Japan Karate-Do Ryobu-Kai teaches a style of karate called Shindo Jinen Ryu, founded by Yasuhiro Konishi
Yasuhiro Konishi the founder of Shindo Jinen Ryu, was born in 1893 in Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan. Konishi Sensei began his martial arts training at age 6 in Muso Ryu Jujitsu. When he entered the equivalent of a western high school, he began training in Takeuchi Ryu Jujitsu. This particular jujitsu style is known for its strong kicks and punches, very similar to karate. At age 13, while practicing jujitsu, Konishi Sensei began studying Kendo as well. In 1915, he commenced studies at Keio University in Tokyo. While average tenure at the university is four years, Konishi remained at Keio University for eight years because of his love for Kendo and jujitsu. He was Keio University's kendo team captain, and continued coaching the university's kendo club after his gradulation.
Konishi's Sensei's first exposure to "Te" (which later developed into karate) was through a fellow classmate at Keio University. Tsuneshige Arakaki of Okinawa. Konishi Sensei found the techniques of "te" (as referred to by Arakaki) very similar to those of Takeuchi Ryu Jujitsu. Though Arakaki was in no way a master of "te" Konishi Sensei found the system to be very intriguing.
After graduating from the university, he became a salary man. However, he was not completely satisfied with his occupation. With encouragement from his wife, he quit his job and opened his own martial arts center in 1923 and called it the Ryobu-Kan ("The House of Martial Arts Excellence"), teaching maninly Kendo and Jujitsu.
In September, 1924, Hironishi Ohtsuka, the founder of the Wado-Ryu style of karate, and Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of Shotokan karate came to the Kendo training hall at Keio University. They appraoched Konishi Sensei with a letter of introduction from the Professor Kasuya of Keio Universuity. Mr. Funakoshi asked if it would be possible to use the training hall to practice Ryukyu Kempo To-te jutsu. During this era, it was unheard of for one martial arts teacher to allown another martial arts teacher from another system to teach in their dojo. Such a request would be considered a "challenge" to the dojo. Konishi Sensei, however, was a visionary in the sense that he saw a value in cross-training; he remembered the kata demonstrated during his university days by Arakaki, and he agreed to Funakoshi Sensei's request.
Within a month of joining Ryobu-Kan, with Konishi Sensei's help, Funakoshi established a To-te practice club at Keio University (the first university karate club in Japan). Konishi Sensei, Funakoshi Sensei, and Ohtsuka Sensei were the principal instructors. Konishi Sensei continued to instruct a curriculum consisting of kendo, jujitsu, and western boxing at the Ryobu-Kan. Karate-jujitsu was born when Funakoshi Sensei added karate to this mix. As yet, no names were applied to the emerging styles.
Groups that practiced a pure form of jujitsu did not think highly of karate and challenged Funakoshi Sensei. However, under Japanese budo, one does not initially challenge the Master of a particuar school or style; a challenge is first issued to the senior student. If the challenger defeats the senior student, then he can challenge the Master. If the challenger defeats the Master, he can take the dojo as a sign of a trophy - a very embarrassing situation for the defeated dojo, and one never experienced by Ryobu-Kan. All challengers of karate were defeated by Konishi Sensei and Ohtsuka Sensei, as Funakoshi's senior students.
During this time, there was an ongoing philosophical debate among martial artists as to the definition of budo. Some believed budo required the death of the opponent; others, that budo meant supporting or educating the opponent in the proper ways. Funakoshi Sensei always taught budo as technique and education. Konishi Sensei especially believed "Bu bun ryo do", translated as "For karate to be perfect, it cannot be just techniques, but also education." As technique disciplines the body, education should discipline the mind. Thus Konishi Sensei believed that Budo involves educating the opponent.
Over time, three major changes occurred in Funakoshi's original karate techniques. First, because karate was introduced to the Japanese physicall education program at the elementary school level, Funakoshi Sensei assigned Japanese names to replace the Okinawan names of the various kata, making karate easier to learn.
The second change was the addition of ippon kumite to karate training. At first, karate training was primarily practice of kata. Konishi Sensei contended that training in kata alone was not sufficient to develop the whole person. Other forms of "Do", such as kendo and judo, had training methods that included application of techniques with partners. Konishi Sensei and Ohtsuka Sensei added ippon kumite to the training regimen.
The third major change occured in the kanji of "karate". The original kanji used to write "karate" meant "chinese hand", indicating the source of the techniques. In 1929, teachers and students in the Keio University's Karate Research Group discussed the translation of the kanji for karate, and agreed to change the kanji of "karate" to mean "Empty Hand". They contended that this new kanji was a better representation of the art into which karate had developed. This change was adopted over the protests of many Okinawans, but remains the accepted translation to this day.
Karate gradually became more popular and many masters from Okinawa began to visit Japan. Because of Konishi Sensei's open-mindedness, many well-known budoka visited Ryobu-Kan during this era, exchanging techniques. Among them were: Kenwa Mabuni (founder of Shito-Ryu Karate), Chojun Miyagi (founder of Goju-Ryu Karate), and Choki Motobu. These three masters influenced Konishi Sensei in various ways and made definitive contributions to Konishi Sensei's emerging style.