Nihongo|Shuri-ryu|首里流|Shuri-ryū karate, is an eclectic martial arts system developed by Robert Trias, the first person to teach karate in the mainland United States.Fact|date=August 2008 He opened the first dojo in 1946 in Phoenix, Arizona. Later in 1948 he formed the first karate association in the U.S., The United States Karate Association (USKA).a21011175 The USKA became one of the largest karate associations in the country; its membership included almost all of the early top karate instructors. [John Corcoran and Emil Farkas, Martial Arts: Traditions, History, People (Gallery Books, 1983), pg. 387.] . The style of Shuri-ryu is taught in the United States, parts of Europe, and South America it is is related to other Trias styles of karate such as Shorei-Goju Ryu, Shorei-ryu, and Shorei Kai.


Shuri-ryu is a style that has a lineage coming from a variety of sources, including Shuri-te. Other influences, include Naha-te [John Corcoran and Emil Farkas, Martial Arts: Traditions, History, People (Gallery Books, 1983), pg. 71.] ., XingYi (Hsing-Yi), and Japanese karate.

Trias was first introduced to karate while in the Navy during World War II, when he was stationed in the Soloman Islands. Reportedly,Who|date=August 2008 in 1942, he met T'ung Gee Hsing and began training with him. Hsing practiced the Chinese system of Xingyiquan and had reportedly cross-trained with Choki Motobu in the Okinawan village of Kume Mura several years previously. Later Trias reportedly studied with Hoy Yuan Ping in Singapore in 1944. In addition to these teachers, Trias learned from other martial art teachers, such as Yajui Yamada (Judo), Gogen Yamaguchi (Goju-Ryu), Roy Oshiro (Goju-Ryu), Yasuhiro Konishi (Shindo Jinen Ryu), Makoto Gima (Shotokan, Shito-Ryu), and several others. Both Konishi and Gima served as mentors to Trias instead of in a formal teacher-student relationship.

Konishi trained with many karate teachers including both Choki Motobu and Gichin Funakoshi, [Patrick McCarthy, The Bible of Karate: Bubishi (Tuttle, 1995), pg. 54.] and recognized Trias as 9th Dan in 1964. This date is contested by some as inaccurate and date the 9th Dan rank in 1974 or 1975, about the same year that Konishi declared Trias to be the style head of Shuri-Ryu. Gima was a prominent student of Funakoshi and recognized Trias as 10th Dan in 1983 reaffirming Trias as style head for Shuri-Ryu.


In addition to the punches, blocks, and kicks of karate, Shuri-ryu also incorporates joint locks, take-downs and throws, and kobudo (traditional weapons). Several senior sensei also hold high ranks in jujitsu and judo.

Shuri-ryu also has several short combinations. These include: 26 ippons (ippon kumite kata), which are performed to develop form and power; 10 taezus (taezu naru waza) which are performed to develop speed and fluidity; 30 kihons which are performed to develop fighting technique; 8 sen-te motions; and 7 kogeki-ho to develop attacking and retreating.

In addition, there are additional training exercises including form sparring (kata kumite), focus stance sparring (kime dachi kumite), free exercise (jiju undo), and free sparring (jiju kumite).


Shuri-ryu has three form exercies called Taikyoku Ichi, Ni, and San to prepare the student to learn the 15 core forms (kata):
* Anaku
* Empi Sho (Wanshu)
* Sanchin
* Naihanchi Sho (Tekki Shodan)
* Naihanchi Ni (Tekki Nidan)
* Naihanchi San (Tekki Sandan)
* Tsue Sho No Kon
* Bassai Dai
* Go Pei Sho
* Dan Enn Sho
* Nan Dan sho (Nijushiho / Niseishi)
* Kanku Sho (Kusanku Sho)
* Tekatana No Sai
* Ten Sho

Besides these forms, Sanchin and Tensho have alternate ways of performing the forms. Also, the senior sensei of Shuri-Ryu also teach several other forms such as Shudo So and Hakutsuru Shodan, Nidan, Sandan, and Yondan.

Many of the above kata emphasize the use of various animal forms, and the definitions are often reflective of this. For example, Wunsu (Strong Arm Dumping Form) uses the tiger form, Anaku refers to a swallow pivoting on a beach, Empisho (First Elbow Form) refers to the flying swallow, and Go Pei Sho refers to a tearing peacock. Some kata will emphasize multiple animal forms, such as Dan Enn Sho, where ten animals are emulated. Also, there are 18 animal body and fist form exercises.


