Traditional Okinawan Karate-Do and Kobudo
Origin of Shorin-Ryu Karate Do
The origin and development of Karate is intimately tied to the history of the Okinawan people, who brought it to its present form and preserved its tradition for centuries. A major root of the discipline, however, can be traced to ancient China, where in about the year 483 A.D., Daruma Tashi developed an exercise form for the use of Buddhist monks. The exercise form was first taught by Tashi at Shorin Temple. The exercise discipline concentrated upon the art of learning to control and master the body, mind, and soul.
During the 17th century, Okinawa was overrun and occupied by the Japanese. The Okinawan warriors were disarmed and forbidden to own, use or carry any weapons. Faced with the necessity of defending themselves and their people from their oppressors, and having only their bare hands with which to fight, the warriors turned to the ancient forms of Karate. In those desperate years they developed and refined the techniques of Karate until their bodies and hands were as deadly and as effective in their defense as the weapons that were taken from them. Karate was taught in secret and was only known to the King and his most Loyal subjects. Where and how it was taught was a mystery to most Okinawans.
In the more settled times that followed, Karate although remaining a secret and known only through word of mouth on Okinawa, became a course of exercise valued for its health and character building. In the late 18th century, Matsumura Sobi collected and studied the various forms of Karate that had grown up around Shiri, systematized them and designed an overall method for the training of Karate. His system was called Shuri Te.
Itosu passed his legacy to Choshin Chibana who was the first to call Shuri Te "Shorin-Ryu Karate-do." Shorin-Ryu Karate-do is based on the principles of physic and the laws and dynamics of physiology. Chibana spent a lifetime refining Shorin-Ryu to its present form.
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