Posts tagged ‘Shorin Ryu’

May 24, 2011

Whats are the differences between the 4 branches of Shorin Ryu?

Shobayashi and Kobayashi (divided into Shidokan and Shorinkan) are very similar and the most like Matsumura’s original methods out of the 2 Itosu-Ha (or factions). Matsubayshi is based on the teachings of Chotoku Kyan (who influenced Shobayashi also), Koseku Matsumora (no relation to Sokon Matsumura) and Chokki Motobu (famous tough guy, bad-ass). It is the most Japanese and the furthest from original intent.

Matsumura Seito (or Orthodox) is the original Shorin (Shuri/Tomari Te) as taught to Hohan Soken, great grand nephew of Sokon “Bushi” Matsumura. The crane fist or “tsuruken” techniques were only taught to family members, and even great modern karate pioneers like Anko Itosu or Gichin Funakoshi, were not taught these “advanced” fighting principles. Shorin Ryu is a true Half-Hard, Half-Soft style. The practitioner starts off with extreme mental and physical rigidity, that eventually becomes yin/yang, then eventually, at the highest levels, almost completely “internal” or a soft style.

Kobayashi (especially Shorinkan) and Shobayashi (Seibukan in particular) as well as Matsumura Seito are very good combat sciences that deal with standing and ground fighting as well as the esoteric aspects such as Chinese acupuncture/medicine, and philosophy.

Matsubayashi Ryu is often singled out on Okinawa as a “school-boy” system. Although this statement is true, even of Kobayashi/Shobayashi, many use Shoshin Nagamine’s Matsubayashi as a term to describe karate that is “waki-waki” or not up to par. If a style is whack many Okinawan senseis will call it Matsubayashi Ryu. That sounds harsh, but that’s the truth. Still it is better than 98% of Japanese and Korean karate, as many soft principles still remain.

If you wanted to take ShuriTe for a lifetime it is best to start off in Matsumura Seito (also called Sukunai Hayashi by some organizations), so as to not develop bad “modern” sport habits. If Matsumura Orthodox is not available, Shorinkan (Kobayashi) or Seibukan Shobayashi are great fighting styles also. Shorinkan teaches every kick imaginable, high or low, and many tuite and other Okinawan “Jujutsu” concepts. Shorin Ryu is especially known for its punches and other hand techs, but many Southern and Northern Chinese kicking techs are taught (especially in Kobayashi).

There are many Shorin sites on the web. Check out some histories, and see what you like the best. There are quite a few Matsumura Orthodox sites, but watch out because many of its senseis are also “waki-waki”. Then again many are very skilled and knowledgeable.

If Matsubayashi Ryu is all that they have in your area try it out and see how you like it. It is a good introductory style to real Shorin. Uechi Ryu is also a very good system, with many Southern Chinese principles in its repertoire, but some Okinawans criticize it for being a little unnatural, with too much emphasis on Iron Body training. Still it is a unique, and awesome fighting style.

I have trained in all branches of Shorin (except Shobayashi) in the Philippines, on Okinawa and now stateside. I am a Yudansha (black belt) in Kobayashi Shorinkan and Matsumura Seito. Both systems have their merits, but Matsumura Orthodox is closer to the original combat intent. Some of the best instructors in the world are here and have left Asia. Shorin is often lumped together with all karate, but trust me it is real and effective.

-Author Unknown