Dojo Information

Dojo Locations

Hughes Karate-do is owned and operated by Renshi Tony Hughes and is located in Gilbert, Arizona. We are members of the Shorin Ryu Shorinkan organization under Hanshi Shugoro Nakazato.

Renshi Hughes has been studying martial arts for the last 30 years and brings arich variety of knowledge to school. He is currently a 5th dan in Shorin Ryu Shorinkan, and holds dan rank in Aikido and Ju Jitsu as well.

Hughes karate-do is committed to providing quality training in the original Okinawan karate. We feel that tradidional karate is a full, rich martial art that provides for an exceptionally well-rounded martial arts experience. We train in open hand combat as well as traditional Okinawan weapons such as the bo, nunchaku, and tekko.

We provide adult classes as well as children's classes. We accept children ages 5 and up. Hughes karate-do has experience in training special needs children and we welcome them in our dojo. Please contact Renshi Tony Hughes for more information.

About the patch

Members of Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan have, like many martial arts organizations, a distinctive patch which is worn on our uniforms. One the many tasks beginning students are charged with is learning what the patch is about. The following was written by one Grace Bluhm, and provides insight into the meaning of the Shorinkan patch.

Not being able to read Japanese, most of us have wondered what the patch actually said until this essay surfaced. Lacking any other translation, we joked that it was Japanese for This 'stuff' hurts. We now know better, thanks to Ms. Bluhm, but it's still a good working translation.

Hanshi Nakazato Shugoro, 10th dan, designed the Shorin Ryu Shorinkan patch. It has many fascinating details with symbolic meanings derived from their origin.

As one first glances at the patch he will notice, in the Romanji alphabet, the words Shorin Ryu Shorinkan. Shorin Ryu is the style of karate that is represented by the patch. The history of this style dates back hundreds of years and is noted to have lineage to Tode Sakugawa, the father of karate, who lived from 1762 to 1843. He and other great masters of this style blended the Chinese martial arts with the native Okinawan art of Te to form karate, or the “art of the empty hand”. Two of Tode’s teachers were Takahara and Kusanku. Takahara is believed to be the first to explain the principles of do, the “way” or the “path”. These principles or attributes are: “ijo” means the way, which is compassion, humility and love; “katsu” means the law, which is complete understanding of the kata techniques and their application; and “fo”, a serious dedication to the art which must be understood not only in practice but also in combat.

Kusanku was the Chinese diplomatic emissary who traveled to Okinawa and instructed Tode after the death of Takahara. Kusanku greatly contributed several katas in the Shorin Ryu style. Shorin Ryu means “small forest style” and is renowned for its quick hand movements and beautiful stances.

Shorinkan means the academies of Shorin belonging to that association. Shorin Ryu Shorinkan is headed by Grand Master Hanshi Nakazato Shugoro and includes only those who are association members. The hierarchy is intricate and proper etiquette and protocol must be adhered.

The next prominent detail noticed is beautiful Japanese writing, called kanji, on the lower half of the patch. This elegant calligraphy is the handiwork of Nakazato Sensei himself.

Kanji is a form of writing that is inspired by, if not copied from, the Chinese system of writing. The large kanji on the top reads Shorin Kan and the smaller kanji on the bottom reads Shorin Ryu. The first two kanji are Shorin which means “small forest”. “Sho” means small and “rin” means grove of trees or forest. The last kanji in Shorinkan is the word Kan. Some translated “Kan” as “public building”, or “open republic building”. It is thought of as a place of understanding and embodiment. In the second line Shorin is repeated and the third kanji is Ryu. “Ryu” is short for ryuha which means “system”, or “individual”. Therefore, Shorin Ryu is the small forest system of karate. Thus the name of the style is written in both Romanji and Japanese on the patch.

Yet the most preeminent detail of the patch is the oriental style structure in the center. Herein lies the heart and intricate symbolism of Shorin Ryu karate. This structure is called the Shurei No Mon. It is the second of six gates at the Shuri Castle in Naha, Okinawa. The gate is located at Shurijo. Shuri can be translated as “capital”, while jo translates to castle. To further understand the significance of this gate we must delve into the history of the Shuri Castle.

The Ryuku Kingdom built the Shuri Castle in the 1300s. The architecture of the palace has a strong Chinese influence as the Okinawan was a vassal state of China. In 1428, King Sho Hashi moved the government to Shuri and expanded the castle making into the “castle of castles”. It remained the palace until the Japanese takeover in 1879. Many portions of the castle have been destroyed and rebuilt, up to five times throughout history, but the essence and spirit of the castle have remained intact. Now to the second gate belonging to the Shuri Castle, the Shurei No Mon.

