THE RESULT OF INCREDIBLE TRAINING
Seiken Shukumine was born in 1925 in the city of Nago, Okinawa, and inherited the pedigree of the King of Ryukyu. His grand father was a lawyer and his father was an educator and a friend of Gichin Funakoshi. Seiken Shukumine’s father persuaded him to learn karate-do.
Seiken Shukumine’s first teacher, was the master Anko Sadoyama, who was an expert of Koryu Karate-do. At that time Shukumine was not but 8 years old. The training was at first merely emphasized on improving his physical condition than actual training in the art of karate-do. Nevertheless the training was extremely demanding.
The part of training, which Seiken Shukumine was required to do was to leap over a hedge of hibiscus. The height of this young plant is just 25 cm, but the power of which it is growing is incredible as it grows with a speed of 1 cm a day. Leaping over a hedge of hibiscus represented the conflict between the growth and height of the plans vs. the power needed to jump over it. In other words it can be expressed as a battle between nature and man, which would finally lead to greater leaping ability.
By winning the battle against the plant, he acquired a stronger body and an incredible jumping ability. To his own surprise, he could jump nearly 2 meters as he grew up to be a grown man.
Later Seiken Shukumine studied the art of karate-do under the old master Soko Kishimoto, who was an unparalleled warrior who created his own style of fighting through his experience of Kaketaoshi (real fighting) during his youth.
Master Kishimoto believed that: “In Goju-ryu and Kamichi-ryu, the only aim was to build a hard body, which in reality is not enough in a real fight. Punching un-trained targets, such as the eyes or the groin is quicker. Punching at vital points on the body is therefore the strongest”.
Kishimoto emphasized the methods of soft (ju) rather than the methods of hard (go), an as such teaching Shukumine the practical skills of quicker, accurate performance, contraction in movements as well as aiming for the vital points.
The training was off course done strictly without any warding, imitation or quarrel, and the training continued this way until the old master nodded. Kishimoto always guided Shukumine into choosing one techniques, which suited him best and the through training it over and over again reaching the summit of the technique. Kishimoto always guided Shukumine with the words: “One technique one thing”.
In a period of five years between the ages of 13 and 18 years, he learned only 3 different kata, which were Naihanchi, Koshokun-dai and Bassai. Naihanchi no kata was thought upon as a being the essence of karate-do, and thus Seiken Shukumine spent almost two years learning only this kata, while standing in a paddy field.
CLUES FOUND DURING HEAT OF WAR
Suddenly time changed, and World War II broke out. After having enlisted in the navy in 1944, Seiken Shukumine was assigned to Kikusuitai, which was a special attack force.
The aim of this attack force was to attack enemy ships using a specialized submarine, which unfortunately had a week point. In spite of being equipped with a rudder it basically just moved in a straight line. Because of this, it was of no actual use in combat, if the enemy’s attack was faster or the distance to the place of an attack was long.
If you transfer the issue of the submarine to the karate-do games of nowadays, the outcome of battle is merely controlled by the competitor’s height and physical appearance than the differences in their techniques. With the experience from the navy in mind, Seiken Shukumine seized the opportunity to figure out how a smaller and weaker person could be able to defeat over a bigger and more powerful person.
After having escaped the heat of war, Seiken Shukumine devoted himself to the development of a new style of Budo, which would transcend the them of a smaller and weaker person getting the advantage and control over a bigger and more powerful person. Seiken Shukumine devoted himself to the completion of this new concept while he stayed isolated in the mountains and on an uninhabited island for a period of time.
At last, in 1949 Seiken Shukumine showed some parts of his technical repertoire to the public. Later in 1953, Seiken Shukumine officially announced his techniques as “Genseiryu Karate-do”. The style of Genseiryu Karate-do, which is based on the principals and techniques from the old master Soko Kishimoto, was very conspicuous in its original techniques such as Ebi-geri and Shajo-geri.
Under the regulations of Martial Sports, any karate player had to adjust to the fact that a player’s height and physical differences was favored instead of technical skill. Because of this, Seiken Shukumine created a new form of Budo, which he called Taido, by further developing the style of Genseiryu Karate-do and reconsidering the theory of karate-do and Budo in general from different angles more than 35 years ago.