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OBI Karate, one of the oldest Karate Schools in Virginia beach, was established by Sensei Noel Smith then 4th degree black belt in a martial art known as Okinawan Shorin-ryu. He had only one goal in mind, to teach the martial art of Karate-do as he learned it in Okinawa from Sensei Shugoro Nakazato to students in Virginia Beach.
Sensei Smith began his study of Kobayashi-te Okinawan Shorin-Ryu karate while stationed in Okinawa during the Vietnam war. Since the early 1970's the Dojo has produced many champion Karate-ka over the years, while focusing on traditional Shorin-ryu karate techniques and rooted in the Budo philosophy.
Our style of Karate is called Okinawan Kobayashi North American Shorinkan Shorin-Ryu and dates back more than 370 years with its origins in Okinawan Tode. This simplified chart below shows the direct linage from "Toko" to Sensie Noel Smith. During the years, Okinwans and Chinese shared their Martial arts with each other, refining it to create what is now called Kobayashi Shorin-Ryu. Becuase of the history and mixing of the Chinese and Okinawan arts, we are an original " Mixed Martial Art".
Satsunku Toko Sakugawa - 1733 ( OKinawan-Te )
Sokon Matsumura - 1848 ( Created Shuri-Te )
Yasutsune (Akon) Itotsu - 1870 - 1915
Chosin Chibana - 1886 - 1969 ( Renamed Shuri-Te to Shorin-Ryu )
Shugoro Nakazato - 1919 - Present
( Sensei Smith, while stationed in Okinawa during the Vietnam war, trained drectly under
Shugoro Nakazato. He was among a handful of other U.S. students who eventually earned
their credentials to teach Okinawan Shorin-Ryu in the US. )
It is our hope that you will stop by and visit our Karate Dojo and see how our style of teaching the martial art of Okinawan Shorin-ryu karate sets us apart from the other dojos. This site is designed to give you information about our dojo, style of Karate and our staff.
What is Traditional Okinawan Karate?
Traditional Karate originated from Okinawa which is a part of the Ryukan island chain which belongs to Japan and is the birthplace of Karate. OBI Karate School of Virginia Beach teaches this art the way it was intended to be taught mentally physically and spirituallyy (meaning yourself).
The Okinawans developed a hand way of fighting called Ti-gua in the Okinawan language called Hogan. During the Japanese rule the Japanese called it Kara-te The word
Karate which mean "empty" and "hand", so karate literally means "the art of the empty hand". Over the years Okinawa and China
have traded martial art knowledge, and have combined the Chinese martial art techniques with Okinawan martial arts to form the
modern day Shorin-ryu.
Okinawan Shorin-Ryu is a "hard style" martial art, meaning that there is a emphasis on physical conditioning. Shorin-Ryu requires a commitment from the student. Okinawan Shorin-Ryu does emphasize blocks, kicks and punches among other techniques. These techniques form the foundation for Kata, a predefined series fo blocks, kick, punches. It isn't enough to simply learn the moves, the student needs to understand what the moves are, sometimes a block can be strike or a strike can be a block.
The student, or Karateka, must study the bunkai of the kata. Bunkai means "break down" ("bun") and "understand" ("kai"). Kata Bunkai means "To break down and to understand the kata".
Students of Okinawan Shorin-Ryu as train in KUMITE controlled sparring with a partner. While participating in Kumite the students take turns learning defense and offensive techniques.
Through the practice of karate you will develop mental, physical and self discipline skills that can be utilized outside the Dojo as well as inside the Dojo.
Who do we train?
We accept students as young as 8 years of age all the way through senior adults. When it
comes to children learning karate there is no hard and fast rule regarding age, it is truly based on
the childs ability to listen, take instruction and his willingness to learn the martial art of karate.
So, before a child is enrolled in karate he will, like any adult or teen, go through our introductory course. During the introductory class the student gets to see how we traing and if it is a fit for him. Furthermore, we also assess his ability on a number of different key areas. If your child isn't ready to begin martial art training we will suggest other options until he is mentally ready to beging his martial art training.
Get more information on our Children's Martial Art program
Also visit: Martial Arts site