Japan American Butokukan     Karate Association

The History of JABKA

"Tode" Sakugawa (1733-1815)             Sakugawa was born in Shuri, Okinawa.  He was perhaps the single most famous figure in the development of karate.  From him karate inherited the Kusanku Katas, the Sakugawa Bo Form, the dojo method.  He began his training under Peichin Takahara. At the age of 17 he met and trained under a Chinese military attache' stationed on Okinawa named Kusanku.  His noted students were Sokon "Bushi" Matsumura and a man whom he passed his scrolls of proficiency, Matsumoto.

Sokon "Bushi" Matsumura (1796-1893)     Matusumura was born in Shuri, Okinawa. To fulfill a promise he made to Matsumura's aging father, Sakugawa accepted Sokon when he was just a boy and trained him in the island's indigenous art called "tode" (karate). Bushi also trained under usanku.  Matsumura served as chief of the military and as court retainer for the king of Ryukyus. After meeting a shipwrecked Chinese sailor who was expert in Kempo, Matsumura devised the kata "Chinto". He amalgamated the styles of Te and Kempo, creating the method known as Shuri-te or Shorin-ryu. Among his many noteworthy students were Yasutsune Itoso, Chotoka Kyan, Choki Motobu, and Chosin Chibana.

Yasutsune "Ankoh" Itosu (1813-1915)    Yasutsune Itosu was born in Shuri, Okinawa. He began his martial arts training under the famous Sokon Matsumura. He also trained under Kosaku Matsumora of the Tomari Lineage. He and his good friend Kanryo Higa(shi)onna are considered two of the most important figures of karate in the 19th century.     He was the first to teach karate in Okinawan Dai Ichi Junior High School and is also the creator of the Pinan (peaceful mind) Kata series. Among Itosu's top students were Kenwa Mabuni, Gichin Funakoshi, Chosis Chibana, Shinpan Gusukama, Kentsu Yabu and Kanken Toyama.

Kenwa Mabuni (1889-1957)    Being of the samurai class and wanting to overcome poor health, Mabuni began to train intensely in karate at the age of 13. He trained under Itosu as well as Itosu's friend Higashionna, and conbined the two styles Shuri-te and Naha-te to create his own method. Note: Shuri-te being taught by Itosu was also called Itosu-ryu. Mabuni was heavily influenced by Kenki of China, and oriented formal exercises based on the White Crane techniques learned from him. He also trained in Kobudo under Aragaki. By 1929, Mabuni was teaching in Osaka, Japan. Due to guidelines set by the Butoku Kai, Mabuni's style was commonly known as Shito-ryu by 1932.

Yun Pon Gun (?-?)    Student and master under Mabuni. Left Osaka in the middle 1930's to take over the Shimpu-ren group in Kushimoto, Japan. During World War II he fed his students after class. During the American occupation of Japan was able to continue teaching because of his Korean ancestry. Left Shimpu-ren in Yoichi Nakachi's hands in 1950 to return to his ancestrl home. Rumor has it that he is a high ranked instructor in the Moo Duc Kwan system in Korea.

Yoichi "George" Nakachi (1932-1998)    Began Shimpu-ren in 1944 under Yun Pon Gun. Made Nidan in 1948, was already a Nidan in Judo. He was left in charge of Shimpu-ren in 1950 and continued teaching until moving to Seattle, WA in 1959. He was in Seattle to attend school at the University of Washington from the Tenriko religion.  Started teaching karate classes in 1961 at Olympic College in Bremerton, WA. He spent time exchanging ideas with Bruce Lee in the early 60's and changed the style from Shimpu-ren to Butokukan in 1964. Nakachi put on the 1st "Open" karate tournament in the Pacific Northwest. He returned to Japan in 1965. leaving Butokukan in Robert Hill's hands and is Presently is the Grandmaster of the Japan American Butokukan Karate Association. For additional info, see the 1st issue of the J.A.B.K.A. newsletter in 1977. 

Robert Hill (1942-)    Began Shimpu-ren in 1961 at Olympic College under Yoichi Nakachi. Received Shodan in June 1963. Changed to Butokukan when Nakachi changed the name, crest and kata. Has been teaching in Bremerton, WA since 1964. Strongly influenced by 2-1/2 years of study of Win Chin under Ed Tang, which shows up primarily in sparring. Present system consists of over 260 Black Belts and 20 different dojos throughout North America. Soke Hill's present rank is Judan. For additional info see J.A.B.K.A. newsletter of 1978.





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