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Introduction to Aoinagi Ken Shu Kai

So what are Traditional Martial Arts really all about?

Due to a lot of stereotypes and much media distortion, many people seem to have the wrong idea about the purpose, aim and use of traditional martial arts. On the surface, the martial arts are seen as a method of training a person’s ability to defend against any number of attackers. While this is true at one level, under correct instruction, a very subtle transformation occurs: As the student increases in abilities, he or she develops self-assurance, security, sensitivity, awareness and respect; compassion and respect for fellow human beings guide their actions; quite remarkably, yet very intentionally, the character of the martial artist is refined until s/he is at peace with themselves and with the world. At this point, the transformed martial artist becomes a shining example of the true purpose of karate-do. Traditional martial arts are about self protection AND self perfection. That’s why our motto is

“Self Development thru Self Defense”.

Master Gichin Funakoshi, the man responsible for bringing karate from Okinawa to Japan, and considered by many as the Father of Modern Day Karate-do, was very clear in explaining its purpose:

“The real goal and purpose of karate is the perfection of character. Those who do not understand that point have missed the true meaning of karate-do.”

Practice makes permanent, perfect practice makes perfect.
Practice is the essence of every (martial) art. As one begins to learn karate, s/he is motivated by a desire to learn to defend him/herself. Those students who continue to train in the right spirit will find an inner strength that leads to security and self-assurance—qualities that last a lifetime.

What is Aoinagi?

The meaning of Aoinagi ties into one of the classical forms of traditional Japanese/Okinawan karate-do. It can be translated into English as “the green willow tree”. The remarkable quality of willows is their persistence in the face of overwhelming odds. Where there is water there are willows. When there is water there is life. Traditional martial art training is for life!

What is Aoinagi Ken Shu Kai?

Aoinagi- “The green willow” evokes the enduring spirit expressed as perseverance in the face of overwhelming odds. It reaffirms our historical primal foundational link to Sensei Raymond Castilonia, Kyoshi founder of Aoinagi Ha Shito Ryu

- translates as “to polish; study of, or sharpen”.

Shu-Means “to Master; conduct oneself well”
 Ken Shu provides the important link to Sensei James Miyaji, Hanshi who runs the Ken Shu Kan in Hawaii and his 30 year influence, support and validation of our efforts to advance our art.

- Translates as “Association” 
Kai reflects our long term association with and membership in Sensei Richard Kim, Hanshi’s Zen Bei Butoku Kai. Our strong roots to so many within this organization especially Sensei Robert Leong, Hanshi is reflected here. Our work carries on his legacy as well…

In 1960 Sensei Kim gave Sensei Miyaji the name Ken Shu Kan for his organization.
In turn, in 2007 Sensei Miyaji gave us his blessing to name our organization the Aoinagi Ken Shu Kai perpetuating the lineage and linkages to those martial arts giants on whose shoulders we humbly stand.

Strength is gained through effort. More strength is gained through more effort. Supreme strength is gained through supreme effort.

The Aoinagi Ken Shu Kai (AKSK) is dedicated to teaching the best quality martial arts in the world, and to generating seasoned martial artists that, in turn, take the art to a whole new level for the betterment of humankind and our planet.

What style do we practice?

The main style of karate taught at AKSK is Shito-Ryu (pronounced she-toe-rue). Shito-Ryu is considered one of the four major Japanese styles of karate (Shito-Ryu, Shotokan, Goju-Ryu, Wado-Ryu comprise the four).The originator of Shito-Ryu was Kenwa Mabuni—an Okinawan who studied under two masters of Okinawan karate: Shisu (Itosu) and Toona (Higashionna). Shisu and Toona were, respectively, masters of the two main Okinawan karate systems: Shuri-te and Naha-te.  One can call Shito-Ryu (a name which Kenwa Mabuni derived from the first syllables of his two instructors) a Japanese/Okinawan karate style, because it originated in Okinawa and he took it to Japan.
The third system of Okinawan karate is Tomari-te. Aoinagi is one of the few American schools which teach from all three major Okinawan karate systems, namely: Shuri-te, Naha-te and Tomari-te.

By the time you are a black-belt you will know forms from several styles and exposed to a variety of martial experience including; Tai Chi, Aikijistu, Judo and Kobudo (weapons training) . You will begin to realize that while there is great importance to knowing one’s history and the different styles, there is little importance to be placed on any particular style. How good a student becomes depends largely upon two factors: how good one’s instructors are and how much the student tries. It is better to study an eclectic style from a good instructor than to study a popular style from a poor instructor. Similarly, it is better to be moderately talented but hugely persistent than hugely talented but resistant. Good luck on your martial path!

“Ars longa, Vita brevis”
Life is short, Art eternal


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