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Early Karate History: Shuri-Te

Shuri-Te is the name of the particular type of Okinawan martial art that developed in the Shuri, the ancient capital of Okinawa. One of the early Okinawan masters, To-De Sakugawa (1733-1815) is credited as being one of the initial importers of Chinese martial arts to Okinawa, in particular to Shuri, where he started the development of the Shuri-Te style of Okinawan martial arts.

Sakugawa had a student named Sokon Matsumura, who in turn taught Ankoh Itosu, who was destined to become a great martial artist and teacher in the 19th century, who introduced the practice of To-De, as the Okinawan martial arts were called, to the Okinawan school system. Ankoh Itosu’s contribution to To-De was the emphasis of Kata and its practical application, called Bunkai.

Many students of Ankoh Itosu became significant figures in the early development of Karate.
Amongst Itosu’s students are Gichin Funakoshi (1867-1957), who later moved to Japan and founded Shotokan Karate, and Kenwa Mabuni (1890-1954), combined aspects of Naha-Te and Shuri-Te, also moved to Japan, and founded Shito-Ryu Karate.

51 comments about “Shuri-Te”

  1. Al said:

    I would like to know the right name for the martail arts (Karate) Japanses/American style name ? something like Shuru kon? Shuri kon ? So ru kon. can you help. Thank you

  2. Anshu said:

    Hi Could someone please tell me which style does Gi Toku Kai fall under.
    I learnt Karate in India under Gi Toku Kai style but now dont seem to find the style in the UK since I have moved here.

    Best Regards


  3. batey said:

    your information is falterd, resent archiological discoveries shows that shuri-te karate on okinawa pedates chinese martial arts by at least a thousand years okinawa is and has been the birth place of martial arts.

  4. Aaron Wilson said:

    SHuri-Te is the oldest form of Karate known. As Batey mentioned, it predates Chaun- Fa, now known as Kung Fu. People in Okinawa were using this art, prior to Chaun- Fa or Kung- Fu being brought to the Buddahist Monks of China. There are statues showing a practioner in Formal Zhezan stances, and others depicting movements from the kata Nahanchi. Look at the facts people.

  5. saibruce said:

    gi toku kai is under goju ryu

  6. kenwa said:

    gi to ku kai is astyle founded by mr thyagarajan,i dont know who is his teacher,they were following goju ryu.

  7. Subhash Nair said:

    Gi Toku Kai Karate do India headed by Sensei Karate R Tyagrajan having the style of Goju Ryu


    i em zakhum zakir husain ,secretary.kerala IKO. karate-DO Association

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