Shōrin-ryū (少林流) is one of the major modern Okinawan martial arts and is one of the oldest styles of karate. It was named by Choshin Chibana in 1933, but the system itself is much older. The characters 少林, meaning "sparse" or "scanty" and "forest" respectively and pronounced "shōrin" in Japanese, are also used in the Chinese and Japanese words for Shaolin. "Ryū" means "school". Shōrin-ryū combines elements of the traditional Okinawan fighting styles of Shuri-te.
|Country of origin||Ryūkyū Kingdom|
|Ancestor arts||Okinawan martial arts (Shuri-te)|
|Descendant arts||Shotokan, Isshin-Ryu, Shogen-Ryu, American Kenpo|
|Practitioners||(see notable practitioners)|
Chōshin Chibana was a top student of the great master of shuri-te, Ankō Itosu. Ankō Itosu was the top student of Matsumura Sōkon, who was a renowned warrior in his time; bodyguard to three kings of Okinawa, he has been called the Miyamoto Musashi of Okinawa and was dubbed bushi, or warrior, by his king. However, while Sōkon is often referred to as the "founder" of Shuri-te, he did not invent all of its components. Chōshin Chibana never practiced kobudo. In 1933, Chōshin Chibana chose to name his style Shōrin-ryū in honor of its samurai roots and to differentiate it from other styles that were being modified from the original teachings of Ankō Itosu. Generally, Okinawan karate schools did not have individual names for styles like schools in Japan. Several branches of traditional Shōrin-ryū exist today in both Okinawa and the western world. While there is a more concentrated population of practitioners in its birthplace of Okinawa, Shōrin-ryū Karate has had many high dan grades outside Okinawa.
Shōrin-ryū is generally characterized by natural breathing, natural (narrow, high) stances, and circular, rather than direct movements. Shōrin-ryū practitioners assert that correct motion, moving quickly to evade violence with fluid movements and flexible positions are important, and that a solid structure is vital for powerful blocks and strikes. Stances that are too deep generally make body movement difficult. Another feature in this system is how the student is taught to punch. Generally, there is neither a horizontal nor vertical punch in Shōrin-ryū. Punches are slightly canted to the inside (Isshin-ryū), with the largest knuckle of the forefinger (third from the tip) in vertical alignment with the second knuckle of the pinky finger. It is believed that this position is key in lining up the bones of the arm and creates a faster, more stable and powerful strike.
Some of the key kata in Shōrin-ryū are:p. 30
These are Series not truly thought of as 'kata'
- Fukyu Gata (Popular)
- san (in some schools)
- Kihon (Basics)
Shōrin-ryū Core Kata
- Dai Ni Gojushiho
The following Kata are not taught in all Shōrin-ryū systems or dojo
- Koryu Passai
The study of weapons only starts at dan-level, and weapon kata are not standardised across the style.p. 45. While this maybe true with some Dojos it is not true with all. In many Shorin-ryu dojos Kobudo (Weapons training) is started after the yellow belt.
- Shūgorō Nakazato Shūgorō Nakazato (仲里 周五郎 Nakazato Shūgorō?, August 14, 1920 – August 24, 2016)
- Shorin-Ryu Reihokan Naonobu Ahagon
- Shōrin-ryū Shidōkan normally called Shidōkan or Okinawan Shidōkan
- Shorinkan USA Lineage 
- Shōrin-ryū Seibukan
- Shōrin-ryū Kokau
- Shōrin-ryū Kyudōkan normally called Kyudōkan
- Chubu Shōrin-ryū
- Shōrin-ryū (Shaolin) also known as Shobayashi.
- Ryukyu Shōrin-ryū
- Kobayashi Shōrin-ryū
- Kyobukan Shōrin-ryū
- Matsumura Kenpo Shōrin-ryū
- Matsumura Seito Hakutsuru Shōrin-ryū
- Matsumura Shōrin-ryū
- Jyoshinmon Shōrin-ryū
- Shima-ha Shōrin-ryū
- Yoshudokai Shorin-ryu
In 1924, Gichin Funakoshi, a contemporary of Chibana sensei and also a disciple of Ankō Itosu, adopted the Dan system from judo founder Kanō Jigorō using a rank scheme with a limited set of belt colors to promote Karate-Do among the Japanese. In 1960, this practice was also adopted in Okinawa.
In a Kyū/Dan system, the beginner grade is a higher-numbered kyū (e.g., 7th Kyū) and progress is toward a lower-numbered Kyū. The Dan progression continues from 1st Dan (Shodan, or 'beginning dan') to the higher dan grades. Kyū-grade karateka are referred to as "color belt" or mudansha ("ones without dan"); Dan-grade karateka are referred to as yudansha (holders of dan rank). Yudansha typically wear a black belt.
