HIGASHIONNA KANRYO 1851 – 1915: Higashionna Kanryo was a famous master and the founder of the Naha-Te style of Okinawan karate. He was born in Naha, Okinawa in 1851. He traveled to Fukien Province, China and studied the martial arts under Chinese Kempo master Liukung before developing Naha-Te. Higashionna’s teaching combined elements of hard, forceful movements and soft, yielding movements. Higashionna emphasized training in Sanchin Kata. His top student and successor was Miyagi Chojun, the founder of Goju Ryu.
MASTER MIYAGI CHOJUN: Born in 1929, Miyagi traveled to Japan to instruct Goju Ryu karate. In 1936, he received a Medal of Excellence in the Martial Arts from the Minister of Education in Japan. In 1937, he received the Kyoshi (Assistant Professor) title from the Dai Nippon Butokukai (Great Japan Martial Arts Virtues Association). As a result of his efforts, karate was officially recognized as one of the Martial Arts of Japan with the formal establishment of the Dai Nippon Butokukai, Okinawan Branch in November 1933.
TOGUCHI SEIKICHI: Born in 1917, in Naha, Okinawa. He studied with Miyagi Chojun until Miyagi’s death in 1953. Toguchi served in the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II as an electrical engineer. After the war, Toguchi returned to Okinawa and assisted in rebuilding his war-torn homeland. In 1952, Miyagi Sensei named him Executive Director of the Goju Ryu Association. In 1969 Toguchi was invited to the Okinawan Karate representative at the first world tournament held in Tokyo. Toguchi Sensei passed away on August 31, 1998.
NAKASONE KINEI: Born in 1936, Nakasone began his karate training in 1956, under Toguchi Sensei. In 1961 he opened the first Shorikan Branch dojo in Ken village (Kancho). In 1981 he opened the Shobukan Branch dojo in Goya Village (Kancho). During 1994, he managed the Okinawa Shobukan International Headquarters dojo (Kancho). In 1996 Nakasone became President of the International Seibukai Association. He held a 10th dan Black Belt until his death in December of 2002.
GUSHIKEN SHINTOKU: Born in 1950, Gushiken started training in Shorin Ryu under Shikimar, and in 1961, began training under Nakasone Kinei at Shorikan Branch dojo, Ken Village. In 1963, he began training with Shinjo Masanobu at the Shobukan International Headquarters. Later, in 1994, Gushiken Sensei managed the Okinawa Karate Shobukan International Headquarters dojo (Vice Kancho), and in 1996, he managed the Master of Okinawa Karate Seibukai Headquarters dojo (Kancho and Vice Kancho). After Nakasone Sensei’s death in 2002, Gushiken Sensei became president of the Seibukai Organization.MARVIN LABBATE
MARVIN LABBATE: began his Martial Arts training in 1966 and is the Director of the Central New York Okinawan Karate and Kobudo Schools in Syracuse, New York. He is a 9th dan Black Belt in Okinawan Goju Ryu and has trained under both Shinjo Masanobu Sensei, 10th Dan Black Belt and Nakasone Sensei, 10th dan Black Belt. Sensei Labbate is the International Director for the Seibukai Association. Sensei Labbate is also 6th dan Black Belt in Okinawan Kobudo and is the New York State Representative for the Okinawan Ryukonkai Organization under the direction of Iha Sensei, 10th dan Black Belt.