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Tenchi dojo students are encouraged to practice kata and basics outside of the dojo.  All students should also learn the culture, history, and terminology to become well rounded karateka.  The following information is provided to our current students to support their knowledge and understanding in these areas.  All levels and ranks of students should continuously learn and study in order to understand the entire meaning and purpose of their karate training.

Dojo Kun

Tatsuo Shimabuku’s Code of Conduct

Article 1. The dojo is where the individual's physical and mental condition is trained.

A. Believe that there is a God and human beings are his children.          (Believe in your own faith, but respect others).

B. Military art (budo) begins with a salute and ends with the same.    C. Teachers and students bow to the protecting Goddess of Isshin-        ryu (Megami) and be nice to each other. 

Article 2. Devote one's mental concentration and practice sincerely during the course of training.
Article 3. Smoking and drinking are prohibited while training.
Article 4. Take good care of equipment used in training.
Article 5. Students be respectful to their teachers and teachers be courteous to the students and guide them properly.
Article 6. Violators of the above codes will be dismissed from the dojo.

Kenpo Gokui

Tatsuo Shimabuku’s Code of Isshinryu Karate

  1.    A person's heart is the same as heaven and earth.

  2.    The blood circulating is similar to the sun and moon.

  3.    The manner of drinking and spitting is either hard or soft. 

  4.    A person's unbalance is the same as a weight.

  5.    The body should be able to change directions at any time.

  6.    The time to strike is when the opportunity presents itself.

  7.    The eyes must see all sides.

  8.    The ears must listen in all directions.

Kata of Isshinryu Karate

Our curriculum includes the study of the following empty hand katas and their bunkai (application or analysis), most of which were passed down from the Shorin-ryu and Goju-ryu systems.

Seisan (Shorin-ryu)

Seiunchin (Goju-ryu)


Naihanchi (Shorin-ryu)


Wansu (Shorin-ryu)


Chinto (Shorin-ryu)


Kusanku (Shorin-ryu)


Sunsu (Isshin-ryu) 


Sanchin (Goju-ryu)

Isshinryu Kobudo

After students have reached a level of proficiency in empty hand practice traditional Okinawan kobudo (weapons) kata are then introduced.  The first seven of these weapons kata were taught by Tatsuo Shimabuku to his students.  The last (Kusanku Kama) was developed by Sensei A.J. Advincula to pay tribute to Tatsuo Shimabuku.

Tokumine no Kun

Kyan no Sai


Kusanku Sai


Urashi Bo

Chatan Yara no Sai

Shishi no Kun

Hamahiga no Tuifa

Kusanku Kama (Advincula Sensei Kata)

Isshinryu no Megami


Most Isshinryu students know that the Megami is the symbol of Isshinryu karate; however many do not fully understand the history and meaning of this protecting goddess of Isshinryu.  The word “Megami” means Goddess (“Me” meaning woman and “Gami” meaning God). The proper reference to this protecting goddess is “Isshinryu no Megami” or “Goddess of Isshinryu.”

The Isshinryu no Megami is based on a daydream that Master Tatsuo Shimabuku had in the 1950’s while creating his Isshinryu system. In this dream, a goddess riding a dragon came to Shimabuku and told him that he had enough knowledge and experience to create his own style of karate. It is believed that the goddess was Ryuzu Kannon, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy and Compassion. In his dream, Ryuzu Kannon told Shimabuku to create an image of her incorporating his vision for the new style.

The original Isshinryu patch was developed by Arcenio J. Advincula in 1961. At the time Advincula was a young American Marine and student of Tatsuo Shimabuku. Advincula asked Shimabuku for permission to use the picture of Megami to design the Isshinryu patch. Some of the symbols found within the patch are as follows:

Shape of the Patch The shape of the patch represents a vertical fist, a distinguishing characteristic of Isshinryu karate. 

3 Stars The three stars have multiple meanings and are in the position of the Okinawan kanji (symbol) for one ( — ). Isshinryu means “One-heart way” and Shimabuku believed that “All things begin with one.” The three stars also represent the triads of Mind/Body/Spirit or Shorin-ryu (mother), Goju-ryu (father) and Isshin-ryu (baby). The three stars symbolize all of Tatsuo’s teachers who light the way.

Dragon in the Sky The dragon in the sky is Tatsuo, the Dragon Man (Tatsu meaning dragon and o meaning man).

The Dragon & Tiger The tiger (in Megami’s headress) represents earth and the body. The dragon represents heaven and the mind/spirit. The dragon and tiger therefore represent heaven and earth, yin and yang or the spiritual and physical sides of Isshinryu karate. 

Dark Background  Symbolizes the night and the unknown. The three stars in the night sky represent Shimabuku’s teachers who light the way. 

Gold Border Represents the purity of karate and is a reminder that karate should never be misused.

The Hands of Megami The left hand is open indicating that a karateka (student of karate) always prefers a peaceful solution. The clenched right fist represents the strength to defend if necessary and only as a last resort. 

Half-Woman / Half-Dragon The upper body (woman) illustrates that karate can be as gentle or soft as a woman. The lower body (dragon) shows that, if needed, karate can be as fierce or hard as a dragon. The turbulent water symbolizes the possibility of danger, which is always present. The calm face of the Megami helps one remember to remain calm especially in times of crisis.

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