Requirements of rank differ among styles, organizations, and schools. Kyū ranks gradually stress proper stances, balance, motion and coordination. Speed, timing, focus and power are examined at higher grades. Minimum age and time in rank are factors affecting promotion. Testing consists of demonstration of technique before a panel of examiners. Black belt testing is commonly done in a manner known as shinsa, which includes a written examination as well as demonstration of kihon, kumite, kata, and bunkai (applications of technique).
In Shōrin-ryū, one possible rank (belt) progression is listed below: There are many others. For instance, the largest organization in North America does not use yellow, orange, blue, or purple belts.: Nor are the colors or orders consistent from school to school within an organization.
In the US, the mudansha may vary by style but in general are:
- White Belt (8th Kyū)
- Yellow Belt (7th Kyū)
- Orange Belt (6th Kyū)
- Blue Belt (5th Kyū)
- Green Belt (4th Kyū)
- Purple Belt (3rd Kyū)
- Brown Belt (2nd Kyū)
- Black Belt (1st Kyū)
In the Matsumura Seito style, the belts are:
- White with a Yellow Stripe
- Yellow with a Green Stripe
- Green with a Blue Stripe
- Blue with a Brown Stripe
- Brown (Kobudo also starts here)
- Brown with a Black Stripe
- Black (Shodan)
In the USA some of the styles' yudansha follow this system:
- Black Belt (1st to 3rd Dan)
- Red and Black Checkered Belt (4th to 5th Dan)
- Red and White Checkered Belt (6th to 8th Dan)
- Red Belt (9th to 10th Dan)
Note: The Beikoku Shidokan Association follows the Judo yudansha belt system:
Black Belt for 1st through 6th Dan
Red and White Checkered/paneled Belt for 7th and 8th Dan
Red Belt for 9th and 10th Dan.
- Chosin Chibana (founder)
- Kentsu Yabu
- Hanshi Rick Moore (10th Dan martial artist)
- Joe Lewis (martial artist)
- Mike Stone (karate)
- Bill Wallace (martial artist)
- Jim Kelly (martial artist)
- Shūgorō Nakazato
- John Corcoran (martial arts)
- Tiffany van Soest
- Tadashi Yamashita
- Rina Takeda
- Yukio Sakaguchi
- Leo Howard
- Chris Casamassa
- Katsuya Miyahira
- Higa Yuchoku
- Ankichi Arakaki
- Eizo Shimabukuro
- Ciriaco Cañete
- Robert John Burke
- Larry Belangia Jr
- James Hawkes
- Tim Vandenover
- ^ a b c d e Bishop, Mark (15 October 1999). Okinawan Karate: Teachers, Styles and Secret Techniques. ISBN 0-8048-3205-6.
- ^ a b "Beikoku Shidokan Association, Iha Dojo". Ihadojo.com. Archived from the original on 2012-11-26. Retrieved 2012-11-12.
- ^ a b "History of Okinawan Karate". Okinawa Prefectural Government. 2003. Archived from the original on 15 April 2009.
- ^ a b "Kata of Shuri-te Karate". Okinawa Prefectural Government. 2003. Archived from the original on 26 March 2009.
- ^ a b "Okinawan Shorin-ryu Shorinkan Karate and Kobudo Dojo". Shorinryushorinkan.com. Archived from the original on March 6, 2016. Retrieved 2012-11-12.
- ^ a b Mateusz Staniszew. "World Oshukai Okinawa Shōrin-ryū Karate Do Kobudo Federation". Oshukai.com. Retrieved 2012-11-12.
- ^ a b Cummins, William (1984). Shōrin-ryū: Okinawan karate question and answer book (1st ed.). New York: Person-to-Person Pub. ISBN 9780804814263.
- ^ Reihokan Karate
- ^ North American Shorin-ryu Shorinkan
- ^ World Oshukai Dento Okinawa Shōrin-ryū Karate Do Kobudo Federation
- ^ "Shorin History". Umablackbelt.com. Archived from the original on 2012-11-25. Retrieved 2012-11-12.
- ^ "Sistema de Graduação". Shidokan.com.br. Archived from the original on 2013-02-07. Retrieved 2012-11-12.
- ^ "Beikoku Shidokan Association, Iha Dojo". Ihadojo.com. 2004-08-14. Archived from the original on 2012-07-23. Retrieved 2012-11-12.
- ^ "Beikoku Shidokan". www.ihadojo.com. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
- ^ https://www.linkedin.com/in/master-rick-moore-295b7b51/[self-published source]