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Tracing our roots back to the origins of Karate in Japan and Okinawa.
The Soke (Grand Master) of our Karate style, Sato Sensei started studying karate in 1962. A few years later he became a member of Suzuki Sensei's dojo in Tokyo, Japan. In 1970 he travelled to Canada to study English at college and continued to practice karate on his own. Other students saw him practicing by himself on the grass at the college and asked him to become their teacher. Instead of returning to Japan after one-year of study, he decided to stay in Canada and has since devoted all his energies to develop Shito Ryu karate in Canada and all over the world. In 2017 Sato Sensei formed his own organization and adopted the name Sato-Ha Shito-ryu Kokusai Rengo (International Federation) with affiliations in over 25 countries. In Canada the organization is known as Shito-Ryu Satokai Canada. In 2019, Sato Sensei was awarded the prestigious 9th Dan (Kudan) from Karate Canada.
Suzuki Sensei commenced his training in Karate in 1954 under Sakagami Sensei. In 1957 Sakagami Sensei relocated from Tokyo to Yokohama and left Suzuki Sensei to run the Tokyo dojo. In 1963 he commenced study of Ryu Kyu Kobudo under Taira Shinken Sensei. In 1965 Sakagami Sensei presented Suzuki Sensei with his Karate-do Shihan certificate. In 1968 he was awarded 7th Dan Kyoshi in Ryukyu Kobudo by Shiken Taira Sensei. After Sensei Sakagami's passing in 1993, Suzuki Sensei decided to form his own organization, the Suzuki-Ha Shito-Ryu Nihon Karatedo Seiko-Kai.
Sakagami Ryusho (1915 - 1993)
Sensei Ryusho Sakagami (1915-1993), having studied Shito-Ryu under Sensei Mabuni for many years was presented with the 3rd Shito-Ryu Shihan licence by Mabuni Sensei in 1941. Kobudo master, Taira Shinken lived with Sakagami Sensei for 3 years. In 1959, Taira Shinken granted Sakagami Ryusho his Shihan license in Ryukyu Kobudo. Sakagami Sensei received numerous commendations and was presented by the Japan Budo Society the Distinguished Service Award in a field of Budo on January 15th 1982. On August 19th 1992 the Japan Karatedo Rengokai bestowed upon him Karatedo 10th Dan. Unfortunately Sakagami Sensei passed away at the age of 78 on December 28th 1993. At the time of his passing he held the following qualifications, Kendo Hanshi 7th Dan, Jodo Kyoshi 7th Dan, Iaido Hanshi 8th Dan and Ryukyu Kobudo Hanshi Shihan 8th Dan. On 22nd June 1994 the JKF bestowed upon him Karatedo Hanshi 9th Dan posthumously. He produced many famous karate-ka during his time such as Hiroyuki Miura Hanshi, Seiko Suzuki Shihan the founder of Seiko-Kai Shito-Ryu and Fumio Demura Shihan founder of Genbu-Kai Shito-Ryu.
Mabuni Kenwa (1889 - 1952)
Sensei Kenwa Mabuni (1889-1952) initially studied from 1902 under Sensei Anko Itosu of Shuri, Okinawa from the age of 13. From Itosu Sensei he learnt numerous kata that were known for their quick & explosive techniques. In 1908 Mabuni's friend Chōjun Miyagi recommended he come and also learn from his teacher Sensei Kanryo Higashionna of Naha, Okinawa. From Higashionna Sensei he learnt the powerful and circular techniques that later became the core of Sensei Miyagi's style (Gōjū ryū). In 1929 he moved to mainland Japan with his family and finally settled in Osaka. In 1934 he established his dojo the Yoshu-kan and in 1939 he formally registered his karate style as Shito-Ryu naming it after both the masters. The technical system of Shito-ryu is based on both Itosu and Higashionna teachings and also draws from other teachers that Mabuni Sensei had the honour of studying under.
Higashionna Kanryō (1853 - 1915)
Higashionna Kanryō founded a fighting style known at the time as Naha-te. He is recognized as one of the first students of Fujian White Crane Kung Fu masters, namely Ryū Ryū Ko, in the Fuzhou region of China who returned with those skills to Okinawa. His student, Chōjun Miyagi, would later found Gōjū ryū Karate.
Several of Kanryo's students went on to become influential masters of what came to be called karate, amongst them Chōjun Miyagi (1888-1953), Kenwa Mabuni (1889-1952), and Tsuyoshi Chitose (1898-1984).
Itosu Ankō (1831 - 1915)
Ankō Itosu is considered by many the father of modern karate.
Itosu began his tode (karate) study under Nagahama Chikudun Pechin. His study of the art led him to Sokon Matsumura.
Itosu served as a secretary to the last king of the Ryūkyū Kingdom until Japan abolished the Okinawa-based native monarchy in 1879. In 1901, he was instrumental in getting karate introduced into Okinawa's schools. In 1905, Itosu was a part-time teacher of To-te at Okinawa's First Junior Prefectural High School. It was here that he developed the systematic method of teaching karate techniques that are still in practice today. He created and introduced the Pinan katas as learning steps for students, because he felt the older kata were too difficult for school children to learn.
Itosu's students included Choyu Motobu (1857–1927), Choki Motobu (1870–1944), Kentsu Yabu (1866–1937), Chomo Hanashiro (1869–1945), Gichin Funakoshi (1868–1957), Moden Yabiku (1880–1941), Kanken Toyama (1888–1966), Shinpan Shiroma (Gusukuma) (1890–1954), Anbun Tokuda (1886–1945), Kenwa Mabuni (1889–1952), and Chōshin Chibana (1885–1969).
Matsumura "Bushi" Sōkon (1809 - 1899)
Matsumura began the study of karate under the guidance of Sakugawa Kanga (1733 - 1815). Matsumura was recruited into the service of the Shō family, the royal family of the Ryūkyū Kingdom in 1836. He was given the title "bushi" meaning "warrior" by the Okinawan king in recognition of his abilities and accomplishments in the martial arts. Described by Gichin Funakoshi as a sensei with a terrifying presence, Matsumura was never defeated in a duel, though he fought many. Tall, thin, and possessing a pair of unsettling eyes, Matsumura was described by his student Ankō Itosu as blindingly fast and deceptively strong.
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