What is Shito-ryu

Shito-ryu  is a form of karate that was founded in 1931 by 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).


The symbo lof Shito-ryu

The symbol used by the Shito-ryu association, Shito-Kai is the Mabuni family crest or mon. It is said that the circle is representative of ‘wa’ - harmony. And that the straight lines within the circle, closely resemble the Japanese characters for a person, and can be interpreted as ‘people coming together in harmony’.


Characteristics of Shito-ryu

Shito-ryu is a combination style, which attempts to unite the diverse roots of karate. On one hand, Shito-ryu has the physical strength and long powerful stances of Shuri-te derived styles, such as Shorin-ryu and Shotokan; on the other hand, Shito-ryu also has the circular and eight-directional movements, breathing power, and hard and soft characteristics of Naha-te styles such as Uechi-ryu and Goju-ryu.


BSKA practices the traditional Shito ryu kata which feature Shurite and Nahate movements.


Shito-ryu is extremely fast, but still can be artistic and powerful. In addition, Shito-ryu formalizes and emphasizes the five rules of defense, developed by Kenwa Mabuni, and known as Uke no go gensoku, Uke no go genri or Uke no go ho.


  • Rakka, "falling petals". The art of blocking with such force and precision as to completely destroy the opponent's attacking motion. Examples of rakka are the most well-known blocks, such as gedan-barai or soto-uke.

  • Ryusui, "running water". The art of flowing around the attacker's motion, and through it, soft blocking. Examples are nagashi-uke and osae-uke.

  • Kusshin, "elasticity". This is the art of bouncing back, storing energy while recoiling from the opponent's attack, changing or lowering stance only to immediately unwind and counterattack. Classic examples are stance transitions zenkutsu to kōkutsu and moto-dachi  to nekoashi-dachi.

  • Ten'i, "transposition". Ten'i is the utilization of all eight directions of movement, most importantly stepping away from the line of attack.

  • Hangeki, "counterattack". A hangeki defense is an attack which at the same time deflects the opponent's attack before it can reach the defender. Examples of this are various kinds of tsuki-uke, including yama-tsuki.