Chosin Chibana was born in Shuri on June 5, 1886, into a modest family. As a boy, he worked in the fields to help with his family's livelihood. He attended Okinawa Prefectual Grammer School. In 1898, Chibana successfully met the requirements necessary to enter Okinawa Prefectural Daiich Middle School, but left school in mid-course in 1900 to become a student of the widely known authority of Karate, Ankoh Itotsu. Chibana devoted 13 years of his life to the study of Karate under Itotsu Sensei.
During this time, Chibana was a classmate to men like himself, who were to leave their mark on Karate across the world. Students studying under Itotsu Sensei with Chibana were Kenwa Mabuni, Choki Oshiro, and Masashige Shiromo, to just name a few. In 1920, Chibana Sensei opened two dojos, one in Shuri and one in Naha. Shortly before this time, Karate had been introduced to mainland Japan by several of Chibana's classmates, Kenwa Mabuni and Gichin Funakoshi. During this surge of interest in Karate, many Karatemen sought ways of making what they knew more appealing, but Chibana Sensei maintained that it would take him a lifetime to understand thoroughly what he had been taught by Itotsu Sensei. He devoted his life to this principle. He could often be heard sayging, "Karate is teaching Kata we have taken from forefathers without changing it at all." When the many changes were taking place in Karate with the naming of different systems by Ryu names, Chibana Sensei named his system Shorin-Ryu to denote that he was teaching exactly as he had been taught by Itotsu Sensei. While training his students, he also coached students at three universities in mainland Japan; Takushoku University, Tyo University and Nihon University, through explanation of military exercise before the Pacific War.
After the war when Okinawa had recovered from the destitution, Chibana Sensei started to teach again to those students who had not been killed in the war. Many of his top students served and died for the Japanese Imperial Army. Having devoted his life to teaching Karate and never having another vocation, in 1956 at the age of 71, he organized the Okinawa Karate Federation and took offfice as its first president. This was a big step for Chibana Sensei because the Okinawa Karate Federation was made up of main Ryus that had developed in Okinawa. In 1957, because of his efforts to unite Karate on Okinawa and his total dedication to Karate, he was given the degree of "Hanshi no Sogo" (Doctorial Master) by the Dai Nippon Butokukai. This was the highest rank ever given to any Karate insructor and no one has received this rank since. In 1960, he was awarded a special athletic prize by the Okinawa Times.
In 1961, he seceded from the presidency of the Okinawa Karate Federation to devote more time to his disciples. At this time, he organized the Okinawa Shorin-Ryu Karate Association made up of his disciples. From this time, although 76 years old, he devoted all his energies to his followers. In February 1969, at the age of 84, Chibana Sensei passed away after a short illness, leaving behind him a life completely devoted to Karate and the almost impossible feat of having trained five of his disciples, Chozo Nakama, Katsuya Miyshira, Kensei Kinjo, Yucho Ku Higa, and Shugoro Nakazato, to the level of Kyudan (9th Degree) Karate Master.
Grandmaster Shugoro Nakazato
Shugoro Nakazato was born in Naha City, Okinawa. At the age of 16, while attending normal school in Osaka, Japan in 1935, he began his lifelong karate study under the direction of Ishu Seiichi. Nakazato studied under Sensei Ishu for six years. During World War II he was in the Japanese cavalry. Following the surrender of Japan, Nakazato returned to his home in Okinawa to find his family a casualty of the war. In June 1946, he began his study of karate under Chosin Chibana, who was the Menkyo inheritor of Anko Itotsu. In 1948 Chibana's Shuri dojo closed, but Nakazato continued his study with Master Chibana, being personally tutored for over a year in Chibana's own home. In 1951 Nakazato was instrumental in helping Chibana open his new Dai Ichi Dojo in Naha city at Natsuo. Chibana continued his personal teaching of Nakazato at the Dai Ichi Dojo until January 10, 1954, when Nakazato received his Shihan Menkyojo and became Master Chibana's Shihan Dai (Main Assistant). After working as the Shihan Dai in the Matsuo dojo under Chibana's direction for one and a half years, Nakazato was commissioned by Chibana to found the Shorin-ryu Shorin Kan Nakazato dojo in Naha city at Aza.
Nakazato was appointed as one of the directors of the Okinawan Karate Federation when it was formed in 1956 with the four major (shiryuha) system of karate in Okinawa (Goju-ryu, Ueichi-ryu, Shorin-ryu (Ko) and Shorin-Ryu (Natsu)). During this time Nakazato devoted all of his time and energy to teaching and perfecting Shorin-ryu karate. In 1960, the Okinawan Karate Federation promoted him to Eighth Degree Black Belt and titled him Kyoshi. Seven years later Nakazato continued his progress in karate when Master Chibana and the Okinawan Shorin-ryu Karate-Do Kyokai promoted him to Ninth Degree Black Belt and bestowed the title Hanshi on him.
Nakazato began his study of weapons almost from the beginning of his training in 1935. He was trained in the sai, bo, nunchaku, tonfa and nicho kama, but specialized in bojutsu for four years. Throughout his career he has given of his knowledge willingly. He has demonstrated his technique of karate all over the world and has made many trips to America in the furtherance of Karate-do. When Master Chibana passed away in February 1969, Shugoro Nakazato inherited the leadership of Okinawan Shorin-ryu Karate-do, thus becoming the Tenth Degree Black Belt.
Kyoshi Doug Perry
Kyoshi Doug Perry began his career in 1946 as an amateur boxer in Charlotte, North Carolina at the age of nine. During his boxing career he participated in 147 bouts in Golden Glove, AAU, and the marine corps. He won state, regional, and national titles and officially retired from the ring in 1959 following the 1960 Olympic trials. At the age of 14, he had the distinction of fighting a four-round exhibition match against bantamweight Champion of the world, Willie Pep.
Sensei Perry started his martial arts training in September of 1956 at Parris Island. Since that time he has had the opportunity to train under Hanshi Tatsuo Shimabuku in Isshin-Ryu Karate-do at the old Agenda dojo in Okinawa. He has studied with Kyoshi Bill Hayes of Shobayashi Ryu, one of Hanshi Eizo Shimabukuro's senior students. The karate relationship and special friendship has lasted for over 30 years. While stationed in Okinawa, Kyoshi Perry had the additional honor of interacting with Sensei Kanei Uechi of Uechi-Ryu and Sensei Takemyoshi of an Old Okinawan Family System.
During 1974 to 1975, again in Okinawa, he studied with Kyoshi Jiro Shiroma, a senior student of Hanshi Shuguro Nakazato. Since that time he has been a student of Hanshi Nakazato.In 1997 Kyoshi Doug Perry recieved the rank of Hachidan from Hanshi Nakazato and was appointed to represent the Shorinryu Shorinkan Kyokai in North America. Kyoshi Perry presently operates a small dojo in Hendersonville, NC.