SHINKEN TAIRA, master of KOBUDO
Kobudo Master Shinken Taira was befriended with Sensei Tatsuo Shimabukuro and taught kobudo at the Agena dojo during the years 1959-1961. Sensei Shimabukuro deepened his kobudo knowledge with him and learned from Master Taira several Kobudo kata. Some of these katawere added to the Isshinryu curriculum.
Sensei Shinken Taira (Maezato) was born June 12, 1897 on Kumejima, an island in the Ryukyu Archipelago in the village of Nakazato. Second son in the family. He was adopted as a child, (not an uncommon practice in old Japan) and started using his motherís maiden name, Taira.
As a young man, working in the Sulphur mines at Minamijima, Taira Sensei was injured in a mining accident when a mineshaft collapsed. He suffered a badly broken leg and was left with a limp.
In 1922, Taira Shinken left Okinawa and travelled to Tokyo in search of work like many other Okinawans, he was introduced to Gichin Funakoshi, a fellow Okinawan and Karate instructor. Taira became a deshi (student) of Gichin Funakoshi in an effort to learn Karate do. In 1929, Sensei Taira began his studies of Ryukyu Kobudo under Sensei Moden Yabiku.
In 1932, after studying Kobudo for three years and Karate do for 10 years he received permission from his Sensei to open his own Dojo. Sensei Taira began to teach Karate do and Kobudo in the quaint hot springs resort town of Ikaho, Gunma Prefecture.
Taira had and insatiable appetite for Budo knowledge. He continuously researched and assimilated his findings into a Kobudo system that remains to this day. It was because of this constant search for knowledge that in 1933, Taira was introduced by Funakoshi to Kenwa Mabuni. In 1934, Taira became deshi of Mabuni.
In 1940 Master Taira opened a Kobudo Dojo in Naha, Okinawa. He also opened Dojo in Kanto and Kansai, two major districts of central Japan.
In 1955 he established the Ryukyu Kobudo Hozon Shinkokai, to promote the Ancient Okinawan Martial Arts as passed down to him by so many great masters.
Master Taira is credited with bringing together many of the Okinawa's oldest and most prominent weapons traditions into one comprehensive system of weaponry training. He will always be remembered as an Innovator, Inventor and Brilliant Martial Artist.
Shinken Taira died at December 3, 1970.
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