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Shorin Ryu

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The Shorin Ryu fighting stance

Shōrin-ryū is one of the major modern Okinawan martial arts. It was founded by Choshin Chibana in 1933. Shōrin-ryū combines elements of the traditional Okinawan fighting styles of Shuri-te.

Mortal Kombat

Shorin Ryu is a type of karate used by Kobra in Mortal Kombat: Deception and Johnny Cage in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon.


Chosin Chibana was a top student of the great master of shuri-te, Anko Itosu. Anko Itosu was the top student of Matsumura Sōkon, who was a renowned warrior of his time; bodyguard to three kings of Okinawa, he has been called the Miyamoto Musashi of Okinawa and was dubbed bushi, or warrior, by his king. However, while he is often referred to as the "founder" of Shuri-te, he did not invent all the components of the style. He synthesized his knowledge of Okinawan arts with Chinese martial arts that he learned on his travels and taught it as a coherent system to some eager students, who subsequently refined it, and passed it on. In 1933, Chosin Chibana chose to call his style Shorin-ryu in honor of the Chinese Shaolin roots, and to differentiate it from others styles that were being modified from the original teachings of Anko Itosu. Prior to this time, there were no names for styles in Okinawa (though common in Japan for Japanese martial arts).


Shōrin-ryū is generally characterized by natural breathing, natural (narrow, high) stances, and direct, rather than circular movements (with the exception of Shōrin-ryū Kyudōkan, which makes extensive use of circular movements). Shōrin-ryū practitioners will say that correct motion matters, being able to move quickly to evade violence by having fluid movements and flexible positions is quite important, and that a solid structure is very important for powerful moves. Stances that are too deep will most likely make body movement very difficult.



This is a list of the main kata series studied in Shōrin-ryū karate. Not all kata are practiced by all schools. In some styles of Shōrin-ryū Kihon Kata or Kihongata is taught before Fukyugata or it takes the place of Fukyugata.

  • Kihon series (basic form)
  • Fukyugata series (fundamental/universal class form, also called Fukyu)
  • Taikyoku series (same as fukyugata except by a different name)
  • Naihanchi series (oldest form, where the name came from is unknown, but it is Chinese)
  • Pinan series (created and named by Anko Itosu)
  • Passai series (Unknown where the name came from)
  • Kūsankū series (Named after a Chinese seaman who taught the kata to okinawan)
  • Chintō (Also believe to be the name of a Chinese person who taught the kata)
  • Gojūshiho (54 move kata, also called Useishin)
  • Jion (some believe this is named after a temple in china with the kanji jion)
  • T'sho (named by Katsuya Mirahira who invented the kata)


In 1924, Gichin Funakoshi adopted the Dan system from judo founder Kanō Jigorō using a rank scheme with a limited set of belt colors. In 1960, this practice was adopted in Okinawa.

In a Kyū/Dan system, the beginner grade is a higher-numbered kyū (e.g., 7th Kyū) and progress is toward a lower-numbered Kyū. The Dan progression continues from 1st Dan (Shodan, or 'beginning dan') to the higher dan grades. Kyū-grade karateka are referred to as "color belt" or mudansha ("ones without dan"); Dan-grade karateka are referred to as yudansha (holders of dan rank). Yudansha typically wear a black belt.

Requirements of rank differ among styles, organizations, and schools. Kyū ranks stress stance, balance, and coordination. Speed and power are added at higher grades. Minimum age and time in rank are factors affecting promotion. Testing consists of demonstration of technique before a panel of examiners. Black belt testing is commonly done in a manner known as shinsa, which includes a written examination as well as demonstration of kihon, kumite, kata, and bunkai (applications of technique).

In Shōrin-ryū, one possible rank (belt) progression is listed below. There are many others. For instance, the largest Organization in North America does not use yellow, orange, blue, nor purple belts. Nor are they consistent from school to school.

In Brazil the mudansha are:

  • White Belt (7th Kyū)
  • Yellow Belt (6th Kyū)
  • Orange Belt (5th Kyū)
  • Blue Belt (4th Kyū)
  • Green Belt (3rd Kyū)
  • Purple Belt (2nd Kyū)
  • Brown Belt (1st Kyū)

In Brazil the yudansha are:

  • Black Belt (from the 1st to the 4th Dan, some styles to 9th Dan)
  • Red/Black Belt (5th and 6th Dan, some styles don't use)
  • Red/White Belt (7th and 8th Dan, some styles don't use)
  • Red Belt (9th and 10th Dan, some styles only 10th)

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