About Our Dojo
Origin Lineage Our Motto Canadian Shorinkan Dojos


The origin and development of Karate is intimately tied to the history of the Okinawan people, who developed it to its present form and preserved its tradition for centuries.  A major root of the discipline, however, can be traced to ancient China, where in about the year 483 A.D., Daruma Tashi developed an exercise form for the use of Buddhist monks.  The exercise form was first taught by Tashi at Shaolin Temple. The exercise discipline concentrated upon the art of learning to control and master the body, mind, and soul.

During the 17th century, Okinawa was overrun and occupied by the Japanese.  The Okinawan warriors were disarmed and forbidden to own, use or carry any weapons.  Faced with the necessity of defending themselves and their people from their oppressors, and having only their bare hands with which to fight, the warriors turned to the ancient forms of Karate.  In those desperate years they developed and refined the techniques of Karate until their bodies and hands were as deadly and as effective in their defense as the weapons that were taken from them.  Karate was taught in secret and was only known to he King and his most Loyal subjects.  Where and how it was taught was a mystery to most Okinawans.

In the more settled times that followed, Karate, although remaining a secret and known only through work of mouth on Okinawa, became a course of exercise valued for its health and character building.  In the late 19th century, Sokon "Bushi" Matsumura collected and studied the various forms of Karate that had grown up around Shuri, systematized them and designed an overall method for the training of Karate.  His system was called Shuri-Te.

Yasutsune "Anko" Itosu was the most famous student of Matsumura of Shuri.  He is credited as the first person to introduce Shuri-Te to the public in the early 20th century, and developed the methods of teaching karate that are still used to this day.  Itosu taught at Naha's secondary schools and at various religious and military institutes.  Itotsu pasted his legacy to Chosin Chibana, who differentiated the system of Shuri-Te Shorin-Ryu with the name "Kobayashi-Ryu" Karate.

Chibana spent his life refining Shorin-Ryu to its present form.  In 1936 Chibana was a part of the historic meeting of the Okinawan Karate Masters with Chojun Miyagi, Chomo Hanashiro, Kentsu Yabu, Chotoku Kyan, Genwa Nakasone, Choryo Maeshiro, and Shinpan Shiroma.  Chibana founded the Okinawan Shorin-Ryu Karate-Do Association in 1948.  Upon Chibana's death in 1969, one of Chibana's senior students - Shugoro Nakazato organized the Shorinkan branch of the Okinawan Shorin-Ryu Karate-Do Association.

Under the guidance of Nakazato, Shorin-Ryu karate has spread across the world.  Two of Nakazato's first generation black belts helped to establish Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan in North America.  First in 1966, Nakazato oversaw Sid Campbell in being the first person to open a Shorin-Ryu dojo in the mainland of the United States.  In 1973, Frank Hargrove returned to the United States after nearly 10 years of study in Okinawa with Nakazato and helped spread Shorin-Ryu across the United States and into Canada.

At Present, Nakazato's students Doug Perry and Pat Haley serve as the North American President and Vice-President of the Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan association in North America, with Pat Haley responsible for overseeing the Canadian dojos.

Shurei no Mon
The Shureimon Gate in Naha City, Okinawa

The Shureimon within the Shorinkan logo