History of Shito-Ryu Karate-Do Genbu-Kai

The Evolution of Shito-Ryu Karate-Do

Of all of the traditional Japanese karate styles, Shito-Ryu tends to be the most obscure, remaining little understood outside of its own schools. Shito-Ryu is most often described as a combination of Shotokan, a style of linear movements, and Goju-Ryu, a style of more rounded movements. It is also generally known that its teachers utilize formal exercises (kata) from many Okinawan sources. Unfortunately, such explanations fail to adequately describe just what Shito-Ryu really is.

There were four traditional styles of karate formed in Japan: Shito-Ryu, Shotokan, Goju-Ryu, and Wado-Ryu.

  1. The name Shito-Ryu was created by combining the names of the two masters responsible for the beginnings of the Shito-Ryu style. Shito-Ryu was developed and passed on from Master Ankoh Itosu and Master Kanryo Higaonna. In Kanji, the first two letters in their names spell "Shi" and "To" which are the parts of the name Shito-Ryu. Later, Master Kenwa Mabuni combined them to create the name Shito-Ryu, and formed our style. Born in 1893, Master. Mabuni was the 17th generation son of a famous samurai named Onigusuki. In 1929, he moved to Osaka and instructed many students, among them Ruysho Sakagami, who, in turn taught new generations including Shihan Demura.
  2. The style Shotokan was founded by Gichin Funakoshi. His pen name was Shoto, so that name was used to name the style he founded.
  3. The style Goju-Ryu was founded by Chojun Miyagi. "Go" is hard and "Ju" is soft - these two ideas and words were combined to name the style he founded.
  4. The style Wado-Ryu was founded by Hironori Otsuka. "Wa" means peace and "Do" means way - "Wado" means way of peace.

The Genbu-Kai Organization

Genbu-Kai logo

In approximately 1999, Shihan Demura created Shito-Ryu Karate-Do Genbu-Kai International. The name Genbu-Kai has specific meaning. "Gen" means professional, and also original or beginning; "Bu" means martial art. "Kai" is organization.

The Genbu-Kai organization has schools teaching Shito-Ryu karate throughout the United States, and in more than 30 countries around the world, and Shihan Demura continues to lead the organization as its Chief Instructor and President. He continues to find more ways to introduce Martial Arts to more people throughout the world, with the primary goal of helping people to be better human beings and have better, more successful lives.

Shihan Demura also has done a great deal to develop Batto-Do (sword) and Kobudo (weapons) organizations, training methods, and competition opportunities within his own organization and around the world.