The Shuri-ryu style, like most systems of the martial arts, uses a belt system to designate rank. The appropriate rank is awarded when the student demonstrates a certain level of proficiency when performing the required techniques, kata, etc. The ranking system as spelled out in "The Pinnacle of Karate" by Trias is as follows:

* White (hachikyu)
* Yellow (shichikyu)
* Blue (rokyu)
* Green (gokyu)
* Purple (yonkyu)
* Brown (sankyu, nikyu, ikkyu)
* Black (shodan through judan)

At each rank, the student must also pass a rigorous physical requirement before performing the technical requirements. Running one or two miles (up to green = 1 mile, purple and beyond = 2 miles), lifting 10 or 15 lb weights 75 times over the head (depending on gender), performing 500 front kicks, and various hand technique exercises are commonly used.

Identifying features

One characteristic feature of Shuri-ryu is the use of the Shuri fist, in lieu of a standard fist. Instead of curling the index finger when making the fist, the upper half of the index finger is laid flat against the palm, with the thumb curled around the index finger and pushing down between the first and second joints, resulting in a tighter fist and better alignment of the ulna and radius bones with the first two knuckles of the fist.

Another feature of Shuri-ryu is the position of the thumb of the knife hand strike or block. The thumb and forefinger form a "j" so that the hand may be used in a variety of techniques (ridgehand, spearhand, open-hand throat strikes, etc.) without changing the thumb position.

The Dojo Kun used by the style of Shuri-ryu remains in its intact form, as originally penned by Trias:

* I shall conduct myself in a manner which will reflect credit upon myself and society.
* I shall be loyal to my school and to the art it teaches.
* I shall be honest and exercise integrity with the purpose of developing cooperation and trust with my fellow karate-ka and my teachers.
* I shall exercise restraint in the use of my karate knowledge, employing it only in fair competition or in defense of my life, my family, or my country.

Chief Instructors and Senior Sensei

Prior to 1989, Trias had designated 8 Chief Instructors of the Shuri-Ryu system to perpetuate Shuri-Ryu after his passing. They are: Roberta Trias-Kelly, John Pachivas, Robert Bowles, Ridgely Abele, Pete Rabino, Michael Awad, Dale Benson, and Dirk Mosig.

Other individuals who were designated Chief Instructors at one time but left Trias are [ Victor Moore] , [ Phillip Koeppel] , John Hutchcroft, and Randy Holman.

Traditionally, a karate system was owned by the family of the founder. Thus, upon Trias' death in 1989, his daughter, Roberta Trias-Kelly, inherited the Shuri-Ryu system as style head. Chief Instructor Dirk Mosig followed her leadership. Many other Chief Instructors followed the leadership of John Pachivas as style head of Shuri-Ryu.Fact|date=April 2008

In 1995 John Pachivas appointed Robert Bowles as style head of Shuri-Ryu. Bowles founded the International Shuri-Ryu Association (ISA) with the following Chief Instructors as Executive Directors: John Pachivas, Ridgely Abele, Pete Rabino, Michael Awad, and Dale Benson. Since then, the International Shuri-Ryu Association under Robert Bowles has become the largest organization of Shuri-Ryu stylists and has appointed more Chief Instructors and more Assistant Chief Instructors for the ISA.

Currently, there appears to be three strains of Shuri-Ryu each, respectively, centering around Roberta Trias-Kelly, Robert Bowles, and Victor Moore.

The instructors below are either spelled out to be Chief Instructors in "The Pinnacle of Karate" or affiliated with the ISA. They should be sought out as sources of Shuri-Ryu knowledge.

Chief Instructors

* Roberta Trias-Kelley 10th Dan Arizona
* John Pachivas (deceased) 10th Dan Florida
* Robert Bowles 10th Dan Indiana
* Ridgely Abele 9th Dan South Carolina
* Pete Rabino 8th Dan California
* Michael Awad 8th Dan Ohio
* Dale Benson 8th Dan Arizona
* Dirk Mosig 8th Dan Nebraska
* Joseph W. Walker 8th Dan Illinois
* Vitus Bilking 8th Dan Denmark
* George Sheridan, Jr. 7th Dan Indiana
* Tony Bisanz 7th Dan Arizona

International Shuri-Ryu Association Council members

* Tony Bisanz 7th Dan Arizona
* Sandra Bowles 7th Dan Indiana
* Milt Calander 7th Dan Arizona
* John Linebarger 7th Dan Arizona
* Joseph W. Walker 8th Dan Illinois


See also

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