The origins of Shorin-ryu Shido-kan

History of Shorin-ryu

Grand Master CHOSIN CHIBANA, Hanshi, 10th Dan (1885-1969) was the originator of Okinawan shorin-ryu, loosely translated as “small forest style” or “pine forest style.”  He was also the first President of the original Okinawa Shorin-ryu Karate-do Association. Born in Shuri City, Okinawa, he began training in 1900 at the age of 15 with Yasutsune “Anko” Itosu.  Itosu is considered to be the Father of Okinawan Karate and is the first person responsible for publicly teaching the art.  Among Chibana’s many awards was the

Chosin Chibana

Kunyonto (4th) Order of the Sacred Treasure presented by the Emperor of Japan, Hirohito, for his devotion to the study and practice of Okinawan karate-do.  He taught almost until the time he died of cancer at the advanced age of 83.


The most senior student of Grand Master Chibana was Katsuya Miyahira.


Grand Master KATSUYA MIYAHIRA, Hanshi, 10th Dan (the highest rank and, until 2001 the only 10th Dan in  the world in Shido-kan Shorin-ryu), started his training at  age 15 under Chibana Hanshi.  Miyahira Hanshi was the President of the Okinawa Shorin-ryu Karate-do Association, taught in Naha City, Okinawa, where he had about 200 students of first Dan rank or above, and oversaw branch dojos in many locations around the world.  Among his major contributions has been the introduction of obligatory analytical exercises (bunkai) for each of the kata, and the deepening of the philosophical study of Karate-do.  Sensei Miyahira passed away  November 2010 in his early 90’s.


As with all other Shido-kan Shorin-ryu dojos in the Western Hemisphere,  Atlanta Family Karate is under the direction of world-renowned Head Master SEIKICHI IHA, Hanshi, 10th Dan.  He was Miyahira Hanshi’s most senior student, and is the director of both the United States Shorin-ryu Karate-Do Association and the North American Beikoku Shido-kan Association.  Iha is the highest ranking Okinawan master residing in the U.S.

Born and raised in Okinawa, Iha  Hanshi began karate training under his uncle but in 1950 he was accepted as a formal student of Shinpan Gusukuma who had been a student of the famous Anko Itosu.  For four years he trained with Gusukuma who was a well respected authority of Shuri-te.  After Gusukuma’s death in 1954, Iha was introduced to Katsuya Miyahira, and was accepted as a student shortly thereafter.  After teaching in Okinawa and the Philippines for several years, Iha relocated in 1967 to Los Angeles, California where he taught until 1975.  He moved in 1975 to Lansing, Michigan where he has resided and taught ever since. 

Mitch Cooperman, 6th Dan & Iha Hanshi, 10th Dan

Iha Hanshi focuses on spreading and cultivating the knowledge of Shido-kan Shorin-ryu as the ultimate art of self-defense, throughout the United States and the world.  A primary goal is to harmoniously work with all styles of Okinawan karate to provide the general public with a solid understanding and appreciation of this important cultural art. He was promoted to 10th Dan by his teacher, Grand Master Katsuya Miyahira on March 25, 2001.  His rank is certified by the Okinawa Shorin-ryu Karate-do Association.

Please visit the Iha Dojo web-site: