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OKINAWA KARATE KOBUDO
KOKUSAI TOMO NO KAI
Okinawa Karate Kobudo International
Once we meet and talk, we
are brothers and sisters.
Kensho Tokumura "No sweat, can do easy"
written by A.J. Advincula 1999
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It has now been one year when many of the members
of this group attended the 25th Memorial to Tatsuo
Shimabuku Sensei. It was billed as a Memorial to
Tatsuo and also a Tomonokai gathering. Iha Kotaro
of Ryukonkai Ryukyu Kobudo was a guest and held
a kobudo seminar. The seminar was held in my back
yard dojo, and at Camp Pendleton California.
Shimabuku Tatsuo Sensei taught Marines so it was very appropriate
to conduct and honor him on a Marine Corps
Base. At the seminar Iha Kotaro sensei taught not
only Ryukyu Kobudo, but Naihanchi shodan kata with
bunkai. This also was very appropriate to have taught
at Tatsuo's 25th. Memorial. For Tatsuo said
that from Goju-ryu the father he took Sanchin and
from Shorin-ryu the mother he took Naihanchi
along with kobudo to make Isshin-ryu. So learning
Naihanchi as performed and taught by Iha Kotaro
who learned from Chibana Sensei gave a better understanding
of Isshin-ryu. By honoring Tatsuo's 25th. Memorial
on Camp Pendleton, with a guest Kobudo Sensei from
Okinawa teaching a different Okinawan martial arts
is what Isshin-Ryu is all about. All bottles are
good and we are keeping this tradition of Shimabuku
Tatsuo Sensei alive.
Now about the history of the
Kensho Tokumura was born on October 25,1941 in the village
of Heshikiya on the Katsuren peninsula, Okinawa,
Japan just prior to the outbreak of World War ll.
In 1956, Tokumura started training in Shorin-ryu karate
while going to the Agricultural Junior High School
school located in Agena, Village. Tokumura joined
the school karate club because his cousin, Tokuichi
Oishi was training in the club every night and Tokumura
wanted to learn karate. A year later, the instructor,
Seikichi Chinen stopped teaching which prompted
the young Tokumura to looked for another instructor.
On April 7,1957, Tokumura who was 15 years old , went to
see the founder of Isshin-ryu karate, Tatsuo Shimabuku
at the Agena, village dojo which was located near
the Agricultural school. Shimabuku explained to
Tokumura that a person using a vertical non twisting
Isshin-ryu punch could throw more punches than a
person using twist punches. Tokumura then started
Isshin-ryu and became a student of Tatsuo until
the Masters death on May 30,1975..
On August 18 ,1961, Tatsuo Shimabuku presented a silk document
of the Kenpo Gokui (Secret principles of Kenpo)
Tokumura explained that soon after that date Tatsuo
stopped giving the Kenpo Gokui silk document out
to his students.
Tokumura said that Tatsuo would have him teach Americans
when he was still a white belt and since he was
only a teenager school boy he was scared to teach
the older Marines, but orders are orders especially
when they come from the Tatsuo sensei.
He remembers Tatsuo coming up to him and giving him a used
black belt telling him to put it on but the belt
was too long and he had to cut its length.
Tokumura tells an episode of Tatsuo. He remembers Tatsuo
telling him that he earlier a certain day
he climbed up a telephone pole outside the Agena
dojo for some Marines who photographed him and he
got creosote on his white karate gi and wanted to
know how to remove it. Tokumura told Tatsuo to use
gasoline to remove the black creosote.
Tokumura remembers Tatsuo telling him that he bartered
with Choki Motobu and paid rice and beans for exchange
for learning Motobu's fighting techniques.
He also remembers Taira Shinken coming to the Agena dojo
around 2 PM to instruct Tatsuo in kobudo. The dojo
was near the Agricultural Junior High School school
and Tokumura when passing by would look in to see
who was there.
After Tatsuo Shimabuku's death on May 30,1975, Tokumura
trained in the Kinaka dojo and taught for Kichiro
Shimabuku the Founders first son on Monday, Wednesday
and Friday while Kichiro taught Tuesday, Thursday
On March 17,1977 , Tokumura received his Shihan License
from Kichiro Shimabuku. He was promoted to Rokudan,
6 dan, on July 10,1984 by the International World
Karate Association (IWKA) or Kichiro's organization.
Tokumura did not feel comfortable with his promotion
by Kichiro Shimabuku and decided to reexamine under
the Japan Karate Federation (JKF). Throughout the
years Tokumura would visit and train in other styles
of karate and kobudo stating that he liked most
of the styles of karate and thought they were all
good. He had also studied kobudo from Master Eisuke
Akamine who was the successor to Shinken Taira.
One of the karate dojo he visited and trained in
was Miyazato Eiichi of Goju-ryu karate who's' dojo
was located in Naha. Tokumura was getting pointers
from Sensei Eiichi Miyazato because he was soon
going to test for his rokudan (sixth degree black
belt) in mainland Japan from the JKF.
