Shukokai is a form of karate that is not one, but several similar expressions of kara-te jutsu, or karate-do as it is now known. The style was first formed in Japan, back in 1945 by Chojiro Tani.
Chojiro Tani first began his Karate training by studying Goju-Ryu, he started his training while he attended junior high school (around the age of 12-15). Later, at the age of 19, Tani entered Doshisha University in Kyoto, it was here that he continued his training in Goju-Ryu under the great Karate master, Chojun Miyagi. After two years Chojun Miyagi would return to his home Okinawa to teach and train, Miyagi left his close friend Kenwa Mabuni to teach in his place at Doshisha University. It was at this time that Chojiro Tani also began to learn Shito-Ryu from Kenwa Mabuni.
The great war was to interrupt Chojiro Tani’s training as he was called up to fight, although it would not be long after the end of the war that he would again continue his martial arts journey. He returned from the war to work in a tax office, and it was after seeing local youths needing something to do, that he formed his first karate class. Tani began teaching in the open air in a local car park. The name of his new school; “Shukokai”, the meaning is “Way for all”. It wouldn’t take long for the class to out grow their car park dojo, they started with only 5 students but this quickly grew to over 100. Chojiro Tani would then build an extension to his house to be used as the new dojo.
One year after forming his Shukokai school, Tani was to receive the official scroll of succession (Menko) from Kenwa Mabuni. This was to allow Chojiro Tani to form his own sect as an official teacher of Shito-Ryu, it was to be known as Tani-Ha Shito-Ryu.
Shukokai Develops With Shigeru Kimura
In 1965, Shigeru Kimura was Chojiro Tani’s most senior student, it was in this year that Kimura would leave Japan and start a world wide journey, he would travel and teach in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa, England and finally the US. It was in the United States where Shigeru Kimura would finally settle. Wherever Kimura went, he left behind accomplished instructors, later in life he would still visit his old students around the world and continue to develop Shukokai, even hosting the first World Shukokai Tournament in 1981. The Shukokai Karate world championship is still held every 2 years.
After Shigeru Kimura’s death in 1995, the Kimura Shukokai International was formed to promote Kimura’s Shukokai. Many other Shukokai organisations were also formed around the globe by other students of Chojiro Tani, including the Shito-Ryu Shukokai Karate Union, or the Kawata-ha Seikukai Karate, both founded in 1998 after Master Tani’s death.
Shukokai Kata and Kumite
Shukokai practitioners train both Kata forms and full contact points fighting. The Kata’s can be performed as an individual or as a group, and the Kumite is where you apply your techniques, sparring against a live opponent.
Here we can see an excellent demonstration of team Kata by team Finland in the finals of the Shukokai world championships.
This video is both Kata and Bunkai. Bunkai is the application of techniques and movements that are taken from Kata. Here Tsutomu Kamohara Sensei, 8th dan, demonstrates Shito-Ryu Shukokai.
In this next video you can see the points fighting of Shukokai. After a successful technique is scored, fighters are separated and points are awarded before the match continues. Much like fencing, razor quick reflexes and excellent technique are required to win.
Enjoy this highlight of Team Finland from the 2012 Kimura Shukokai world championships.