History of Sato Ha Shito Ryu Kokusai Rengo

Mabuni Kenwa Sensei

Sensei Kenwa Mabuni (1889-1952) initially studied from 1902 under Sensei Anko Itosu of Shuri, Okinawa from the age of 13. From Itosu Sensei he learnt numerous kata that were known for their quick & explosive techniques. In 1908 Mabuni's friend Chojun Miyagi recommended he come and also learn from his teacher Sensei Kanryo Higaonna of Naha, Okinawa. From Higoanna Sensei he learnt the powerful and circular techniques that later became the core of Sensei Miyagi's style (Goju-Ryu).

In 1929 he moved to mainland Japan with his family and finally settled in Osaka. In 1934 he established his dojo the Yoshu-kan and in 1939 he formally registered his karate style as Shito-Ryu naming it after both the masters. The technical system of Shito-ryu is based on both Itosu and Higaonna teachings and also draws from other teachers that Mabuni Sensei had the honour of studying under.

Sakagami Ryusho Sensei

Sensei Ryusho Sakagami (1915-1993), having studied Shito-Ryu under Sensei Mabuni for many years was presented with the 3rd Shito-Ryu Shihan licence by Mabuni Sensei in 1941. Sakagami Sensei received numerous commendations and was presented by the Japan Budo Society the Distinguished Service Award in a field of Budo on January 15th 1982. On August 19th 1992 the Japan Karatedo Rengokai bestowed upon him Karatedo 10th Dan.

Unfortunately Sakagami Sensei passed away at the age of 78 on December 28th 1993. At the time of his passing he held the following qualifications, Kendo Hanshi 7th Dan, Jodo Kyoshi 7th Dan, Iaido Hanshi 8th Dan and Ryukyu Kobudo Hanshi Shihan 8th Dan. On 22nd June 1994 the JKF bestowed upon him Karatedo Hanshi 9th Dan posthumously. He produced many famous karate-ka during his time such as Hiroyuki Miura Hanshi, Seiko Suzuki Shihan the founder of Seiko-Kai Shito-Ryu and Fumio Demura Shihan founder of Genbu-Kai Shito-Ryu.

Suzuki Seiko Sensei

Seiko-Kai, a branch of the Shito-Ryu style, was founded by Soke Seiko Suzuki, of Shinkoiwa Tokyo. Suzuki Sensei commenced his training in Karate in 1954 under Sakagami Sensei. In 1957 Sakagami Sensei relocated from Tokyo to Yokohama and left Suzuki Sensei to run the Tokyo dojo. In 1963 he commenced study of Ryu Kyu Kobudo under Shinken Taira Sensei. In 1965 Sakagami Sensei presented Suzuki Sensei with his Karate-do Shihan certificate. In 1968 he was awarded 7th Dan Kyoshi in Kobudo by Shiken Taira Sensei.

After Sensei Sakagami's passing in 1993, Suzuki Sensei decided to form his own organization, the Suzuki-Ha Shito-Ryu Nihon Karatedo Seiko-Kai.

Sato Akira Sensei

Sato sensei started studying karate in 1962. A few years later he became a member of Suzuki sensei's dojo and practiced there for many years. In 1970 he traveled to Canada to study English at a college and continued to practice karate on his own. Other students saw him practicing by himself on the grass at the college and asked him to become their teacher. Instead of returning to Japan after one-year study, he stayed in Canada and has since then devoted all his energies to develop Shito Ryu karate in Canada and all over the world. In 2017 Sato sensei formed his own organization and adopted the name Sato-Ha Shito-ryu Kokusai Rengo (International Federation) with affiliations in over 25 countries. In Canada the organization is known as Shitoryu Satokai Canada.


Kata is a pre-arranged pattern of defensive and offensive techniques against imaginary opponents, each carefully studied, cultivated and defined through many centuries of traditional passage between a master and his students. The traditional katas are karate's library of information and knowledge. A kata should be performed with the correct understanding of the principles of each movement as well as integrating those movements (techniques) into a pattern of dynamism and expression, that is timing, distance, power, balance, speed and correct attitude. Practicing a kata correctly becomes a means of self-discovery. Kata is also performed during competitions. The execution of a kata, based on the above mentioned criteria, is judged by a panel of judges. In a tournament participants are grouped based on their belt level and age; thus the competion is between contestants with more or less the same amount of exprerience and practice.


Kumite (sparring) is a relatively new component of karate. Kumite competitions are held between two contestants using a free combination of karate techniques. Points are scored when an attack (technique) is targeted with precision, applied vigrously and with good form while maintaining correct distance, proper timing and "zanshin". Although contact to some parts of the body is allowed, any punch or kick has to be controlled, so as not to inflict damage on the opponent. Bouts usually last 3 minutes and the competitor with the highest score wins.