Mississippi Isshinryu Karate
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Okinawa Karate Kobudo International Friendship Association

Wholehearted Association

"Ichariba choodee."
Once we meet and talk, we are brothers and sisters.

Kensho Tokumura "No sweat, can do easy"
written by A.J. Advincula 1999
Isshinkai Manual: [ Web Version | Document Download (365kb) | PDF Document Download ]


     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 Tomonokai and Isshinkai.

     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 and Saturday.

     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," Tokumura said.

     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 Tokumura Sensei.

     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 Captains.

     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 once.

September 19-20, 1998
Seminar By Kensho Tokumura at Oceanside, California
In attendance were 33 from Canada, Okinawa and the USA:
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.

     The Isshinkai 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 follow:

1. Teach the best of your abilities of what you know Tatsuo taught in Isshin-ryu.
2. 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.
3. Teach his Kenpo Gokui and the Dojo Kon.
4. When you make a mistake about Isshin-ryu correct your mistakes.
5. Tell the 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. AJ
Kensho Tokumura
223 Aza-Heshikiya
Okinawa, Japan


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