establishment of the Dai Nippon Butokukai, Okinawan Branch in November 1933.
Toguchi Seikichi was born in 1917 in Naha, Okinawa. He studied with Miyagi Chojun until Miyagi's death in 1953. He served in the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II as an electrical engineer. After the war, he returned to Okinawa and assisted in rebuilding his war-torn homeland. In 1952, Miyagi Sensei named him Executive Director of the Goju Ryu Association. In 1969 Toguchi Seikichi was invited to be the Okinawan karate representative at the first world tournament held in Tokyo. He passed away on August 31,1998.
Nakasone Kinei began his karate training in 1956 under Toguchi Seikichi Sensei, a senior student of Master Miyagi. In 1961 he opened the first Shorikan Branch Dojo in Ken Village (Kancho). In 1981 he opened the Shobukan Branch Dojo in Goya Village (Kancho). During 1994 he managed the Okinawa Shobukan International Headquarters Dojo (Kancho). In 1996 Kinei Nakasone became President of the International Seibukai Association. He held a 10th Dan Black Belt until his death in December 2002.
Gushiken Shintoku is the current President of the International Okinawan Goju Ryu Karate Do Seibukai Association. After the passing of its founder, Nakasone Kinei, Gushiken Shintoku was appointed the President of the association. He follows in the traditions and teachings of both Nakasone Kinei and Shinjo Masanobu. He has said, "I am looking for the Seibukai to continue to grow and prosper and to teach true traditional Okinawan Goju Ryu Karate-do." Gushiken Sensei was Nakasone Sensei's first student and his senior Okinawan student. He will continue to promote the growth of Seibukai in Okinawa and work closely with Sensei Labbate.
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