Kenzo Mabuni image

KENZO MABUNI is the son of the founder of Shito-Ryu Karate-Do, the late Kenwa Mabuni.

Kenwa Mabuni (1889 - 1952) first started Karate under Ankoh Itosu at the age of 13 and at the age of 22, studied under Kanryo Higaonna. From Itosu, he mastered the quick and lightning - like (Shorin) techniques and from Higaonna, he mastered the slow (Nahate) techniques emphasising dynamic breathing and muscular control. Using the best and proven of all techniques he had mastered, he formed the Shito-Ryu system. He dedicated the name of Shito from these 2 famous masters; "Shi" pronounced in Japanese character for Itosu and "To" pronounced in Japanese characters for Higa. Today, Shito_Ryu Karate-Do remains one of the four major styles of karate in Japan and it is taught all over the world.

Kenzo Mabuni was born on May 30, 1927 at Akahira-Machi, Shuri City in Okinawa. His family moved to Osaka city in 1929 when he was 2 years old and he remained in his fathers house until now. He obtained permission from his father and joined his school when he was 13 years old and therefore has been in Shito-Ryu Karate-Do for over 60 years.

Soke Kenzo Mabuni

Master Kenzo Mabuni

He first obtained his Shodan (1st Dan) on August 1, 1943 and presently holds the Jyudan (10th Dan) and is a well respected master not only in Japan but also throughout the world.

His organization, Nihon Karate-Do Kai (formerly Dai Nihon Karate-Do Kai) was founded by his father in 1939. After his father's death in 1952, his mother Mrs. Kame Mabuni came to Kenzo Mabuni and requested that he take over the style. Kenzo Mabuni could not decide at that time and went into seclusion for two years to contemplate this great responsibility.

Of course, as we all know he decided to accept this responsibility and is the inheritor of his father's lineage making him the 2nd Governor of Shito-Ryu and successor to this organization. His father left him the Shito-Ryu name, his complete syllabus and the Dojo with the association name Nihon Karate-Do Kai. All these remain intact until today.

He followed his fathers syllabus exactly the way it was written down in 1929, and it is known as Seito Shito-Ryu or "Pure', "True" Shito-Ryu.

(above left) Master Kenzo Mabuni at 2003 USA Taikai. Above Soke is a picture of his father Kenwa Mabuni. Image courtesy Hanshi Del Saito

From that time, Kenzo Mabuni 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 while his older brother and others were spreading their influence in the name of Shito Ryu Karate.

In 1993, at the request of his good friend Ozawa, Kenzo Mabuni travelled to Las Vegas and exposed the world to Seito Shito Ryu, the true karate of his father, Kenwa Mabuni. In April 1994, Kenzo Mabuni conducted seminars in Albany, New York and Phoenix, Arizona. Subsequent to these seminars, Kenzo Mabuni established the Shito Ryu Karate Do Kai of America comprised of Dojo's that had requested of him consideration as his direct students and received formal acceptance by his senior instructors, the Nihon Karate Do Kai Shihan Kai.

Soke Kenzo Mabuni at 2003 USA Taikai.

Kenzo Mabuni emphasizes the training of Karate based on his fathers principles, "Kata (form) is Karate". Kata is the essence of Karate and in training, one should follow his policy: 75% Kata training and 25% Kumite (free or organized sparring) training, besides doing the regular kihon (basics) and exercises. He trained under the watchful eye of his father and would practice hundreds of times for a period of three months or more just to understand and perfect a single Kata.

He was a very devoted teacher and after succeeding his father, his vision was that he would continue his fathers work in promoting this traditional martial art and teach only the true and original form of Shito-Ryu Karate-Do. Sadly Soke Kenzo Mabuni passed away at 2.45pm, on 26 June 2005.

Information provided by Kazuo Sakai Shihan - Taikai images provided by Hanshi Del Saito

[CLICK HERE] to view a welcome letter from Soke Kenzo Mabuni.

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