Tokumura being a Isshin-Ryu stylist
had trained using the non twisting vertical punch
and Sensei Miyazato said "For once Tokumura, use
a twist punch when you test. "Tokumura practiced
hard for two weeks using the traditional twist punch
and said he was very sore training when he went
to Japan and tested from the JKF. Ten persons were
on his examination board and he made a perfect score
in all his tests and was promoted to Rokudan. He
received his Rokudan certificate dated March 16,1985,
by President Ryoichi Hasegawa .
On October 1987 Tokumura left Kichiro's Isshin-ryu to study
Goju-ryu karate with Miyazato Sensei because Kichiro
Shimabuku kept funds he helped raise for charity.
Tokumura sadly gave me his copy of his Isshin-ryu
Megami apologizing that he loved Isshin-ryu but
could no longer follow Kichiro. "Tatsuo Sensei was
and always will be my sensei and Isshin-ryu is number
one, the best but I can no longer follow Kichiro,"
While Tokumura no longer trains in Isshin-ryu, he is in
his heart Isshin-ryu and this is the true
essence of Master Tatsuo Shimabuku. In Tokumura's
dojo which is located near the fire station in Heshikiya,
Tokumura proudly displays a picture of Tatsuo Sensei
and his silk Kenpo Gokui that Tatsuo presented
to him. Tokumura says, if they don't have a silk
Kenpo Gokui, then they weren't there. This was in
response to asking him about certain individuals
I asked him about who claimed to have trained in
the Agena dojo during certain years.
When Tokumura is asked to perform a technique or kata,
he joyfully will reply, "No sweat, can do easy."
He also if he knows you, can perform an excellent
Chinto kata and some of the other Isshin-ryu kata.
With forty-five years in the martial arts, Tokumura has
a lot to give in history, traditions and application
of techniques and bunkai. He is one of the Tomo
No Kai's Okinawan cultural guides on our visits
to Okinawa. Instructing us not only in karate and
kobudo, but in the culture of Okinawa.
Tokumura has created the eku kata Tokushin no eku and the
tekko kata Tokushin no tekko. Several members of
this list have had the opportunity to study with
Captain Tokumura will be retiring from the Marine Okinawa
Security Forces in December of 2001. At present,
the Okinawan Security Forces has a Major and two
Tokumura came to the United States in September 1998, and
was very happy to have met so many persons while
visiting the United States. This was his first trip
to the mainland United States, having been to Hawaii
September 19-20, 1998
Seminar By Kensho Tokumura at Oceanside, California
In attendance were 33 from Canada, Okinawa and the
Arcenio Advincula (CA)
Barry Barnet (TX)
Pim Barnet (LA)
Philip Barry (NJ)
Roy Bird (BC. Canada)
Mike Calandra (NY)
George Calvert (NJ)
Joan Calvert (NJ)
Robert Carona (CA)
Keith Craig (CA)
John Culbertson (CA)
Mike Demeter (MI)
Lindi Evans (TX)
Robert J.Hanula (PA)
Sherman Harrill (IA)
Zane Legg (CA)
Tom McDonach (BC, Canada)
Byron Marriner (NJ)
Sal Musco (NJ)
Brain Newton (OK)
Mike Odel (WA)
Jim Parnel (TX)
Jeff Perkins (MI)
Tim Pirretti (NY)
Mark Meyers (LA)
Philip Raymond (OR) <-Banned from all
Tomonokai and Isshinkai functions and events
Mark Riddle (MS)
Susan Riddle (MS)
Robert Safreed (CA)
Glen Wargo (NJ)
Carol Womack (TX)
Tokumura said that after he retires, he plans to return
to the states in 2002. We will again have a Tomonokai/Isshinkai
Embukai around September or October, 2002 in Oceanside
and Camp Pendleton, California.
Tokumura Sensei was the one who started the Tomonokai and
Isshinkai. Originally the Isshinkai was intended
only for students of Shimabuku Tatsuo and only Okinawan
with myself being the only American. After Tatsuo's
25 Memorial, all other's were allowed into the Isshinkai.
The Tomonokai is a friendship group and all can join even
non-martial arts persons.
is for those that follow the teachings of Shimabuku
Tatsuo Sensei. Isshinkai members remember that to
be in Isshin-ryu stylist, one must honor Tatsuo
because Tatsuo is Isshin-ryu and without Tatsuo
there is no Isshin-ryu.
The Isshinkai has the highest standard of any Isshin-ryu
group. Tokumura said when he started the Isshinkai,
"While others talk about themselves, The Isshinkai
talks about Tatsuo."
Isshinkai Standards to
Teach the best of
your abilities of what you know Tatsuo taught in
Respect his symbol (Isshin-ryu No Megami) which
is a symbol that incorporates all aspects of Isshin-ryu.
Tatsuo had a vision of the Megami and started Isshin-Ryu
only after his vision. It was his dream and now
the Isshinkai will try to keep his dream from fading
by posting the truth about Isshin-ryu.
Teach his Kenpo Gokui and the Dojo Kon.
make a mistake about Isshin-ryu correct your mistakes.
truth and do not embellish.
And you thought it would be easy to be a member!
Remember that there can only be one Grand Master
in a system and that is Tatsuo who created Isshin-ryu
and no one can takes his place or even try.
For those who may want to send a Birthday card to
Tokumura Sensei, here is his address. Thank you
Tokumura for giving us the Tomonokai and Isshinkai.
If you have photos taken at his seminar, send them.
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