Our Master

Kenwa Mabuni (1889-1952)

He was born in Shuri, the 17th generation descendant of one of the bravest warriors of Okinawan nobility.His family members had served Okinawan lords for hundreds of years. As a child, Kenwa Mabuni wanted so very much to be like his great ancestors, but unfortunately he was very sickly and weak. In 1902, at the age of 13, Kenwa Mabuni was taken to the most famous martial artist in Shuri, master Ankoh Itosu, to improve his health. From that day forward, he never missed a day of training until he was approximately 20 years old. It is said that Itosu developed a strong bond with young Mabuni, passing on his knowledge of 23 kata. Kenwa Mabuni During his teens, in 1909, encouraged by master Itosu to further expand his knowledge of the martial arts, Mabuni also studied under Kanryo Higa(ashi)onna (1853-1915), a teacher of Naha-Te, a particularly chinese influenced karate style, until the great master’s death in 1915. Mabuni was introduced to Higaonna, by his friend, Chojun Miyagi (who went on to become the founder of Goju-Ryu karate). Interestingly, during the 1920s, Mabuni participated with Miyagi in a Karate Club at a dojo known as Ryukyu Tode Kenkyu Kai, the “Okinawan Karate Research Club”. This dojo saw many masters from a diversity of backgrounds train together, and whilst there Mabuni learned some Fukien Province White Crane Kung Fu, from the legendary Woo Yin Gue, a Chinese tea merchant living on Okinawa. These teachings have survived through the kata Rohai (Crane on the Rock) and Nipaipo. During this period, Kenwa Mabuni was also receiving instruction from master Seisho Arakaki of Naha, who taught a similar style to master Higashionna. He was also being influenced by a Fukien, ‘White-Crane-Fist’ master named WU XIAN GUI (pronounced GO KENKI in Japanese) at the time.

As a result of Itosu’s death in 1915,Mabuni became the second master of the Itosu school, building a shrine in front of his master’s grave where he lived nearby for a year, following the daily ritual of refining his kata performance and to pay respect and honour to the great master.
Completing the required military service after graduating from high school, Kenwa Mabuni eventually became a policeman. By 1918, Kenwa Mabuni had become an important figure in the martial arts community and was respected by his peers. Around this time, he established a research and study group at his home. Various participating members included Chosin Chibana, Gichin Funakoshi, Anbun Tokuda, Shinpan Shiroma, Choju Oshiro, Seicho Tokumura and Hoko Ishikawa.

During 1918, Kenwa Mabuni’s first son, Ken-ei, was born. Mabuni trained in Kobudo, with the most important master on the isle, Sensei Sakumoto, and then with Master Aragaki expertise in the use of the Bo and the Sai; accomplishing mastery in the usage of the Bo, Sai, Tonfa, Kama y Nunchaku.

He published lots of articles in specialized magazines and some technical books: “Seipai No Kenkyu”, “Yosi-Goshin-Jutsu”, and “Kobu-Juzai-Goshin-Jutsu Karate Kempo”.

In 1924, Kenwa Mabuni and Chojun Miyagi were asked to take charge of the training sessions, even though they were still fairly young. During these sessions, actual kumite was stressed to increase their physical techniques and strength. It is said that, when a student wanted to learn more from a master, the master would simply invite the student to attack him freely, all the while, blocking and shifting his body while constantly asking the student, ” now, do you understand?” and encouraging them to attack, again and again.

Kenwa Mabuni originally named his system ‘HANKO RYU’ (Half-Hard style), but later changed it to reflect the deep respect he felt towards his two great masters, ITOSU and HIGAONNA. Using the alternative reading of the Kanji for ‘ITO’ from master ITOSU’s name, (which can also be read as ‘SHI’), and ‘HIGA’ from master HIGAONNA’s name, (which can be interpreted as ‘TO’ ), Kenwa Mabuni created the new name, ‘SHITO’ for his style of Karatedo. It was during this time 1927-1928, that Kenwa Mabuni moved to Osaka permanently, to teach Shito Ryu Karatedo Mabuni Scoll Around 1929, master Moden Yabiku was also teaching Karatedo and Kobudo in Japan. His most famous student was master Shinken Taira (1897-1970) who also trained under master Mabuni during the late 1930’s. Ryusho Sakagami (1915-1993), founder of the NIHON KARATEDO ITOSU KAI, began training under master Moden Yabiku in 1934, and then in 1937, became a student of master Kenwa Mabuni. Sakagami sensei also received a teaching certificate in Kobudo, from master Shinken Taira. Over the next few years, master Mabuni dedicated himself to the further development and promotion of SHITO RYU karatedo in the Osaka area. He was faced with an extremely difficult task due to the unwillingness of the population to accept him or this strange looking system of self-defence, resembling an ancient ‘Okinawan-Fist Dance’.

In order to bring Shito Ryu to the general public’s attention, master Mabuni would perform many demonstrations where he would break bricks and boards to show the power of karate. Continually trying to gain acceptance of his art, master Kenwa Mabuni would give free instruction at various police stations across western Japan. Eventually his enormous efforts began to finally payoff with the establishment of the DAI NIHON KARATEDO KAI, in 1931. This original group later was the forerunner of the present World Shito-Kai Karatedo Federation.

Shito Ryu Karatedo became more accepted after this time, and master Mabuni began to teach many students at his home and at many Universities that were forming clubs. Among his many students included were his two sons, Kenei Mabuni and Kenzo Mabuni, Chojiro Tani (founder of Tani-ha SHUKOKAI, “The way for All”), Ryusho Sakagami, Yoshiaki Tsujikawa, Ken Sakio, Jun-ichi Inoue, Manzo Iwata, Toshiyuki Imanishi, Kazuo Kokuba, Tokio Hisatomi and Ryusei Tomoyori. During the Pacific War, many promising young karateka from the four major styles lost their lives, including from the Shito Ryu group. Master Mabuni barely survived the post-war turmoil, contending with great poverty but, he persevered and continued to devote himself unselfishly to the further development of Shito Ryu Karatedo. After the war, many of the previously established Shito Ryu Karate clubs in the universities and colleges began to reopen. By this time, the future of Shito Ryu Karatedo was assured by many of his surviving students the majority of which could be found on the East coast of Japan in the Kanto district.

