Welcome to the Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan Boland Dragons Karate web page.

You will find the history of Shorin-Ryu Karate and Kobudo in South Africa, the latest news and links to Boland Dragons Shorin-Ryu Karate.

Shorin-Ryu South Africa, lead by Kyoshi Claude Johnson (8th Dan), practices traditional Okinawan Shorin-Ryu Karate ( Kobayashi-Ryu ) as taught by our Grandmaster, Nakazato Shugoro “Hanshi JuDan”.

As a National organization, we are affiliated to the Okinawan Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan via Kyoshi Doug Perry (9th Dan) under the direct mentorship of Kyoshi Pat Haley (8th Dan)

Our passion is Shorin-Ryu Karate and we trust that you will enjoy your visit to the home of Boland Dragons Shorin-Ryu Karate in South Africa.

Okinawa History

Karate has its origins in the small island of Okinawa which is now part of Japan. In its history Okinawa was occupied by the Chinese and later by the Japanese. Both invading forces would not allow the people of Okinawa to carry arms and so the Okinawans, secretly, learned to fight with the open / empty hand; or in Okinawan, KARATE.

Many of the karate techniques were brought to Okinawa by various Chinese military attaches who had a strong knowledge of the Chinese KEMPO fighting style. It is also possible that fighting styles from Siam (Thailand) and India had an influence. Okinawa had its own fighting style called TE which was the basis of karate practised today.

Many Karate masters have developed their own styles; some lasting only as long as the master, while others, like Shorin-Ryu, have survived and are practiced worldwide.

Sokon MATSUMURA (1797 – 1889) is believed to be the founder of Shorin-Ryu. Sokon Matsumura was given the title BUSHI, by the Okinawan king, which means “warrior”. His fighting skills were legendary and he served as the King’s bodyguard for many years. He also spent much time in China studying the shaolin style of Chinese boxing and weaponry. Matsumura is credited as the originator of the Passai, Naihanchi and Kusanku kata’s. Legend has it that he was never defeated in a fight.

Sokon “Bushi” Matsumura’s Shorin-Ryu style was continued by his student Yasutsune ANKOH ITOSU (1832 – 1916) until 1915. Itosu simplified the Naihanchi kata and developed the Pinan kata, which were taken from more advanced kata. The Pinan kata were more suitable to introduce to Okinawan schools as part of the physical education curriculum.

Chosin CHIBANA (1885 – 1969) succeeded Itosu as Grandmaster of Shorin-Ryu and taught Itosu’s karate without alteration. He is said to have officially named the style Shorin-Ryu Kobayashi, adopting the Chinese characters that literally mean “small wood/forest”. He remained Grandmaster until 1969 when the current Grandmaster, Shugoro Nakazato, took over.

Shugoro NAKAZATO (1920 –     ) is one of the most influential karate Grandmasters in Okinawa today. Nakazato added the Kihon and Fukyu kata to the syllabus and is a skilled kobudo practioner who teaches bo, sai, tonfa, kama and nunchaku kata. In 1980 he was promoted to the rank of 10th degree Black Belt. Hanshi JuDan NAKAZATO sensei is one of the most influential living karate Grand Masters in Okinawa and has travelled widely to promote the traditional Okinawan Shorin-Ryu ShorinKan Karate (Kobayashi-ryu) system.

South African History and Executive

In 1993, a group of former Funakoshi (SA) karateka, led by then Shihan Claude Johnson, identified the need to associate with a unique style of karate, steeped in tradition, but not yet established in South Africa. For this reason Shihan Claude led a delegation that visited with Kyoshi Noel Smith (member of the U.S. Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan Kyokai) during November 1993.

This visit led to the creation of Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan South Africa on 15 January 1994. The inaugural meeting, that resulted in the establishment of Shorin-Ryu South Africa, was attended by: Claude Johnson, Pieter Viljoen, Martin Erasmus, Gawie Radue, Bets Waldeck, Joey Swanton, Ina Jansen van Vuren, Riaan Coetzee, Willem Joubert, Sheldon Barnes, Andre Joubert, Ian Lamont and Carel van der Westhuizen.

The first Shihan-Kai comprised of Sensei’s Claude Johnson, Geoff Landless and Pieter Viljoen.

Today Shorin-Ryu South Africa is established as one of the foremost karate styles in South Africa with several karateka having competed with distinction on national and international level.

Shorin-Ryu South Africa practices Kobayashi-Ryu as taught by our Grandmaster, Shugoro Nakazato. As a national organization we are affiliated to the Okinawan Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan via Kyoshi Doug Perry under the direct mentorship of Kyoshi Pat Haley.

Currently the NATIONAL EXECUTIVE bodyis comprised by Kyoshi Claude Johnson, Kyoshi Riaan Coetzee, Renshi Sheldon Barnes, Renshi Tom Hayes, Renshi Steve Johnson, Renshi Karl von der Marwitz, Renshi Marthinus Carr, Renshi Anton van den Heever and Sensei Andries Douglas.