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What is Shito-ryu?

Shito-ryu Karate was founded by Master Kenwa Mabuni.

He learnt Shuri-te from Master Yasutsune Itosu and Naha-te from Master Kanryo Higaonna. The name 'Shito' is just the combination of "shi" and "to" , the two first characters of the names of Master Itosu and Master Higaonna. In Japanese the spelling of a single Kanji is different of it's spelling in a word, Shito-ryu (ryu means style) isn't just a mix of Shuri-te and Naha-te (Shuri-te means technique (te) from the citadel Shuri, Okinawa.

Naha-te means technique from the port-town Naha, Okinawa), since Master Mabuni's thirst for knowledge led him to other masters for instruction too.

At first he taught his own students pure Shuri-te then pure Naha-te, but he also gave instruction in other master's styles.

In Japan, Shotokan-ryu, Wado-ryu, Goju-ryu and Shito-ryu are the four main styles. Shito-ryu is the style which preserves most of the original Shuri techniques, compared with other styles such as Shotokan and Wado. It also preserves original Naha techniques, as does Goju-ryu, although each style emphasises different points. Technically, Shuri-te and Tomari-te have rather fast and straight movements, while Naha-te has circular and supple movements.