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Shimabukuro, Zenpo (1943- )

Hanshi Zenpo Shimabukuro Hanshi, 9th Degree Black Belt and Supreme Instructor of the International Seibukan Shorin Ryu Karate Association, was born in Chatan Cho, Okinawa, on October 11, 1943. He was the fourth of five children of Master Zenryo Shimabukuro. His father was the student of Master Chotoku Kyan, and founded the Seibukan Shorin Ryu (Sukunaihayashi) School in July of 1962 in Jagaru, Okinawa.

Hanshi Zenpo Shimabukuro was born during a period in history when the Island of Okinawa was preparing for the Pacific War of W.W.II. One of his sisters died as the war was beginning and a younger brother died shortly after the war ended. During the course of the war, the Shimabukuro family lost everything that they owned.

As the attack on Okinawa began, the family moved to the northern area of Okinawa and did not return to the central part of Okinawa until after the war. Before W.W.II, Master Zenryo Shimabukuro was a baker and tatami maker by trade. For a short time after the war he worked for the United States military, then resumed his profession as a baker, and also as a city government official. Hanshi Zenpo Shimabukuro assisted his father with the teaching of Seibukan karate on US military bases and helped construct the Seibukan Dojo in Jagaru.

Hanshi Shimabukuro graduated from Futema High School in March of 1962, and in 1963, upon request of his father, left to go to the United States in September to teach Sukunaihayashi karate-do to Seibukan students in America. He went to live and teach karate in the Philadelphia, PA. area and is noted in Okinawan karate history as one of the very first Okinawan Sensei to ever teach karate-do in America.

During his three and one-half year stay in the Pennsylvania area, Hanshi Zenpo Shimabukuro entered and won first place in kata competition at the Jhoon Rhee International Tournament, and finished second in kumite. He also won the Canadian National Championships Kumite competition in 1964, along with the Pennsylvania State Championships kumite division. Hanshi Shimabukuro not only was one of the first Okinawan/Japanese to teach in America but was the first to compete in the tournaments and win convincingly.

In 1966, Hanshi Shimabukuro returned to Okinawa to help his father with the Seibukan honbu dojo, and became Supreme Instructor over the Seibukan Karate-do System upon his father's death in October 1969.

In 1975, the International Seibukan Karate-do Association was formed. Sensei Shimabukuro returned to America in 1975 for a three month stay in the Mississippi area to meet with prominent United States Seibukan Sensei and begin the formalities of organizing International Seibukan. During this time Seibukan students in America, Japan, Malaysia, Germany, Poland, South America, the Middle East, and India realized the need for his regular visits to update and standardize their karate techniques and katas. Due to his ability to speak and write English, he used his skills to share, with English speaking karate-ka around the world, his great knowledge of karate-do.

Since Hanshi Shimabukuro's initial visit to the United States, he has visited nine times, with the most recent being his demonstration at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. The demonstration was followed by a historic seminar conducted by Hanshi Shimabukuro and four other Hanshi from Okinawa, representing different Okinawan disciplines, to over 260 black belts. This trip and seminar has laid the foundation for Okinawan karate-ka to work together for the common goal, spreading Okinawan Karate throughout the world.

Hanshi Shimabukuro is married, and now has a family of five children, three girls and two boys. He has become a very successful real estate developer, and along with his wife have a restaurant and various other business interests. He continues to teach karate and holds offices in three different Okinawan karate associations, and serves on the board of directors of the Nago Crippled Children's Home. Hanshi Shimabukuro gives freely of his time and resources to help his community, and by helping those who do not have strong bodies, encouraging them to practice the art of karate-do.

Hanshi Shimabukuro has branch schools in sixteen foreign countries dedicated to the preservation of Seibukan Karate-do, and his goal is the continuation of the Association's international growth, and the expansion of his father's teachings.

Reproduced with permission of Dan Smith from (Edited for punctuation and clarity)

To find more articles of interest, search on one of these keywords:

Seibukan, karate do,International Seibukan Shorin Ryu Karate Association

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