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
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
Reproduced with permission of Dan Smith from www.Seibukan.org. (Edited
for punctuation and clarity)