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Okinawan Karate Clubs

8830 Currie Rd.   Northville, MI 48168 


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Mizu Gami

When Master Shimabuku was developing Isshin-ryu Karate, he had a dream that seemed to express in symbols the philosophical aspects of what he was trying to accomplish with his system of Karate. While interpretations of the symbols may vary, the interpretations listed below are fairly standard.


A sea-goddess, half woman, half serpent, named "Mizu Gami", symbolizes the quietness a Karate student should exhibit, while possessing the strength of the sea serpent if needed.


The living symbol of power, the Dragon has lifted himself above the troubles of the world into the peach and quiet (symbolized by the gray night sky) that we all seek through the knowledge of Karate. It is also a sign of good luck, that Isshin-ryu will prosper. Some people find significant the fact that Master Shimabuku's first name, Tatsuo, means Dragon Man.


There are several interpretations concerning the meaning of the Three Stars. One is they stand for Grand Master Shimabuku's three most important teachers: Master Chotoku Kyan, Master Chojun Miyagi, and Master Choki Motobu. A second interpretation is that the three starts represent three styles of Karate: Shorin-ryu plus Goju-ryu combined to make Isshin-ryu. A third view is that the three stars indicate the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of Isshin-ryu. And some say the stars stand for "good, better, and best," the progression of skill we all try to develop in karate.


Represents calm and quiet evening, and that Karate is best used indefense only.


Spells Isshin-ryu Karate (Ichi Hin Ryu Kara Te).


Indicates a typhoon, danger that cannot be seen, the troubles of life threatening to drown us, but which are to be mastered through the discipline and self-control of Karate training.


Stands for a ring of fire that surrounded and threatened to consume Master Shimabuku in his dream. But with his Karate discipline, he was able to remain calm and put the fire out. So, too, we are supposed to remain calm, when dealing with our troubles, or with threats to our safety.

In essence, the symbols are saying that you should avoid trouble if possible, and use Karate only as a last resort for defense.

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