From Japanese 空 手, Karate (empty hand) is a traditional martial art that has its origins during the XVI century in the native martial arts techniques of the Ryū Kyū islands (today Okinawa) belonging to Japan. It’s characterised by the use of the fists “Te / To-de / Tuidi 唐手”, in addition to techniques from the native fighting or “Tegumi 手組”, being also influenced by some styles of Chinese martial arts.
According to Okinawan culture, Karate builds a strong spirit of strength that never gives up under any circumstances. It is also a martial art that builds a person who loves peace and respects courtesy. According to one theory, it is said that Karate was born to protect himself from predators by using his body without weapons.
Currently, more than 40 million people practice Okinawan Karate and Kobudo in more than 140 countries. Okinawan art is widely recognized for its effectiveness in self-defense and in cultivating spiritual virtues strictly based on the ancient samurai code, the Bushidō 武士道 code.
ISSHIN RYU 一心流 corresponds to the system of Okinawan roots founded by Tatsuo Shimabuku 島袋龍夫(1908-1975) in January of 1956; considering this date as the official time when Tatsuo Sensei named his system of Karate and Kobudo by the name of Isshin Ryu. It is extremely important to point out that only after long years of training and personal research with the renowned Masters of the time, Tatsuo Sensei came to consolidate the style we know today.
Isshin Ryu has strong influences from the most significant and important Ryū Ha in Okinawa such as the Goju Ryu 剛柔流 that Master Shimabuku practised under the guidance of Miyagi Chōjun 宮城 長順 sensei (1888 –1953); of Shorin Ryu 少林流 practised with Kyan Chotoku 喜 屋 武 朝 徳 sensei (1970 – 1945) and commendable practice with Motobu “Saru” Chōki 本部 朝基 (1870–1944) sensei. In addition, Master Shimabuku gave space to complement his martial art by learning Kobudo 古武道 with the important referent and legendary Shinken Taira 平 信賢 (1897–1970) sensei and with Moden Yabiku sensei (1880–1941).
Finally, the technical knowledge of Isshin Ryu in the present time is the operation of the strong principles of Naha te (Miyagi Chogun), Shuri Te (Kyan Chotoku), Tomari Te (Motobu Choki) and of Kobujutsu of Shinken Taira Sensei.
After Master Shimabuku’s death (May 1975) the future of Isshin Ryu had a geographical expansion throughout the world, particularly in the United States due to the to the strong development that took place within the USA army bases in Okinawa, through the military stationed in them, who trained systematically under the instruction of Shimabuku sensei for many years.
Currently in Okinawa there are three major Isshinryu lines. One of them is led by the son of Tatsuo Shimabuku sensei, Shimabuku Kishiro sensei, who founded the IWKA (Isshinryu World Karate Association). The line of Uezu Angi sensei, son-in-law of Master Shimabuku, who founded the OIKKA in 1990 沖縄一心流空手古武道協会(Okinawa Isshinryu Karate & Kobudo Association).
Currently, the youngest representative who works for the Isshinryu flourish and be taught as it was done by its founder, is Uechi Tsuyoshi sensei, Okinawa Prefecture and Karate Kaikan’s representative for the Ryū Ha. It is Tsuyoshi Uechi sensei who founds the IOTKA一心流沖縄伝統空手道協会(Isshinryu Okinawa Traditional Karate Association) which has representatives and practitioners in Europe, Oceania, the USA and South America.
Seishinkan’s contact with Isshinryu dates back to the 1989 through the pioneer of karate in Chile, Hernán Moncada sensei, who mentions to Osvaldo sensei for the first time the name of a particular style of Okinawan Karate which stands out for its vertical punches and use the muscular area to absorb the attacks of the opponent.
Later and with the passing of the years, various referents and former practitioners in the continent have developed Isshinryu under the protection of their own organisations.
