heart, as shown in the heart of Scorpio, or "shin".
They also represent Shimabuku's teachers:
Ganiku Shinko (uncle)
Chotoku Kyan - Shorinryu,
Chojun Miyagi - Gojuryu
Choki Motobu - Shorinryu
Shinken Taira - Kobudo
They also represent
the following triads:
- The unknown (the stars, Tatsuo Shimabuku's
teachers light up the darkness)
The Isshin-ryu patch was conceived by Arcenio J.
Advincula with Tatsuo Shimabuku's permission in
February 1961. Advincula started by asking Shimabuku
for his permission to design a patch. Some American
students were wearing patches they designed.
Advincula drew a design showing the goddess
fighting a dragon. When Shimabuku saw the design,
he laughed and said the design was wrong and started
to explain his vision of the symbol to Advincula.
It was a half woman and half dragon called Megami
(goddess). Megami's forward hand is open, symbolic
of peace and the back hand is closed, symbolic of
force only if necessary for protection (yin/yang).
The three stars are symbolic of Shimabuku's teachers
who light up the unknown which is symbolized by
the dark back-ground. The stars are also in the
shape of the Japanese/Chinese character for one
(-). Sensei Shimabuku said that all things must
begin with one. Advincula believes that the three
stars also mean one (ichi) or "is" in Isshin-ryu.
While researching the subject, Advincula found that
more than 3,000 years ago the Chinese discovered
28 constellations, one of which is "Hsin" or the
heart with antares, sigma, and tau in the heart
of Scorpio. Advincula also believes that the three
stars stand for one heart or Isshin which means
whole heart. Dragon means ryu, which translates
style, mode, or way. Therefore the name of our style,
Isshin-ryu, translated one heart way, is hidden
in the Megami's stars and dragon. Megami is in the
midst of a typhoon, but her face remains calm. (yin/yang).
The dragon, in Okinawan culture, is a benevolent
creature and Okinawans believe that the dragon brings
in the seasons. Tatsuo's name means dragon man.
The dragon is also a symbol of heaven. In Megami's
headress there is a tiger, which is the symbol of
the Earth. Megami's ears are elongated which is
a symbol of knowledge. After Shimabuku explained
the meaning of the Megami to Advincula, he asked
if he could borrow Shimabuku's picture of Megami.
Advincula, along with William D. Blond, took the
picture to a patch maker on BC Street on Okinawa.
He placed his left hand, in the vertical punch position,
on a piece of paper and drew the outline of his
He said he wanted the patch to be in the vertical
fist-shape with Megami's image in the center and
he wanted a gold border which symbolized purity
and karate is a discipline that must not be misused.
He also wanted Isshin-ryu written in both Kanji
and English on the patch.
Sensei Advincula in Feb of 1961 wearing
the first Megami patch.
Notice Mrs. Shimabuku looking through the
Photo courtesy of Ed Johnson.
patch maker quoted a price with gold (14k) thread
and Advincula said he just wanted gold-colored thread.
When Advincula went to pick up the patch, because
of the language barrier, he found it was not exactly
in the correct shape and the border was orange.
As years went by, patches were re-ordered and the
shape changed with each new patch made. Soon the
patch was oblong shaped with a red border. This
happened because people did not understand the meaning
behind the fist-shape of the patch. Advincula is
working hard to get the correct patch into circulation.
Today Advincula no longer has Isshin-ryu written
on his patches. He says it is already written there.
For more information
concerning the Isshin-ryu patch, please write: A.J.
Advincula, 1606 Buckboard Drive, Oceanside, CA 92057.