Period of time: 1885-1969
Choshin Chibana was born into a distinguished family in Okinawa's Shuri Tori-Hori village (presently Naha City, Shuri Tori-Hori Town). Choshin began his study of martial arts under Anko Itosu when he was about fifteen years old, and studied under him for thirteen years. When Itosu died at the age of 85, he continued to practice alone for five years, and then opened his first dojo in Tori-hori district at the age of 34. During the World War II Battle of Okinawa, Chibana lost his family, his livelihood, his dojo, a number of students, and nearly his life. He fled the war, but afterward returned to Shuri from Chinen Village and began teaching again. In May of 1956, the Okinawa Karate Federation was formed and he assumed office as its first President. By 1957, Chibana had received the title of Hanshi (High Master) from the Dai Nippon Butokukai (The Greater Japan Martial Virtue Association). On April 29, 1968, was awarded the 4th Order of Merit by the Emperor of Japan in recognition of his devotion to the study and practice of Okinawan karate-do. Chibana was the last of the pre-World War karate masters, also called the "Last Warrior of Shuri". He was the first to establish a Japanese ryu name for an Okinawan karate style, calling Itosu's karate "Shorin-Ryu" (or "the small forest style") in 1928.
We are the 3rd generation of Midwest Karate Academy, a martial arts school in South Bend, IN. It was founded by Hanshi Tadashi Yamashita and Sensei James Ninios over 50 years ago. Kyoshi Jerry Wroblewski ran it for over 40 of those years. Today, Shihan Kris Gravender and Shidoin Brian Bengtsson continue its legacy and tradition as Suibukan of Indiana, an homage to Osensei Yamashita's organization.