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Kenzo Mabuni 2nd Soke



Kenzo Mabuni Soke was born on 30 May 1927 at Akahira-Machi, Shuri city, in Okinawa and moved with his family to Osaka two years later.


He obtained permission from his father and joined his school as a 13-year-old and went on to practise Shito-Ryu karate-do for over 60 years. He even lived in the same house up until his death.


Kenzo Mabuni Soke obtained his Shodan (1st Dan) on 1 August 1943 and at the time of his death held the rank of Jyudan (10th Dan) and was a respected master not only in Japan but also throughout the world.

His organisation, Nihon Karate-Do Kai (formerly known as Dai-Nihon Karate-Do Kai) was founded by his father in 1939. His father left him the Shito-Ryu name, his complete syllabus and the dojo with the association name Nihon Karate-Do Kai, all of which remain intact today.


Kenzo Mabuni Soke followed his father’s syllabus exactly the way it was written down in 1929, which is why people called it Seito Shito-Ryu or pure, true Shito-Ryu. It is interesting to note, however, that Kenzo Mabuni Soke himself did not use the term seito to describe his organisation; he simply called it Shito-Ryu. In Japan, his students and followers refer to the style as ‘traditional Shito-Ryu’. The term seito is frequently used outside of Japan to describe the style as being the original Shito-Ryu of Kenwa Mabuni.


Kenzo Mabuni Soke dedicated his life to preserving the true lineage of his father’s karate. He was not concerned with politics or image and remained unknown to the outside world until 1993, when he travelled to the USA to reveal the true karate of his father, Mabuni Kenwa. Kenzo Mabuni Soke was the President of Shito-Ryu International Karate-Do Kai the organisation that co-ordinates all of the member countries throughout the world. Today, there are official representatives appointed by Kenzo Mabuni in 12 countries outside of Japan.


Kenzo Mabuni Soke emphasised the training of karate based on his father’s principle, “Kata (form) is karate”. Kata is the essence of karate and in training, his policy is, 75 per cent kata training and 25 per cent kumite (free or organised sparring), besides doing the regular kihon (basics) and exercises.


He trained under the watchful eye of his father and would practise hundreds of times making sure that he started the kata facing north, south, east and west, rather than always in the same direction  for a period of three months or more, just to understand and perfect each single kata.


Soke Mabuni knew the importance of repetition and advised that, when practising kata, focus should be on correct basic techniques, breathing, posture, dachi (stance), bunkai (the meaning and application of the movements) and tenshin happo, the eight directions of movement. He also stressed the importance of chakugan (focus) and zanshin (awareness), and that kata should always start and end with rei (bowing).


This is an extract from an article written by Mike Williams Sensei and published in Blitz magazine. The contents were translated into Japanese and approved by Kenzo Mabuni Soke prior to his death.      Click here  to read the entire article.


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