The Ryuha System in Japanese Martial Arts -
Or, What does Shito-Ryu, Genbu-Kai
and Demura-Ha Mean?

Recently, our organization has undergone some growth and change - we are now Japan
Karate-Do Genbu-Kai, an International Shito-Ryu Organization practicing and teaching
Demura-Ha Shito-Ryu. What does that mean? We'll start with Ryu, which is usually translated as "style" or "school". This is a good short definition, but Ryu actually means more.  The kanji for Ryu refers to both "flowing" and "school". Applied to a martial art, then, it does mean a particular style or system. Shito-Ryu is the Shito - style of karate-do. While all
Japanese karate-do shares considerable similarities, each Ryu has distinct differences, all variations on the basic concept. The Ryu is flowing, like a river - like a body of water, it will stagnate if it does not move. So the style is not unchanging, like a relic - the head of a style may refine the Ryu, all the while remaining true to the physical foundation and philosophy of the style. If the Ryu is like a river, the Ha is like a branch of the river. In classical Japan, the Ryu were hereditary and  passed to the family. An outstanding disciple, or often the
outstanding disciple, could establish a variation of the Ryu. This branch is a distinct variation on the style, remaining true to the style yet a distinct line nonetheless. The Ha, or Ryuha, then joins the lineage of the Ryu. A kai is an organization, or association formed to promote a particular art or activity.  For example, you could have a kai that was a
bowling organization.

  Master Kenwa Mabuni was born in 1893 and is acknowledged by historians as one of  the most knowledgeable and accomplished martial artists Okinawa has ever produced. He was a student of both Shuri-Te Master Anko Itosu and Naha-Te Master Kanryo Higashionna. Master Mabuni combined his deep understanding of Shuri-Te and Naha-Te into Shito-Ryu, which
became one of the four main styles of Japanese Karate-Do.  Prior to Master Mabuni's death in 1957, he passed the Itosu lineage to the student many consider his greatest -
Master Ryushu Sakagami. Master Sakagami was born in 1915, and became known in Japan

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