Shōrin-Ryū is one of the most prolific styles of Okinawan karate as well as one of the oldest. It evolved primarily from the fighting styles originating near the villages of Shuri, the old capitol of the Ryukyu Kingdom, and Tomari. The name Shōrin-ryū was coined by Chōshin Chibana to differentiate the style from others that deviated from karate of Ankō Itosu, and also as a tribute to the style's ancient Chinese roots and. During the 5th century A.D., Buddhist monks from India arrived at the Shaolin temple in Henan province in China and taught the monks a combination of meditation, breathing, and fighting techniques. This fighting system was further developed by the monks into Shaolin Kung Fu. Shaolin and Shōrin are the Chinese and Japanese pronunciations of the same characters, which mean "small forest" (ryū indicates a style, system or school).
Passai series (also known as Bassai)
• Passai Shō
• Passai Dai
• Kūsankū Shō
• Kūsankū Dai
Shōrin-ryū is characterized by natural, fairly upright stances that allow quick transition. Movements are quick, fluid, and circular. Although kata (forms) may exist in different variants across different styles, the Okinawan Karate Club of Atlanta teaches the following kata with a Shōrin-ryū emphasis as taught by Eizo Shimabukuro.
Pinan series (also known as Heian)
• Pinan Shodan
• Pinan Nidan
• Pinan Sandan
• Pinan Yondan
• Pinan Godan
Eizo Shimabukuro (1925-2017) was the head of the Shōbayashi branch of Shōrin-ryū. His most influential teacher was Chōtoku Kyan. In additional to Kyan, Shimabukuro also trained in his youth with his older brother Tatsuo Shimabukuro (founder of Isshin-ryū, also a student of Kyan), Chōjun Miyagi (founder of Goju-ryū), and Chōki Motobu. Shimabukuro opened his first dojo in May 1948, but continued to be instructed by renowned karateka. He studied with Zenryō Shimabukuro (founder of Shōrin-ryū Seibukan, and another longtime student of Kyan). He requested Chosin Chibana teach him the Pinan katas in the original form as taught by Ankō Itosu. Additionally, he received weapons instruction from Shinken Taira (Shimabukuro went on to develop his own sai and kama katas well).
Eizo Shimabukuro received his 10th dan in 1959, awarded by Kanken Tōyama (Tōyama was granted authority by the Japanese government to award ranks in any style of karate, but he never taught Shimabukuro directly). At age 34, Eizo Shimabukuro was the youngest person to have achieved such an honor. Shimabukuro has contributed over seven decades of his life teaching karate to hundreds of students. The Okinawan Karate Club of Atlanta, and its forerunners the Okinawan Karate Club of Dallas and the Okinawan Karate Club of Ann Arbor, continue to receive support from Eizo Shimabukuro Sensei.