Chotoku Kyan O'Sensei (1870 - 1945)

Of all the well-known martial artists of yesteryears, few have attained the status of becoming legends. One such legendary figure was Sensei Chotoku Kyan. Standing only 4’ 10” tall, this frail-looking, be-spectacled man of small stature was a giant in the world of Karate-do.

Born in 1870 as a weak child with poor eyesight, Kyan Sensei started his martial training early in life, learning from his father and grandfather. He then went on to be trained by six of the best Okinawan martial arts masters of that era.

After studying under these masters for long years, and travelling to mainland Japan and Taiwan, Kyan Sensei, by then having founded the famous kata “Ananku”, went on to teach. Amongst his small but dedicated student following was his top student, Zenryo Shimabukuro; who would later become the founder of the Seibukan dojo.

Having lived his entire life following the principles of the martial arts. During the war, when food was scarce, Kyan Sensei gave away whatever food he could find to his students. He died of hunger at the age of 75, leaving his disciple Zenryo Shimabukuro as the foremost authority to carry on his teachings of Sukunaihayashi Shorin Ryu.

for more info about Sensei Chotuko Kyan:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chōtoku_Kyan; http://ryukyu-bugei.com/?p=7120

   O'Sensei Zenryo Shimabukuro

Zenryo Shimabukuro Sensei (10th Dan) was the top student of the legendary Chotoku Kyan Sensei. A baker by profession, he was solidly built, and “a powerhouse of a man” was what everyone who knew him would say of him.

After studying Karate-do under his Sensei, he began teaching a small group of students. The lessons were conducted outside his home, and the small group included his son, the young Zenpo Shimabukuro (the present head of the style). In 1962, he built his own dojo and named it Seibukan (meaning “Holy Art School”).

As a human being Zenryo Sensei was well-known in his community, and had received recognition many-a-times from city officials for his work and for his contribution to the betterment of the Okinawan people. In 1964, he received the highest possible rank a Karateka could possibly earn: the Red Belt; I.e. Promotion to 10th Dan.

During the American occupation of the island of Okinawa, Zenryo Sensei was persuaded to teach his Karate to American servicemen stationed there. Thus, the spread of Shorin Ryu Seibukan Karate-do into the United States.

In 1969, Zenryo Sensei died of appendicitis. Today, his son carries on the Seibukan name and its tradition exactly where his father left off.

more about O'Sensei Zenryo Shimabukuro : http://ryukyu-bugei.com/?p=5002

 O'Sensei Zenpo Shimabukuro

In a journey that lasts a lifetime, no more than a handful of Senseis have achieved as much as O Sensei Hanshi Zenpo Shimabukuro has done. Fewer still have done so in as little a time as he has done.

He is the son of the founder of the Seibukan dojo, the late Sensei Zenryo Shimabukuro (10th Dan).Taking after his father, Zenpo Sensei is a strongly built man with powerful technique, superb stances and impeccable form. Yet, his humble nature and down-to-earth manner is almost as mesmerizing as watching him perform a kata.

At only 65 years of age, in the year 2008 he was awarded the highest accolade in Karate: the rank of 10th Dan (red belt). No more than a much-coveted dream for every serious karateka; this reality was, as every Sensei on the island of Okinawa would agree, well-deserved for the evergreen Hanshi Shimabukuro.

 His tournament career had been no less impressive, with the 1963 Pennsylvania State championships, the 1964 National Kata Championship and the Canadian International Championship under his belt.

To date, Hanshi Shimabukuro has maintained the Okinawan tradition of the master choosing his students; not the other way around. He believes in leading by example, and continues to inspire all those around him to continuously improve themselves; just as he continues to do himself.