The word karate comes from the two words "kara" (empty) and "te" (hand). Thus, karate is known as "empty-hand" and is considered the most efficient and effective way of unarmed combat. Karate itself teaches students to move quickly, block effectively, create strong stances and make powerful strikes using hands and feet.
Shito-Ryu Karate was founded by Kenwa Mabuni. He named his style after his two teachers, Itosu and Higaonna. The word "shito" comes from the Japanese characters used to write his teachers' names, while "ryu" means style - hence the name Shito-Ryu.
Shito-Ryu develops character by training the practitioner physically, mentally, and spiritually. The aim is to develop all aspects in a harmonious manner. Since Karate is taught in a disciplined manner, it acts to discourage those of weak character who might use the art in a dishonourable way. Karate without character is violence. The five rules of Seikokai, recited before every practice, translate into English as:
• Be moderate and courteous
• Be righteous and have a strong sense of justice
• Be modest in your words and actions
• Respect others
• Karate-do is a lifetime
Following Mabuni's death, his student, Sakagami, founded the Itosukai Association. The main headquarters remain in Yokohama, Japan to this day. With the passing of Sakagami, Grand Master Suzuki created the Seikokai Association. Tokyo is the now the main base for the Seikokai Association.
Shito-Ryu is one of the four main styles of Karate, and has practitioners worldwide. Our style, formally known as Shito-Ryu Seikokai, is presently headed by Grand Master Seiko Suzuki in Japan. The Pan American Master, or Shihan, of Shito-Ryu Seikokai is Akira Sato of Vancouver. Shihan Sato was a student of Grand Master Suzuki. As you can see, lineage generally follows through your instructor.
Shihan Akira Sato was born in Tokyo, Japan, in 1944. His father was a policeman and a judo practitioner. When Grand Master Suzuki created the Seikokai Association, Sato was promoted to his new position. Shihan Sato obtained a Bachelor of Sociology from Hosey University and a Teaching Certificate for Social Studies before moving to Canada in 1970.
Shito-Ryu Seikokai hosts an annual tournament which invites athletes from across Canada and around the world. Over 500 competitors participate, vying for the popular Sato Cup. The association also performs demonstrations and has an annual summer camp where the community is invited to watch or participate. Workshops by internationally renowned Karate practitioners are often hosted by Shito-Ryu clubs.