Our style of martial arts is called Shorin Ryu White Crane.
‘Shorin’ is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese “Shaolin.”
Shaolin means ‘young forest.’ It refers to an ancient, influential martial arts training center located at a Buddhist temple complex in what is now Henan Province, China.
A ‘Ryu’ in Japanese is a teaching lineage. ‘Kara’ means empty. ‘Te’ means hands.
Shorin Ryu is the name adopted by a number of martial arts styles that are practiced on the island of Okinawa.
Okinawa is located between Japan and China. It is part of Japan now, and the people speak Japanese, but for much of its history it was closely associated with China.
The Okinawan people traveled to China as diplomats, traders and fishermen. There they learned Chinese language, technology, culture and martial arts, especially the martial arts used in the coastal cities of Fujian Province. Among those arts the White Crane style was prominent. Its characteristic sinuous motion unifying the whole body and mind, were suited to increased vitality and vigorous self defense.
The kata we use in our style were transmitted through Shoshin Nagamine’s Matsubayashi-ryu, and have been reunited with Hakustsuru White Crane body mechanics, energy transmission and technique application.
Beginner and intermediate kata:
普 及 型 一 Fukyugata Ichi – introductory kata by Sensei Nagamine
普 及 型 二 Fukyugata Ni – introductory kata by Chojun Miyagi
ピンアン 初段 – 五段 Pinan Shodan through Godan – intermediate kata
ナイハンチ 初段 – 三段 Naihanchi Shodan through Sandan – intermediate kata
Black Belt kata:
王 冠 Wankan
鷺 牌 Rohai
汪 楫 Wanshu
拔 塞 Passai
鎮 闘 Chinto
公 相 君 Kusanku
Sensei Nagamine’s generation learned these kata with Kyan Sensei and others.
In the pre-industrial times on Okinawa there was no such thing as a ‘civilian.’ Everyone worked – as a farmer or fisherman, trader or artisan. And if there was a threat to the island or to their community everyone pitched in to defend it. Then, when the danger ended, they went back to their homes and jobs and families.
Martial arts were a needed practical skill. Just as everyone needed to know how to grow food or to fish, how to navigate on the water and the land, how to repair their house or get fresh water, everyone needed to know how to take care of themselves and their family.
To cultivate martial art skills they needed consistent practice, in a group.
To encourage a systematic approach our training uses ranks or grades. These are indicated by belt colors – white, green, brown and black. After black belt there is no change of the color of the belt, except as it naturally turns white over time.
The first ranks include tests of mastery of specific katas and other skills demonstrating speed, power, and contact training.
The white belt ranks are Rokyu and Gokyu
Green belt ranks are Yonkyu and Sankyu
Brown Belt ranks are Ni Kyu and Ikkyu
The black belt ranks are Shodan and up.
Yudansha are not limited to specfic kata. Black belts are introduced to deeper technique, step by step, through advanced kata practice.
Over the years as the ‘traditional martial arts’ were brought to the modernizing world – to the US, Europe and Japan – there was an emphasis on standardizing and simplifying the arts, so people could learn them in a shorter time and benefit from them. This version was widely taught.
Now, by training with committed Chinese and Okinawan practitioners who preserved their ancient style,
we have access to a martial art that is both profound and practical. Skill in full-body mechanics, energy flow and transmission, technique application, and other dimensions that made Shorin Ryu White Crane and its descendant arts powerful and useful are being practiced again, here.
Mountain Karate Dojo offers anyone who wants it a means to cultivate a strong mind and an intelligent body, through the practice of Shorin Ryu White Crane Karate.
(Drawings, prints and paintings on this site are original art by Tarleton Brooks, copyright©1999-2017 Tarleton Brooks )