Takeshi Masuyama ( 8th Dan Black Belt)

Sensei Takeshi started karate in April 1965. He trained under Sensei Tani. He received Shodan (1st Dan) 21 April 1973. He is currently a 8th Dan (Hachidan) and hold the degree of Hanshi, being the president of Skukokai World Karate Union, with headquarters in Kobe, Japan.

After the death of Tani Sensei, his son Mr. Hiroshi Tani, and many Senseis and instructors from other countries announced themselves as top of their respective Shukokai groups.

All the Shukokai Headquarters Instructors got together and founded the Shukokai World Karate Union (Ryushin-Kan), with Takeshi Masuyama as Kancho, he was chosen for this position because he was Tani sensei’s personal assistant and supervisor since 1975. S.W.K.U. Ryushin-Kan is a group of Instructors from former S.W.K.U. Headquarters and our intention is the same as original S.W.K.U.

When Kimura-sensei, from United States passed away, his ash was divided half for America and half for Japan. The relationship between Kimura-sensei and Takeshi-sensei was like brothers. Takeshi was privileged to be appointed as the chief of the funeral committee. During Kimura – sensei’s lifetime, he often talked about the organization of Kimura karate with Masuyama and he decided and confirmed that Takeshi Masuyama would be a successor and counsellor to the Kimura Karate. He had also decided Alex, Orlando and Armstrong would be messengers for Japan. He took this decision back to America but unfortunately there were ambitious people who did not want to accept Kimura-sensei’s decision. They forced Kimura Karate to collapse.When Shihan Mabuni died, in May of 1957, that time his age was 64yers.

Shihan J.S. KALAIMANI (7th Dan Black Belt)

Sensei Kalaimani started karate in 1970 in South India, started trained under Dai-Sensei Moses Thilak and later trained under Soke Takeshi Masuyama. He is currently a 7th Dan Black belt and hold the degree of “Shihan” being the president and Chief Technical Director of Ryushin-Kan Shito-Ryu karate School of India.

He participated in India nationals and various internationals karate championship. He won the national open champion titles and be a part of the India national karate team many times.

He started spreading shito-ryu karate in various states of India especially in Chennai Tamil Nadu, the home town. He has over 2000 students all over india and produced many national and international champions due to dedication and hard work in karate-do. He is also an expert in weapons like nunchaku, sai, tonfa, bo etc and holds a doctorate in acupuncture. He loves and enjoys teaching the kids.

Sensei Kalaimani’s life time ambition is get “DRONACHARYA” award which is the prestigious award given by Goverment of India. Dronacharya Award, honours eminent Coaches who have successfully trained sportspersons or teams and enabled them to achieve outstanding results in international competitions.



5TH DAN BLACK BELT (Shiseikan Karate International)

It is very unfortunate to inform you that, well known Shiseikan Karate International Instructor (5th Dan black belt) He leaves behind his parent’s wife and two young sons. Born to Sri K. Ibotombi Singh and Smt. Sangai Devi of Tera Khuraijiam Leirak Imphal, Manipur in February 1959. Late Nongthang was the founder of Shiseikan Karate-Do in India. As a leading exponent of Sheseikan Karate, he opened Karate Branches in 14 states of India. Late Shihan Nongthang completed his graduation in 1977 from Imphal College. He completed training in all Martial Arts of Manipur like Thang-Ta, Mukna, Cheibi, Sharit-Sharak and Khong Kangjei etc. Late Shihan than shiftged his interest to other forms of Martial Arts of South East Asia and learn Karate Budokan, Shotokan, Aikido, Judo and specialized in Shiseikan Karate Do.

He larnt Shiseikan Karate in Margaret River Karate Club, Perth, Western Australia under Anthony George Jackson and was awarded Black Belt 5th Dan, Then he received advance training in Shiseikan Karate under Shigeki Izumi, 10th Dan of Yonago City, Japan and awarded the title of “SHIHAN” for his swift and lighting movement in Karate. Late Shihan Nongthang learnt the SAMURAI Sword fight from George Chang of Singapore. He also trained traditional Thai Weapons KRABI-KRABONG under the venevable and elderly grandmaster of Thailand Samai Masamana.

He also recently opened a private Museum of his own “Nongthang Museum” in which being displayed various sword and other fighting weapons from his visit to numerous countries of South East Asia. Presently he was taking up a research Project with a fellowship from Manipur state Kala Academy under the guidance of Pandit N. Khelchandra. He has two books to his credit. The books are “Sha Langi Maheida Thnag-Ta” and “Manipuri Hueigen Lalong”. Late p was the Director cum Instructor of our organization. It is mentioned that he was awarded the honor of COB (Commander of the baner) and the title of SIR from the Ancient Martial Arts Society, perth, Western Australia for his contribution and dedication to Karate-Do. Before his death Nongthang was widely involved with various National & International sports organization and N.G.O.s. In his death not only Manipur but also the country has lost a great son and Martial Arts firm lovers lost a grand master. Specially we, the Shiseikan Karate Organization of India have lost our great father, his great work in Karate field will make him immortal and we on our part can only give a humble assurance of our creed, which regards work as worship to fulfill his long cherished dream. And we wishing for his heavenly solace and peace of his soul, we will remain ever grateful to the departed MASTER.