(thanks to angelfire!)
Master Shigeru Nakamura
The late Grand Master Shigeru Nakamura, the
Founder of Okinawa Kenpo.
Early reference to the term "Okinawa Kenpo" dates
back to the early 1900's. During this period the name was used as a generic name
for all Okinawan Karate. It was not until the early 1950's that the use of the
name shifted to describe a particular karate system taught by Master SHIGERU
Master Nakamura was born in 1894 and lived in the City of Nago. His first
introduction to karate came at the Icchu Middle School, in Shuri where Karate
had just been introduced to the educational system. His instructors included
Kanryo Higashionna, Kentsu Yabu & Chomo Hanashiro. Yastune Itosu also made
periodic visits to the school. Upon graduation from the middle school, Nakamura
returned to Nago, where he continued his training under Shinkichi Kunioshi, the
successor to the legendary Naha "Bushi" Sakiyama. In 1953 Nakamura established
his own dojo in Nago City, calling his form of the art "Okinawa Kenpo".
In 1955, the "Okinawa Kenpo Renmei" was formed by Masters Shigeru Nakamura
and Zenryo Shimabuku, with Master Nakamura as President. Master Nakamura was
known for his development of the "Bogu Gear" for contact sparring.
Nakamura's death in 1969, the Okinawa Kenpo Renmei, appointed SEIKICHI ODO as
Master of Okinawa Kenpo Karate.
Master Odo officially added the weapons to the Okinawa Kenpo system, with the
result being what we now know as "Okinawa Kenpo Karate-Kobudo". Master Odo is
ranked as Judan (10th Dan) in both Karate & Kobudo, and is considered one of
the top weapons practitioners in the world today.
It is rare to find a Sensei that is both. Daisensei holds the rank of Kudan
(9th degree) as awarded by his Okinawan peers. Daisensei Odo instructional
lineage is traced back to some of Okinawa's great martial art instructors.
Daisensei's primary instructor was Shirgeru Nakamura, the founder of Okinawa
Kenpo. In Kobujutsu Daisensei Odo learned from Mitsu Kakazu and Shinpo
Matayoshi. Master Odo is also positively influenced by Seiki Toma in his karate
Master Seiyu Oyata
Taika Oyata's family lineage
dates back to the Zana family, which was a Bushi family in Shuri, Okinawa. His
ancestor Zana Oyakata (Oyakata is title) was the King's scholar. When Japan
invaded Okinawa around 1609, the Shuri King was captured and the Zana family
head resisted and was killed. The Japanese also required the family to change
their name to Sinda which means Death. Years later the family name was changed
to Ikemiyagusiku and eventually became Oyata.
Taika's father was the middleweight Sumo champion of all Okinawa. When he was
young, he and the rest of the Sumo team challenged all comers in Okinawa. Kana
Oyata was the strongest man on the team and won the competion for his native
island. Taika was the fourth son of Kana Oyata and the youngest. His three
brothers Taro, Kiseii and Akio were killed in the second World War, He, also
fought during the war and was commissioned a lieutenant in the Japanese Navy. If
the war continued a few months longer, Taika Oyata would have joined his
brothers in death because he had been selected for a suicide (torpedo) mission,
his death certificate had already been sent to his remaining family. As a part
of training in the Navy, Taika was required to train in Iado (art of the sword),
this is where Taika got his introduction to Martial Arts. When the war ended
Taika returned to Okinawa and continued his studies of the martial arts. About
this time he started a job working for the US government delivering food to the
smaller islands. Food was not readily available and there was much starvation on
the islands. Taika Oyata was stationed in the village of Termu where at age 17,
He met Uhugusiku No Tan Mei who was from a Bushi Family that resided in Shuri.
Uhugusiku No Tan Mei was about 93 years old at the time of their meeting.
Because Taika Oyata had royal blood in his ancestry he was allowed to study
under Master Uhugusiku. Taika Oyata took extensive weapons training from Master
Uhugusiku, learning many aspects of the indigenous weapons of Okinawa.
After the deaths of his previous instructors, Taika joined an analytical
research group along with Master Nakamura and trained with Master Uehara. He was
accepted as an instructor/student in Master Nakamura's Dojo becuase he had
studied from Uhugusiku No Tan Mei. From Master Nakamura, Taika learned the
tweleve empty hand kata he now teaches to his present students. Taika worked
with Master Uehara (Motobu Ryu) on weapons and was a training partner. Through
the years, Taika has constantly analyzed the kata and the human body. He
developed his own style of tuite that wasn't dependent of strength but of
execution of technique.
Hanshi C. Bruce Heilman
Hanshi C. Bruce
Heilman is an internationally recognized Martial Arts Instructor & Author
who has been involved in the arts since 1961. He has studied Okinawan Karate,
Ju-Jitsu, Japanese Karate and Okinawan Kobudo. Over the years he has had the
opportunity to study under a number of leading teachers, the two most
significant being: the late Hanshi Robert Trias, the Father of American Karate,
and Hanshi Seikichi Odo, the head of the Okinawa Kenpo Karate-Kobudo system,
recently renamed by him as Ryukyu Hon Kenpo Kobujutsu.
Shihan Heilman has
been awarded ranks of: 9th Dan in Karate, 9th Dan in Kobudo, and 3rd Dan in
Ju-Jitsu. He was awarded his Hanshi License (Grand Master) in both Okinawa Kenpo
Karate & Okinawan Kobudo in 1997. The award of his current 9th Dan ranks was
made by his teacher, Hanshi Odo, and Mr. Heilman's title of "Hanshi" was issued
by unamanous vote of the prestigious IKKF Executive Board. Additionally the
ranks and title were recognized by the following International Martial Arts
Organizations: the World Union Of Martial Arts Federations, the United States
Karate Alliance, and the International Shorin-ryu Karate Kobudo Federation.
Additionally, Mr. Heilman holds a Renshi License (Teachers) in Ju-Jitsu which
was awarded to him in 1981.
Kyoshi Ann-Marie Heilman
Kyoshi Ann-Marie Heilman holds the ranks of 7th Dan in Karate and
7th Dan in Kobudo. She also has been awarded her Kyoshi License making her one
of the highest ranked woman in the world and the highest in the Okinawa Kenpo
system. Mrs. Heilman is recognized as one of the leading teachers of Women's
Self-Defense Programs in the country. She is Co-Founder and Vice-President of
the IKKF and serves as Technical Advisor Board Member of the International
Ryukyu Karate Research Society, Australia.
Mrs. Heilman had the honor of
being inducted into the U.S. Karate Alliance HALL OF FAME in 1996, making her
along with Mr. Heilman the only Husband/Wife team to receive the award. She also
co-shared the Pennsylvania Instructor of the Year for 1996.
Shellenbarger began his study of Okinawa Kenpo in 1969. Since that time, his
studies have taken him throughout the eastern and southern United States. He has
studied with experts from as far as Okinawa, Japan on such subjects as Karate
Weaponry, Tuite Jitsu (hidden techniques in forms), and pressure points of the
body. He has studied several different styles of karate as well as boxing and
Eric Shellenbarger is a 3rd degree Black Belt in Okinawa Kenpo
Karate Kobudo and a second degree Black Belt in AIKIA Karate. He is the founder
of the Okinawa Kenpo Karate Do Alliance and holds the rank of Supreme Instructor
in that organization. He has been teaching in ohio since 1977.
THIS IS A VERY BRIEF
HISTORY ON THE PEOPLE THAT PLAYED A VERY IMPORTANT PART IN OUR KARATE
MORE INFO SOON!!!
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