shorin ryu

The Shorin-ryu style is based on both direct straight lines and circular lines of defense and offense. It places great emphasis on strong, correct blocking and body movement, coupled with light, quick movements into and out of an opponent's defensive zone. Focus is also a stylistic difference between Shorin-ryu and other systems. Shorin-ryu teaches a total of 24 katas (forms of stylized movements which resemble a powerful, violent ballet).

Essentially, Shorin-ryu karate is self defense-oriented with its main emphasis on an immediate and totally effective counterattack. This simply means that instead of teaching fancy combinations, it teaches solid basics, with the striking force being so great that it drops an opponent in his tracks without need for intricate follow-ups.

The Shorin-ryu karate insignia was designed by Grandmaster Eizo Shimabukuro in 1956. The elements of the insignia are:


An Asian flower favored by samurai warriors, who regarded it as symbolic of the code of bushido. The word bushido means "the way of the martial arts warrior" It also is understood to mean "the way of death". The warrior's attitude is "I have no hesitation to go into combat to the death and therefore I have no fear of my opponent." This means "death before dishonor." Like the flower, the insignia symbolizes honor, loyalty, civic responsibility, respect for self and others, courtesy, courage and compassion


"Karatedo" translates as "the way (do) of the empty (kara) hand (te)." The way encompasses the bushido code and principles.


The three tears are a symbol of "death before dishonor." The tears represent three men-a 6th century Okinawan and two samurai. The Okinawan was being restrained by the samurai, who were ordered by the Okinawan king to throw him into a vat of boiling oil while he watched. To show his indifference to death and his disdain for the king, the Okinawan grabbed the two guards and dove headfirst with them into the vat. The story is so well-known in Okinawa and the action is so highly regarded, that the three tears symbol is incorporated into the Okinawan flag.


Shorin-ryu is the Japanese equivalent of the Chinese sil lim lao ("Sholin Temple method"). Shorin-ryu karate is the first of the two original styles of karate in Okinawa, from which all other karate styles are derived. The predecessor of Shorin-ryu was Shuri-te ("Shuri hand"), a style of unarmed combat developed in the city of Shuri, Okinawa. Shuri-te became systematized as Shorin-ryu.


The Shuri gate represents respect for authority and for one's own potential to become an authority in the sense of attaining wisdom through self-mastery and attaining expertise through dedication to the martial arts tradition and ideals. The model for this gate is the entrance to the Shuri Castle in Shuri, Okinawa. That gate is called Shuri no mon, "the gate of courtesy"


The kanji (characters) on each side of the insignia spell "Eizo Shimabukuro" in Japanese. (Eizo is pronounced "Yea-zo".)