Period of time: 1831-1915
Itosu began his tode (karate) study under Nagahama Chikudun Pechin. His study of the art led him to Sokon Matsumura. He was famous for the superior strength of his arms, legs and hands. Itosu served as a secretary to the last king of the Ryukyu Islands until Japan abolished the Okinawa-based native monarchy in 1879. In 1901, he was instrumental in getting karate introduced into Okinawa's schools. In 1905, Itosu was a part-time teacher of To-te at Okinawa's First Junior Prefectural High School. It was here that he developed the systematic method of teaching karate techniques that are still in practice today. He created and introduced the Pinan forms as learning steps for students, because he felt the older kata were too difficult for schoolchildren to learn. The five Pinan forms were created by drawing from two older forms: kusanku and chiang nan. Itosu is also credited with taking the large Naihanchi form and breaking it into the three well-known modern forms Naihanchi Shodan, Naihanchi Nidan, and Naihanchi Sandan. While Itosu did not invent karate himself, he codified the kata learned from his master, Matsumura. He taught many karate masters, including Gichin Funakoshi . Itosu’s head student and successor was Chosin Chibana, who formed Kobayashi Shorin-Ryu from Itosu's version of Shuri-Te.
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.