Mississippi Isshinryu Karate
Backgrounds, biographies, pictures and insights of Shimabuku's Isshin-Ryu

::.. Isshin-Ryu ..::



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Other incarnations of the Megami (Kannon)



3 Stars - The stars are in the position of one (-) in Kanji and mean one or ichi and is the "is" in Isshin-ryu.

They represent 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:

Shorinryu (mother)/Gojuryu (father)/Isshin-ryu (baby)

Night - The unknown (the stars, Tatsuo Shimabuku's teachers light up the darkness)

Woman's Upper Body - Karate can be as gentle as a woman

Dragon's Lower Body - Karate can be as fierce as a dragon.

Goddess' Calm Face - Be calm in adversity.

Turbulent Water - Danger or evil which is always present.

Left Hand Open (Soft) - Talk your way out if possible.

Right Hand Closed (Hard) - Use force only as a last resort, and then only what is necessary.

Dragon in the Sky (Heaven) - Tatsuo who is the energy of Isshin-ryu moves endlessly from earth to heaven. Dragon (Tatsuo) can also be written "ryu" and is pronounced the same as ryu (way, style or mode). Its hidden meaning -- the ryu of Isshin-ryu.

Tiger in Headdress (Earth) - The dragon represents the spirit and the earth represents the matter. The dragon is male and the tiger is female. Both must be in harmony with each other to become united as one mind and body.

Gold Border - Karate is golden and pure and is a discipline that must not be misused.

     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 fist.

     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.

Sensei Advincula in Feb of 1961 wearing the first Megami patch.
Notice Mrs. Shimabuku looking through the gate.
Photo courtesy of Ed Johnson.

     The 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.

For more info regarding Ryuzu Kannon, please visit:
Onmark Productions - Kannon page

* from Ole Miss Karate Club Web Site


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