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                                                      Matsubayashi Shorin-Ryu Karate


“The dojo is the place where courage is fostered and superior human nature is bred through the ecstasy of sweating in hard work. It is the sacred place where the human spirit is polished.” -Shoshin Nagamine

Our empty hand art is based on the Matsubayashi Shorin-Ryu Karate system which was founded by Grandmaster (Osensei) Shoshin Nagamine in 1947. It is considered one of the older traditional Okinawan Karate systems with deeps root in Okinawan Shori-te and Tomari-te systems that have been passed down by Okinawa karate masters for generations.

"Matsubayashi" is the Okinawan/Japanese pronunciation of the Japanese kanji characters for "Pine Forest." "Matsu" means "pine" and "Hayashi" means "forest or woods". When the two words are put together, the "H" of Hayashi is pronounced as "B," hence Matsubayashi. "Shorin" is the Chinese pronunciation for the same kanji. The origin of this name is the Shaolin Temple in China. "Ryu" translates as style or system. Literally, it means "river," which conveys the image that an art is a living, flowing thing. 

Matsubayashi was derived by Osensei Nagamine in honor of two great Karate masters of Okinawa, Sokon Matsumura and Kosaku Matsumura. Osensei Nagamine started training karate at the age of seventeen in the year 1924. Although he had a number of teachers including Taro Shimabuku, Chojin Kuba and Kodatsu Iha, his primary teachers were Ankichi Arakaki, Chotku Kyan and Choki Motobu.  Nagamine Sensei's nickname growing up was “Gaajuu Maachuu” (sometimes Chippai Matsu), meaning "tenacious pine tree."

Grandmaster Shoshin Nagamine

Two of the basic katas taught in many of today’s karate systems, namely Fukyugata Ichi and Fukyugata Ni were developed together by Grandmaster Nagamine and the legendary founder of Goju-Ryu karate Grandmaster Chojin Miyagi. Also included in our system are the kata developed by Karate master Anko Itosu known as the “Pinan” kata as well as older kata passed down by karate masters of Okinawa for generations. The origin of these well-known older katas is only vaguely documented and many origin stories have arisen from speculation and legendary tales.

In 1997 Nagamine sensei passed away and was recognized as an “Intangible Cultural Asset holder in the Field of Okinawan Karate and Martial Arts with Weaponry by the Okinawa Prefecture”.

Eighteen (18) kata are practiced in Matsubayashi-Ryu. According to an old saying, one kata would be practiced for three years before the next would be learned. The last kata, Kusanku, is said to take at least ten years to master. Altogether, that's 61 years to master all eighteen kata! Kata are not to be changed.

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