“Hanashiro’s karate is distinguished from Shorin ryu styles in that blocking and punching is performed as one action rather than two.
Hanashiro Chomo’s karate preserves the original forms of Itosu Anko which were first introduced at the Okinawan Teacher’s Training College in 1901. The style utilises simplicity and economy of movement, taking what was functional and practical from the pre-twentieth century Syuri-ti styles and discarding the rest.
It develops a strong foundation and increased level of fitness making it an ideal system for group instruction. Early training focusses on acquiring correct body-dynamics in the core movements and techniques to promote healthy mental and physical development.
Hanashiro karate is suited to close to mid-range defences from attackers and includes punches, strikes, kicks, stopping techniques, locks and throws.
Despite the obvious influence Hanashiro Chomo had in the Okinawan karate community of his time, his teachings have largely remained in the shadows for the past seventy years. Nakandakari Kanzou, his most senior student and close friend, officially inherited the teachings but did not seek to popularise the style further. In turn he instructed Higa Kiyohiko of Shuri and in 2011 conferred successorship’ to him.
A former student of Matsumura Sokon, Hanashiro continued his training under Itosu upon the latter’s death. He remained under Itosu Anko and would subsequently continue the work of the school program on Okinawa as well as heading the Okinawan Toudi Research Society where senior teachers of karate came together to exchange ideas and techniques.
The content and practice of kata preserved in Hanashiro karate will likely be of great interest and benefit to those experienced in a modern karate style such as Shotokan because they are unchanged from those first taught by Itosu Anko. Further evidence supporting this can be found in the variations of the kata by other students of Itosu who went on to found a number of ‘Shorin ryu’ karate styles.
Table 0.1 Simplified Hanashiro Syuri-ti lineage: