Master Kenwa Mabuni founder of Shitoryu Karate Do
Disipline of Kenwa Mabuni expressing the joy of dedicated training:
"Forgeting mundate things when striving for the material isle padding is joy."
The founder (Ryuso) of karate-do Shito-ryu, Kenwa Mabuni was born on November 14, 1889 in Shuri, Okinawa. He belonged to the 17th generation from one of the bravest warriors of Ryukyu kingdom Kenio Oshiro. At the age of 13, Kenwa was accepted as a student at the school of the famous karate-do master Anko Itosu, who lived in Shuri. Kenwa Mabuni trained every day, even during typhoons, and within seven years he learned the art of Shuri-karate or Shuri-te.
At age 20 years old, he began to study the art of Naha-karate or Naha-te with the Grandmaster Kanryo Higaonna. Later both of these major directions of karate-do of Okinawa formed a basis for Shito-ryu karate-do style created by Kenwa Mabuni.
The beginning of the 20th century has become a period of a wide spread of Karate-Do. In 1910 it was included in the school program as a separate subject, which meant the official recognition of Karate-Do. But the Karate-Do education still lacked the system. The majority of masters paid most attention to the physical training of body, wrists, elbows and fingers, using Makiwara and sandbags. There was no standard karate-do uniform, as it exists now.
During these years Kenwa Mabuni began his teaching activity. Together with his master, Mabuni created school of Karate-Do for the study of this martial art. On February 13, 1918 his senior son Kenei was born. The same year Kenwa Mabuni started to popularise Karate-Do and many well-known masters helped him. He organized meetings in his house which were attended by Gichin Funakoshi, Choju Oshiro, Choshin Chibana, ?nbun Tokuda, Shimpan Shiroma, Seicho Tokuumura and Hoko Ishikawa. Besides, in 1918 he had the honor to demonstrate Karate-Do at the Okinawa Middle School in the presence of Prince Kuni and Prince Kacho.
In 1925 Kenwa Mabuni, with other masters organized "Okinawan Karate-Do Club", which brought to life his old dream of establishing a permanent training dojo. Many famous Karate-Do leaders like Juhatsu Kyoda, Chojun Miyagi, Choyu Motobu, Chomo Hanashiro, Choju Oshiro, Choshin Chibana, Wu Xian Gui(Go Kenki) - the master of Chinese-ken trained in this first dojo. Kenwa Mabuni and Chojun Miyagi became the permanent instructors of the club as the youngest members.
As Karate-Do was an original Okinawan Art, Kenwa Mabuni faced a wrong perception of Karate-Do when he moved in Osaka. There were no public training dojo and Kenwa tried to popularize Karate-Do in police departments and Buddhist temples. Mass audience had some difficulty accepting Karate-Do, especially Katas and frequently called it "fists dance". Kenwa Mabuni worked days and nights, trying to invent ways of popularizing Karate-Do. He even practiced Tame shivari - the breaking of bricks and boards, showing public the force of the new martial art. Karate-Do was sometimes used during usual fights, which contradicted to its ideology and reputation.
The Shito-ryu Karate-Do, created by Kenwa Mabuni, combined the features of Shuri karate of Master Itosu and Naha karate of Master Higaonna. The name Shito-ryu is formed from the first hieroglyphs of names of these Masters ("Ito" - old Chinese hieroglyph "Shi", "Higa" - old Chinese hieroglyph To). While teaching his students and explaining the basic differences between schools Itosu and Higaonna, Kenwa Mabuni paid the most attention to Katas. He believed that Katas, which combine both attack and defense techniques, are the most important part of karate-Do, and that it is necessary to understand the meaning of each movement in the Kata and to perform the Kata correctly. Kenwa Mabuni was the first to introduce the concept of Bunkai kumite and Hokei Kumite, which demonstrated the purpose and showed the correct use for each Kata The final result of proper Kata and Kumite training is the ability to apply karate-do techniques in free Kumite. Practice of Kata also helps to transmit the knowledge encoded in Kata to the subsequent generation. Karate-Do Shito-ryu, unlike other karate-do styles, has much more Katas.
According to Kenwa Mabuni the student, ignoring Kata and practicing only Kumite, will never progress in Karate-Do and will never understand its meaning.