History

Our style of Karate the Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan is one of the oldest most prestigious styles of martial arts in the world. It is important to realize that there are currently four major branches of Shorinryu Karate practiced in the world today, Kobayashi-Ryu, Shobyashi-Ryu, Matsubyashi Ryu and Matsumura Seito. In the Shorinkan we practice Kobayashi Shorin-Ryu. The Shorinkan is headed by Hanshi Shugoro Nakazato Sensei, a man who is literally considered an intangible cultural asset of Karate by the Japanese government. Our Karate rank comes directly from Okinawa Japan and is internationally recognized by Karate practitioners. This means that getting a black belt in the Shorinkan from Barnes Karate will allow a person to train and be recognized as a black belt worldwide.

Shugoro Nakazato Sensei’s patch is worn on the left chest of thousands of Shorin-Ryu practitioners world wide. The Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan has Hundreds of Karate school worldwide and hosts International camps and seminars to help spread karate throughout the world.

The patch itself is circular, just like most traditional karate patches, to represent the full circle of martial arts training from student to teacher and back to student again, everything in Karate from techniques to principles, always moves in a circle. Originally new students were given red belts not white belts and masters simply returned to the red belt representing that they had traveled full circle. The Japanese writing on the patch is called Kanji, the small writing on the bottom reads “Shorin-Ryu” which means “Small Pine Style” and the larger writing above it reads “Shorinkan” which means “Small Pine House.” Karate had its influences from Chinese Kung Fu, Japanese Jujitsu and the original Okinawa art of Te. “Shorin” in Japanese means the same thing as “Shaolin” in Chinese and therefore it is possible that Shorin-Ryu Karate may have been influenced by Shaolin Kung Fu and Feeding Crane Kung Fu. Inside the red and white Shuri gate or “Shureimon” is some smaller Kanji that read “Shu Rei No Kuni” which literally mean “Land of Propriety.” The gate on the patch represents the mane gate leading to the Shuri castle or on Okinawa. The Shureimon was a gift to Okinawa from China.

Chosin Chibana (1885 – 1969)

Choshin Chibana was born on June 5, 1885, at Tottori-cho in Shuri City, Okinawa. He began his karate training with Yasutsune “Anku” Itosu in 1900 with whom he studied until Itosu’s death. In 1920 Chibana opened his first dojo in Tottori-bori and later a second in Kumo-cho Naha where he instructed until he suspended his teaching during WWII.

After the war Chibana resumed formal teaching in Giho-cho, a section of Shuri City. During the 1950’s he maintained his dojo as well as a position as the Chief Karate Instructor for the Shuri City Police Department, and in May 1956 his accomplishments were recognized by his appointment as the first president of the Okinawa Karate-Do Association. Chibana’s reputation as a Karate master continued to spread, not only in Okinawa but also in mainland Japan. Prior to his death in Ohama Hospital on February 26, 1969 from cancer, Sensei Chibana was recognized with honors such as:

  • 1957 – Title of Hanshi (High Master) from the Dai Nippon Butokukai (The Greater Japan Martial Virtue Association)
  • 1960 – received the First Sports Award from the Okinawa Times Newspaper for his accomplishments in the study and practice of traditional Okinawan Karate-do
  • 1968 – awarded the 4th Order of the Sacred Treasure (Kunyonto) by the Emperor of Japan in recognition of his devotion to the study and practice of Okinawan Karate-do

Chibana sensei is credited with creating the three kihon kata that we practice in the Shorinkan.

Shugoro Nakazato (1920 – 2016)

Hanshi Judan Nakazato has spent most of his life in the martial arts and in 1967, after nearly twenty years of training, was awarded Ninth Dan by his eminent instructor Chibana Choshin. Upon Chibana Sensei’s death in 1969, Nakazato Sensei became the president of the Okinawa Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan Karatedo Kyokai, and was promoted to Tenth Dan in 1980.

Nakazato Sensei is one of the most influential living Karate Grand Masters in Okinawa and travels many times a year to promote the traditional Okinawa Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan Karate (Kobayashi-ryu) system. Hanshi Jundan headed the Okinawa Karate delegation and was asked to give a special performance at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. In May 1999, he led an Okinawan seminar delegation of Grand Masters to the United States promoting the first Okinawa Traditional Karatedo & Kobudo World Tournament.

Minoru Nakazato

Hanshi Ju Dan Minoru Nakazato, 10th Dan Black Belt is the chairman of the Okinawa Karate-Do Shorin-Ryu Shorin Kan Association and also the Instructor in the International Okinawa Kobudo Federation.

He is the son of our founder Hanshi Judan Shugoro Nakazato, a living legend in the field of martial arts