THE ISSHINRYU SYLLABUS
一 心 流 空 手 基 本
- 15 Upper Body Kihon 基本 Te Nobu
- 15 Lower Body Kihon 基本 Ashi Nobu
- 8 Empty Hand Kata 空手
- 8 Kobudō Kata
- Kote Kitae 小手鍛え
- Yakusoku Kūmite 約束 組手
- Jiyu Kūmite 自由組手
ISSHINRYU KARATE KATA
一 心 流 空 手
Seisan – Seiunchin – Naihanchi – Wansū – Chintō – Kusankū – Sunsū – Sanchin
ISSHINRYU KOBUDŌ KATA
一 心 流 古 武 道
- Tokumine no Kōn 徳嶺の棍
- Urachi Bō 浦添棒 – referred as Urasoe No Kōn 浦添棒 / 浦添ぬ棍
- Shishi no Kōn 添石の棍 – sometimes referred as Sueyoshi no Kōn 添石の棍
- Chatanyara no Sai 北谷屋良ぬ釵
- Kusanku Sai – Kyan no Sai 公相君サイ
- Hamahiga no Tonfa 浜比嘉のトンファー
ISSHINRYU & THE AUTHOR
34 years of History: 1987 – 2021
Diego Rodriguez makes contact with martial arts in general and Isshinryu in particular in his early childhood, through his parents, both Physical Education teachers and former Karate practitioners with an extensive curriculum and experience.
He formally began his training during the 90’s as a complement to his school education and became, over the years, an activity that has accompanied him to this days, largely shaping his personal, academic and professional life.
In 2003 in the city of Concepcion, Chile, is granted the rank of shodan – 1st dan black belt to the author in what was a historical event for the traditional Okinawan karate development in the region, when the black belt rank test was carried out jointly by two Okinawan Karate schools: Goju Ryu Kenshinkan, with German Diaz Sensei, and Isshinryu with Osvaldo Rodriguez Sensei, both members of the commission that evaluated the black belt applicants in their respective Ryūha 流派
Between November 2013 and January 2014 the rank examination for 4th dan took place in the framework of the visit to South America of Christopher Chase sensei (Click here to review the article), current president of the organization of Grand Master Angi Uezu, OIKKA (Okinawa Isshinryu Karate & Kobudo Association). In the occasion the author also receives his Menkyo Kaiden 免 許 皆 伝: め ん き ょ か い で ん (License of total transmission, Instructor) in Isshinryu.
Throughout his career as an Isshinryu practitioner and Okinawan Karate & Kobudo student, he has had the opportunity to take part in seminars of a wide range of Ryūha, among which are Gōju Ryu 剛柔流, Shōrin Ryu 少林流 and Ryukyu Kobudo琉球古武道 under the direction of his representatives in Chile, Europe and in Okinawa itself.
He has participated, assisted and carried out several seminars of Isshinryu, among which the visits of Cristopher Chase sensei to Chile (2006, 2009 and 2014) and London England (September 2014) stand out.
In November 2016 he attended the Isshinryu event and seminar organised by the organization Joshinkan Europa (chaired by Lars Andersen sensei) in honor of the visit of Uechi Tsuyoshi sensei to Denmark (Click here to review the article).
During August 2018 and within the framework of the “1st Okinawa Karate International Tournament“第1回沖縄空手国際大会 he participated again in a series of seminars held by Uechi Tsuyoshi sensei and Akamine Hiroshi sensei, in Okinawa Karate & Kobudo respectively.
In 2017 and as part of a personal project that takes him to travel around Europe, he contacts Lars Andersen sensei in Denmark, Isshinryu 7th dan and representative of Uechi Tsuyoshi sensei in the region, thus initiating the cooperation and learning link to through various activities such as the tour carried out in Romania during November of the same year (Click here for further details), where the author was sent to carry out a tour through different dojos, within the framework of the mega project of WUIKA that aims to “expand, develop and support the dojos and new generations of Isshinryu practitioners” in the different continents.
After the confidence delivered by Lars Andersen sensei, the author has also been responsible for carrying out in 2018 and 2019 the work of representing Isshinryu in the event called “OKINAWAN KARATE NORDIC SEMINAR, In the footsteps of Grand Master Chotoku Kyan” that takes place annually in the region of Scandinavia and that has the particularity of gather those interested in learning and dig deeper into the roots of the styles that derived from the teachings of the legendary karate master Kyan Chotoku 喜屋武 朝徳 (1870 – 1945).
Recently, the author was promoted to 5th dan, Renshi go 錬士 五 in the framework of the last tour of the Seishinkan school to Okinawa in August 2018, where in addition to participating in the world tournament, a series of trainings were conducted with Uechi Tsuyoshi sensei and Osvaldo Rodriguez sensei. This event crowns a stage full of training and personal development, in addition to the constant support to the systematic growth of Seishinkan and Isshinryu through establishing and promoting cooperation links between the Isshinryu of Europe and South America.
It then begins to new challenges and projects that seek to support the work at international level of various schools and organizations to make Isshinryu even bigger.