The origins of Isshin-ryu karate-do start with Ryuzu Kannon
the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. As we all know, Shimabuku Tatsuo
Sensei in 1955 had a vision of a Goddess riding a Dragon. The
Goddess told Shimabuku that he had enough knowledge to incorporate
his own ideas and create his own system. The Goddess also told
him to create a image of her and according to Shinsho his father
meditated on and off for three to four months to create her
image. As we all know, Shimabuku combined the Goddess with the
Dragon she was riding into one. The “Goddess of Isshin-ryu”
often mistakenly called “Mizugami” or “Shugoshin No Sama” is
the symbol of Shimabuku’s philosophy. Shimabuku Sensei told
me that within the symbol lies all of his teachings of Shorin-ryu
and Goju-ryu along with other Gokui of Isshin-ryu. Just as Shimabuku
Tatsuo Sensei combined Kannon (Goddess of Mercy) with the Dragon
and made them one, he did the same when he created Isshin-ryu
by taking Naihanchi kata from Shorin-ryu and Sanchin Kata from
Goju-ryu to create Isshin-ryu Karate-do..
Naihanchi kata and Sanchin kata are the parents of Isshin-ryu.
Shimabuku Tatsuo Sensei stated that Naihanchi kata which came
from Shorin-ryu was the mother while Sanchin kata which came
from Goju-ryu was the father of Isshin-ryu karate-do. As often
stated it is important to understand the parents Naihanchi and
Sanchin kata to understand the offspring Isshin-ryu.
Recently I have been asking individuals to perform doing
Naihanchi and Sanchin kata together. Since Naihanchi and Sanchin
kata are foundation of Isshin-ryu I think it would be good to
talk about this subject to get a better understanding of the
philosophy of what Shimabuku Tatsuo Sensei was doing when he
made our system.
The study of Naihanchi and Sanchin kata is perhaps the
best method of learning about concepts of Shimabuku Tatsuo’s
philosophy. I believe this is where one can find the "real"
or "true" essence of the art of Isshin-ryu Karate-do.
Kata is where we practice the physical movements but let
us talk and discuss your thoughts on why and what you know or
think about why Shimabuku Sensei used these two kata as the
basics of our system when he created it.
Shorin-ryu Naihanchi Mother (---) Yin
Goju-ryu Sanchin Father ( | ) Yang
Isshin-ryu Karate-do Offspring (+) Equilibrium / Balance