joomla logo black-6-Text

Kofukan Karate

 

History of Kofukan International

Kofukan International is an association practising Tani-ha Shito-ryu Karate-do which is based in Europe but has members worldwide.

In April 1997 Kofukan International celebrated their 25th Anniversary with a World Championship and Open Training Courses supervised by Guest of Honour Master Chojiro Tani (1921-1998), 10th Dan Hanshi, founder of the Tani-ha Shito-ryu Shukokai organization of which Kofukan is a member.

 

Instruction

Joint World Chief Instructors for Kofukan International are Shihan Keiji Tomiyama, resident in England, and Shihan Naoki Omi, resident in France, who are both 7th Dan Tasshi. It is expected that each member country hold at least one seminar per year with Shihan Tomiyama, with the possibility of other visits if desired, unless exceptional circumstances do not permit it. It is possible for smaller countries to join together with neighbours to organize seminars. Around the world, these and other special courses aimed at students of all grades are regularly held by member countries. What is more, black belt members frequently have the opportunity to join organized tours of Japan for training and sightseeing.

 

Advancement

Kyu gradings are held at different intervals according to common practice in each individual country, ranging between 4 months and 6 months (a minimum of 6 months for 1st kyu to 1st Dan). The level of fees charged for kyu gradings is also set by each country's Secretariat, from which they can make funds for their organization. Many Dan gradings are conducted by each country's own senior grading officers, although others, especially higher Dan grades, are conducted by the Chief Instructors.

Karate is a martial art developed in the Ryukyu Islands in what is now Okinawa, Japan. It was developed from indigenous fighting methods called te (手?, literally "hand"; Tii in Okinawan) and Chinese kenpō.

Karate is a striking art using punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes, and open-handed techniques such as knife-hands. Grappling, locks, restraints, throws, and vital point strikes are taught in some styles. A karate practitioner is called a karateka.

Karate was developed in the Ryukyu Kingdom prior to its 19th century annexation by Japan. It was brought to the Japanese mainland in the early 20th century during a time of cultural exchanges between the Japanese and the Ryukyuans. In 1922 the Japanese Ministry of Education invited Gichin Funakoshi to Tokyo to give a karate demonstration. In 1924 Keio University established the first university karate club in Japan and by 1932, major Japanese universities had karate clubs. In this era of escalating Japanese militarism, the name was changed from 唐手 ("Chinese hand") to 空手 ("empty hand") – both of which are pronounced karate – to indicate that the Japanese wished to develop the combat form in Japanese style.

After the Second World War, Okinawa became an important United States military site and karate became popular among servicemen stationed there. The martial arts movies of the 1960s and 1970s served to greatly increase its popularity and the word karate began to be used in a generic way to refer to all striking-based Oriental martial arts.

Karate schools began appearing across the world, catering to those with casual interest as well as those seeking a deeper study of the art.

 

Kofukan History

1970

Master Tani, Soke of Tani-ha Shito-ryu Karate-do Kempo Shukokai, asked Doshisha University Karate Club students whether any of them would like to assist in the development of Tani-ha Shito-ryu abroad and go to America to assist Sensei Kimura or to Europe to assist Sensei Suzuki. It was intended to be for one or two years after graduation, before settling down to be 'company men' back in Japan. Out of the three who said yes, two finally made the journey from Tokyo to Paris in March 1972. These were Naoki Omi and Keiji Tomiyama, now Joint Chief Instructors of Tani-ha Shito-ryu Karate-do Kofukan International. Not quite 'company men' in the recognized sense, they are nevertheless dedicated to one organization, and that is the karate association which has now spread around the world.

 

Read more: Karate Origins

What is Shito-ryu?

Shito-ryu Karate was founded by Master Kenwa Mabuni.

He learnt Shuri-te from Master Yasutsune Itosu and Naha-te from Master Kanryo Higaonna. The name 'Shito' is just the combination of "shi" and "to" , the two first characters of the names of Master Itosu and Master Higaonna. In Japanese the spelling of a single Kanji is different of it's spelling in a word, Shito-ryu (ryu means style) isn't just a mix of Shuri-te and Naha-te (Shuri-te means technique (te) from the citadel Shuri, Okinawa.

Naha-te means technique from the port-town Naha, Okinawa), since Master Mabuni's thirst for knowledge led him to other masters for instruction too.

At first he taught his own students pure Shuri-te then pure Naha-te, but he also gave instruction in other master's styles.

In Japan, Shotokan-ryu, Wado-ryu, Goju-ryu and Shito-ryu are the four main styles. Shito-ryu is the style which preserves most of the original Shuri techniques, compared with other styles such as Shotokan and Wado. It also preserves original Naha techniques, as does Goju-ryu, although each style emphasises different points. Technically, Shuri-te and Tomari-te have rather fast and straight movements, while Naha-te has circular and supple movements.

The KOFUKAN logo combines three swords and a circle.

joomla logo black2

 

Swords have a very special meaning in Japanese society and to Japanese people.

In the Samurai era, only Samurai, the ruling class, could wear swords, and his sword was said to be 'the soul of a Samurai'. (If they broke their code of honour, they had tocommit 'hara-kiri' by sword.)

The Samurai sword represents 'spiritual purity'. It's mirror-like surface reflects one's weak mind and improper thoughts, and it's razor-sharp blade will cut them away. Many Shinto shrines have swords as their treasure.

The swords in the logo represent ( MIND, BODY, and TECHNIQUE ) three main purposes of martial arts training . Through practice, a martial artist should develop a 'correct attitude', 'strong body', and' correct techniques' and hopefully attain a high level of spiritual achievement.

The circle represents 'harmony' and 'perfection'. These three aspects should develop in harmony and into perfection. In the design, the circle of harmony joins the three principles together.

So the KOFUKAN logo represents the purpose of martial arts training in general, and of karate study within our Association in particular. The three Japanese letters within the circle read 'SHITO', our style. Also, the area inside the circle represents the lower abdomen ('TANDEN' in Japanese) as the linking point of the three aspects. Only by developing the lower abdomen through abdominal breathing can these three aspects be developed in harmony.

The colours of black and yellow/gold for the Association badges were chosen because they are the colours of the tiger, in order to make a link with the name 'KOFUKAN', which means literally 'tiger (Ko) wind (fu) establishment'(Kan)

 

ITOSU GROUP

Pin'an (Shodan - Godan),

Naihanchin (Shodan - Sandan),

Bassai-Dai,

Bassai-Sho,

Kosokun-Dai,

Kosokun-Sho,

Shiho-Kosokun,

Jitte,

Jiin,

Jion,

Wanshu,

Rohai-Shodan,

Rohai-Nidan,

Rohai-Sandan,

Chinto,

Chintei,

Useishi

 

HIGAONNA GROUP

Sanchin,

Tensho,

Gekisai (Ichi & Ni),

Saifa,

Seienchin,

Seisan,

Seipai,

Sanseiru,

Shissochin,

Kururunfa,

Suparinpai

 

ARAGAKI GROUP

Niseishi,

Sochin,

Unshu

 

MATSUMORA GROUP

Matsukaze,

Koshiki-Rohai

KIYAN

Annanko

UECHI

Shinpa

MABUNI

Juroku,

Seiryu (Aoyagi)

KAKUHO (Crane Method)

Hakucho,

Nipapo,

Papuren

BASSAI variations

Matsumura-no-Bassai,

Tomari-Bassai

UECHI

Higaonna-Seisan,

Sanrinryu

OTHERS

Matsumura-no-Seisan,

Chatan'yara-no-Kosokun,

Ahnan,

Heiku,

Paiku,

Pachu