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Kenzo Mabuni Soke

Kenzo Mabuni Soke is the son of the founder of Shito-Ryu Karate-Do, the late Kenwa Mabuni.

Kenwa Mabuni (1889 - 1952) first started Karate under Sensei Itosu at the age of 13 and at the age of 22, studied under Sensei Kanryo Higoanna. From Itosu Sensei, he mastered the quick and lightning - like (Shorei) techniques and from Higoanna Sensei, he mastered the slow (Shorin) techniques emphasizing dynamic breathing and muscular control. Using the best and proven of all techniques he had mastered, he formed the Shito-Ryu system. He dedicated the name of Shito from these 2 famous masters; "Shi" pronounced in Japanese character for Itosu and "To" pronounced in Japanese characters for Higa. Today, Shito-Ryu Karate-Do remains as one of the 4 major styles of karate in Japan and it is taught all over the world.

Kenzo Mabuni Soke was born on May 30, 1927 at Akahira-Machi, Shuri City in Okinawa. His family moved to Osaka city in 1929 when he was 2 years old and he remained in his fathers house until now. He obtained permission from his father and joined his school when he was 13 years old and therefore has been in Shito-Ryu Karate-Do for over 60 years. He first obtained his Shodan (1st Dan) on August 1, 1943 and presently holds the Jyudan (10th Dan) and is a well respected master not only in Japan but also throughout the world.

His organization, Nihon Karate-Do Kai (formerly known as Dai-Nihon Karate-Do Kai) was founded by his father in 1939. After his father's death in 1952, his mother Mrs. Kame Mabuni came to Kenzo Mabuni and requested that he take over the style. Kenzo Mabuni could not decide at that time and went into seclusion for two years to contemplate this great responsibility. Of course, as we all know he decided to accept this responsibility and is the inheritor of his father's lineage making him the 2nd Governor of Shito-Ryu and successor to this organization. His father left him the Shito-Ryu name, his complete syllabus and the Dojo with the Association name Nihon Karate-Do Kai. All these remain intact until today. He followed his fathers syllabus exactly the way it was written down in 1929 and that's why he called it Seito Shito-Ryu or pure, true Shito-Ryu.

From that time, Kenzo Mabuni Soke dedicated his life to preserving the true lineage of his father's karate. He was not concerned with politics or image and remained unknown to the outside world while his older brother and others were spreading their influence in the name of  Shito-Ryu Karate. In 1993, upon the request of his good friend Ozawa, Kenzo Mabuni Soke travelled to Las Vegas and exposed the world to Seito (pure) Shito-Ryu, the true karate of his father, Mabuni Kenwa. In April of 1994, Kenzo Mabuni conducted seminars in Albany, New York and Phoenix, Arizona. Subsequent to these seminars, Kenzo Mabuni established the Shito-Ryu Karate Do Kai of America comprised of Dojo's that had requested of him consideration as his direct students and received formal acceptance by his senior instructors, the Nippon Karate-Do Kai Shihan Kai.

Kenzo Mabuni emphasizes the training of Karate based on his fathers principle, "Kata (form) is Karate". Kata is the essence of Karate and in training, one should follow his policy: 75% Kata training and 25% Kumite (free or organized sparring) training, besides doing the regular Kihon (Basics) and exercises. He trained under the watchful eye of his father and would practice hundreds of times for a period of 3 months or more just to understand and perfect One single Kata.

He advises that one should take note of the following points when practicing Kata:

  1. Kata should start and end with Rei (bow)
  2. Correct Basic Techniques
  3. Breathing
  4. Dachi (Stances)
  5. Posture
  6. Happo Tenshin (8 Directions)
  7. Chakugan (Focusing)
  8. Bunkai (Meaning and Application)
  9. Zanshin (Awareness)
  10. Repetition - to perfect the KATA

He is a very devoted teacher and after succeeding his father, he has spread his Dojo's (Training Centers) to:

Kinki Areas (Osaka, Hyogo, Nara, Shiga)
Tohoku (Fukushima)
New Zealand

Dojo's overseas will be increased in the future. His vision is that he will continue his fathers work in promoting this Traditional Martial Art and teach only the true and original form of Shito-Ryu Karate-Do.

Information provided by Shihan Kazuo Sakai

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