Hayashi-Ha Shitoryu-Kai is a prominent style of Shito-ryu karate developed and founded by Teruo Hayashi in Osaka, Japan in 1970. Soke (“grandmaster”) Hayashi led the organization until his death in late 2004. Since his passing the world headquarters remains in Osaka.
Soke (“Grandmaster”) Teruo Hayashi
Soke Hayashi studied on the Japanese mainland under Kōsei Kuniba, a chief disciple of Shitō-ryū’s founder Kenwa Mabuni, and briefly under Kenwa Mabuni himself. Eventually Soke Hayashi sought out the roots of Karate in Okinawa. While on Okinawa, Soke Hayashi honed his Karate skills by his practice of Dojo Yaburi (dojo challenge), in which he would enter a dojo and challenge the sensei to a match. The man that issues the challenge must first fight the senior students in the dojo to win the right to fight the sensei. Soke Hayashi became renowned for defeating the sensei of many dojo. If Soke Hayashi was beaten at one of these schools he would stay and ask for training.
His primary teachers while in Okinawa were Shōshin Nagamine and Nakaima Kenko. From Nagamine he learned both the Shuri-te and Tomari-te lineages of kata. These kata tend to emphasize long linear stances and quick motion between stances. It was from this man that Soke Hayashi learned the Fujian White Crane form, Hakkaku.
From Nakaima, Soke Hayashi learned an obscure family art called Ryuei-ryū. This style is a southern tiger style imported from China four generations prior to Soke Hayashi’s arrival on Okinawa. Hayashi-ha incorporates much of Ryūei-ryū’s theory in its practice.
On his deathbed Kuniba asked Hayashi to run his organization until his young son, Shōgō, reached a level of maturity to assume leadership of the organization. Hayashi became President of the Seishin-Kai until 1970 at which time Hayashi handed the leadership over to Shōgō Kuniba.
Japan Karatedo Hayashi-Ha Shito-Ryu Kai USA
Soke Hayashi’s legacy is continued worldwide through dedicated instructors and students. The global headquarters is located in Osaka, Japan. The USA headquarters is located in Seattle, WA at the Minakami Karate Dojo. The USA Chief Instructor and President, Shihan (master instructor) Akio Minakami has been teaching karate as a true martial art since 1968, and is dedicated to preserving the traditions of Karate-do.
On one hand, Shitō-ryū has the physical strength and long powerful stances of Shuri-te derived styles, such as Shorin-ryū and Shotokan (松涛館), on the other hand Shitō-ryū has circular and eight-directional movements, breathing power, hard and soft characteristics of Naha-te and Tomari-te (泊手) styles, such as Gōjū-ryū (剛柔流).
Shitō-ryū is extremely fast, but still can be artistic and powerful. In addition, Shitō-ryū formalizes and emphasizes the five rules of defense, developed by Kenwa Mabuni, and known as Uke no go gensoku (受けの五原則), Uke no go genri (受けの五原理) or Uke no go ho (受けの五法):
落花 (rakka, “falling petals”). The art of blocking with such force and precision as to completely destroy the opponent’s attacking motion.
Examples of rakka are the most well-known blocks, such as gedan-barai (下段払い) or soto-uke (外受け).
流水 (ryūsui, “running water”). The art of flowing around the attacker’s motion, and through it, soft blocking.
Examples are nagashi-uke (流し受け) and osae-uke (押さえ受け).
屈伸 (kusshin, “elasticity”). This is the art of bouncing back, storing energy while recoiling from the opponent’s attack, changing or lowering stance only to immediately unwind and counterattack.
Classic examples are stance transitions zenkutsu (前屈立ち) to kōkutsu (後屈立ち) and moto-dachi (基立ち) to nekoashi-dachi (猫足立ち).
転位 (ten’i, “transposition”). Ten’i is the utilization of all eight directions of movement, most importantly stepping away from the line of attack.
反撃 (hangeki, “counterattack”). A hangeki defense is an attack which at the same time deflects the opponent’s attack before it can reach the defender.
Examples of this are various kinds of tsuki-uke (突き受け), including yama-tsuki (山突き).