The roots of Shuri-Ryu are in Okinawa, especially in the Shuri-Te karate of Ankoh Itosu and Choki Motobu and the Hsing Yi Chuan of Tung Gee Hsing. Robert Trias, the style’s founder, trained with Tung Gee Hsing, who had cross-trained with Choki Motobu earlier in the Okinawan village of Kume Mura. Tung Gee Hsing taught Trias Hsing Yi (the “Intellectual” Fist) and Shuri Karate Kempo. Later Trias studied with Hoy Yuan Ping, Gogen Yamaguchi, Roy Oshiro, Yasuhiro Konishi, Makoto Gima, and several other teachers. Konishi awarded Trias with the 9th Dan in 1964 and was a prominent student of both Choki Motobu and Gichin Funakoshi. Gima was a prominent student of Funakoshi and awarded Trias the 10th Dan in 1983. Both, Konishi and Gima helped Trias reconstruct the old Shuri-Te system of Okinawan karate with some modifications, hence a new name for the system was designated Shuri-Ryu. Shuri-Ryu also incorporated some Naha katas and methods. Robert Trias, the first person to teach karate in the United States in 1945 in Phoenix, Arizona. He opened the first karate school in the nation in 1946 and formed the first karate organization, the United States Karate Association, in 1948. Other styles of karate related to the Trias-line are Shorei-Goju-Ryu and Shorei-Ryu.
In addition to the punches, blocks, and kicks of karate, Shuri-ryu also incorporates joint locks, take-downs and throws, and kobudo (traditional weapons). Shuri-ryu also has several short combinations. These include: 26 ippons (ippon kumite kata), which are performed to develop form and power; 10 taezus (taezu naru waza) which are performed to develop speed and fluidity; 30 kihons which are performed to develop fighting technique; and 8 sen-te motions (thousand hands techniques). In addition, there are additional training exercises including form sparring (kata kumite), focus stance sparring (kime dachi kumite), free exercise (jiju undo), and free sparring (jiju kumite).
One of identifying features of Shuri-ryu is the use of the
Shuri fist in lieu of a standard fist. Instead of curling the index finger when
making the fist,
the index finger is laid flat, and the thumb pushes down on the finger, resulting in a tighter fist. Another feature of Shuri-ryu is the position of the thumb of the knife edge strike or block. The thumb and forefinger form a “j” so that the hand may be used in a variety techniques (ridgehand, spearhand, open-hand throat strikes, etc.) without changing the thumb position.
NATIONAL DOJO KUN
I shall conduct myself in a manner which will reflect credit upon myself and society.
I shall be loyal to my school and to the art it teaches.
I shall be honest and exercise integrity with
the purpose of developing cooperation and trust
with my fellow karate-ka and my teachers.
I shall exercise restraint in the use of my
karate knowledge, employing it only in fair competition or in
defense of my life, my family, or my country.
Shuri Ryu Karate
Robert A. Trias