The Shurei No Mon was used to welcome the procession of the Chinese ambassador to Okinawa and the palace. The characters on the gates say ”Shurei no kuni” which means “the country which respects the protocol” or another translation of that time is “Okinawa wants to obey the Chinese Emperor forever”. Another source claims that Shurei no kuni is the name the Chinese called Okinawa and translate it to mean “the nation which keeps the peace”. “Shurei” can be translated to mean respect, courtesy, protocol, or etiquette and “kuni” means country. “No” is a particle which is a possessive marker. It indicates ownership or attribution.

But the real question is: What significance does this have to the art of Shorin Ryu karate? Here we draw on the deep influence of the Chinese culture on the art of karate throughout the centuries. Without going into too much detail, we must realize the significance of the Okinawan island as a trading society, and the fact that Okinawans had intricate ties with Chinese. This is paralleled by the fact that most of the Shorin Ryu lineage Masters also shared and studied with Masters from China. Thus the ties between the Okinawans and the Chinese were greatly respected. Also, the Royalty in Okinawa were the first ones to have the right to learn and practice karate. Therefore all karate training was done at or around the castle. Perhaps this is why Hanshi Nakazato chose the Shurei No Mon as the symbol on the Shorin Ryu patch.

Other less prominent details, with no less importance, are the color and shape of the patch. The patch is yellow. This is the royal color of China and Okinawa. Yellow is also the color of light which is significant to show us the way or path of the Shorin Ryu style. The circular shape is unending, as is the study of karate. There is always a new perspective to every movement in karate and the mind must stay open to continuous learning.

Shorin Ryu is rich in etiquette and protocol as was the old Ryuku kingdom. From the first day you put on a gi, you are taught respect for the dojo and your dojo mates. We learn to be humble and considerate of each other and strong in intestinal fortitude. We hold in esteem those who have gone before us and patiently wait for the opportunity to be taught the art of Shorin Ryu karate.

Therefore, we can now look on the Shorin Ryu patch with a renewed admiration of the design Hanshi Nakazato made. As we delve into the symbolic meaning of the details and their origin, we merely begin to understand Shorin Ryu Karate.

Bibliography

Here are a few resources that we feel are of interest to students of karate.

The Bubishi

The Bubishi is the closest thing to a "handbook" of karate to survive from the origins of the art. It contains a lot of historical information, discussing the origins of karate and how it evolved over time. A sampling of combat techniques are discussed, and these are very interesting as they give an insight into the mind-set of the persons who developed karate. There is much information concerning nutrition and health, and the influence of Traditional Chinese Medicine on the Okinawan combat arts. Arguably this book should be required reading for any serious practitioner of traditional Okinawan karate.

My journey with the Grandmaster

Written by kyoshi Bill Hayes, this book is a very personal narrative about his training with the grandmaster of Shobayashi Shorin Ryu, Eizo Shimabukuro during the 1970's in Okinawa. It is a great read by an awesome martial artist and we highly recommend it.

If you wish to order his book, you can do so here. You can also purchase videos and the grandmaster's book on the same site.

The Complete Idiot's Guide To Karate

This book by Randall G. Hassell and Edmond Otis is a nice introduction to the world of Karate. Oriented towards people just starting out, it has a lot of useful information about the origins of karate, protocols, traditions, and general good stuff. The technical parts of the book are Shotokan oriented and thus bear little resemblance to what we do, but everything else is appropriate for anyone regardless of style. You can buy it at amazon.com.

Links

In this section we list some links which we feel have value.

Shorin Ryu

  • Shorin-ryu Shorinkan

    As the website itself puts it, "If your interest is traditional martial arts, then this may be the style of your choice! This is dedicated to the lineage of karate Masters of Shuri-Te (Shorin-Ryu), dating prior to 1733 A.D. with Sakugawa "Tode" to the present, under Hanshi JuDan Shugoro Nakazato and the world wide practitioners of Shorin-ryu Shorinkan karate kobudo."

    This is the official website of our organization, and you can even see our school listed here. If you are looking for Shorinkan videos this is the place.

Karate in general

  • 24 Fighting Chickens

    Even though this is primarily a Shotokan site, the author, Rob Redmond, has put together a large volume of thoughful essays on many topics that any student of karate should find interesting.