History of Isshinryu Karate
Karate was Master Shimabuku’s way of life, but at that time the art would not earn a living for most of its experts. With the advent of World War II and the forced conscription of thousands of Okinawan men, Master Shimabuku and his family sought refuge on another island. Shortly before the Japanese surrender, the Battle of Okinawa devastated the island, its economy and its inhabitants. The Japanese stubbornly resisted the Allied Forces from its headquarters in the ancient castle at Shuri. The Americans dropped tons of explosives on the island and waged bloody infantry tactics. Most of the ancient buildings, gardens and monuments of the ancient Ryukyuan kingdom were destroyed, and over 100,000 civilians were killed (along with an additional 100,000 soldiers). After the Japanese were defeated, the Americans occupied Okinawa and began a massive effort of reconstruction. Having returned to Okinawa, Master Shimabuku resumed farming, until Okinawan civilians and, later, American servicemen began to seek him out for instruction in karate. In the early 1950’s, Master Shimabuku decided to establish a formal dojo at his home in Chun Village, and became one of the first successfully professional sensei’s. Later, the school’s success prompted Master Shimabuku to move his dojo to Agena, where large numbers of Americans could have access to his instruction.