What is Shorin Ryu?

Shorin Ryu Karate is a style of Okinawan Karate (Shuri-te) descending from Soken
“Bushi” Matsumura.  Shorin Ryu Karate is recognizable by its dodging (change body)
from oncoming strikes, and  direct counter attacks using punching and kicking
techniques from higher (more mobile) stances than many other styles.  Shorin Ryu  is a
martial art (method of combat), which employs a variety of techniques, including
punches, kicks, blocks, vital point strikes, throws, chokes, joint locks, and bone
breaking.  Karate practice is divided into three aspects: Kihon (basics), Kata (forms),
and Kumite (fighting).

The word Karate is a combination of two kanji characters: KARA”, meaning empty, and
“TE”, meaning hand. So the literal modern translation of the word Karate means “empty
  Much earlier the kanji character “KARA”  was frequently translated as Chinese,
and karate was known as “Chinese Hand” in reference to karate’s heavy influence
from Chinese Kempo and Chinese Boxing.

Adding the suffix “-Do” (pronounced “doe”), meaning “way,” differentiates the mere
mastery of physical techniques (“Karate”) and puts the emphasis on the acquisition of
spiritual insight and development. “Karate-Do,” implies Karate as a total way of life that
goes well beyond the fighting applications. In traditional Karate-Do, we always keep in
mind that the true opponent is oneself and the ultimate goals are to seek perfection of
one’s character and to touch the lives of others in a positive way.

Shorin Ryu Karate emphasizes correct posture, correct joint alignment, and basic
technique above all else. The Shorin Ryu expert is expected to perform using strictly
defined basic techniques even under harsh conditions.  Basic techniques are refined to
the minutest detail, and performing them with absolute perfection is given the highest
priority.  The intrinsic mastery of one’s body dynamics to generate fantastic amounts of
speed and power is really what sets Shorin Ryu Karate apart from so many other
styles. Even in today’s new world of science the “Old Okinawan Training Methods” still
produce one of the most powerful Martial Arts in Human history…. SHORIN RYU

The Shorin Ryu philosophy is that purity of raw technique is most important. The idea
behind this is that one elegant technique mastered so completely that it is as natural as
flipping a light switch will finish off the opponent quickly and efficiently. In situations
where there are multiple opponents, such an ability is believed essential because there
may not be time to throw more than one or two techniques per opponent, and grappling
or getting tangled up with your adversary, when two others are also trying to harm you
is probably unwise. Therefore, each Karate technique is maximized at the expense of
learning more complicated defenses.  In combat, less is usually more!  Simple
techniques win (physical, mental and emotional) engagements.  The Shorin Ryu belief
is that nothing is more important than strong basic technique.

When attacked, the Shorin Ryu expert will usually dodge at an angle to one side or the
other to avoid the oncoming attack and then drive directly forward through the
adversary from the same angle, flanking the attacker, with straight punches and kicks
while sweeping at the ankles, and legs, to unbalance the retreating opponent. Shorin
Ryu experts are familiar with other types of more complex techniques, but they
generally avoid them, as I previously mentioned that in combat the simpler the
technique the better…it leaves less room for error. While Shorin Ryu may be seen as
“simple,” as it does not appear to employ a wide variety of motions, the techniques are
designed to be mastered to such a high degree of precision and ease of use that they
“truly” become extremely effective weapons.

Generally speaking, the Shorin Ryu Karate we teach here at the NWLA Martial Arts
Academy resembles the karate of its original Okinawan origins more closely than many
other schools.  Many schools, and instructors alike, have changed their martial art style
to be more “sport” and tournament friendly.

“True Karate is this: that in daily life one’s mind and body be trained and
developed in a spirit of humility, and that in critical times, one be devoted utterly
to the cause of justice.”

                                                           – Gichin Funakoshi