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Sensei Tatsuo Shimabukuro



The Koden is created from the first Europian Isshinryu organization (1988) and founded by Steve Armstrong sensei and Fred van de Vijver sensei.

The translation of the Koden Isshinryu Karate Kobudo Kenkyukai is as follows: Ko means old and den means tradition and it derives from the word dento, Kenkyukai means research society.

The Koden is an open organization that warrants the tradition, technique and history of IR. We can argue that we practise the original IR kata and kumités in the Koden, and nowhere else in Europe.

The only first generation IR karateka, trained 17 years at the Shimabuku Tatsuo, taught us this kata. This person would be Advincula sensei who practised at Okinawa until Shimabuku died. Advincula sensei was named katagwa by Shimabuku, this means katamen.

Most American mariners only stayed for 12 or 13 some  even 6 months at Okinawa, they could only practise when they were of service. In this short period it was almost impossible to master or even to remember all the kata’s.

            Shimabuku even considered not to teach the kata’s Seisan, Seiunchin, and Naihanchi to the mariners, because of their short stay at Okinawa. These American mariners, who only stayed at Okinawa for 12 or 13 months, weren’t instructed in all the aspects of the IR. The Kihon, Goshin kumite, Chinkuchi, and more weren’t instructed to them, even though the Goshin Kumite, includes the bunkai’s from the kata’s, is exactly so important. If one wants to own the right spirit and the martial power, one’s got to know the Chinkuchi. But because of the short training only the fighting and the kata’s were taught. 

I trained as much as possible with the first generation IR sensei’s, I know a lot got lost in the bunkai and in the kata, in the American sensei as well as the Okinawa sensei’s.

Training with the Okinawa sensei doesn’t give you any guarantee( but it will give you some of a status  as  western sensei). Carrying out the kata’s shows the differences between the different sensei’s.

A good pronunciation of one of the first generation IR sensei’s is: “Kata’s are comparable with a cook: every cook has his speciality and adds any ingredient of what he thinks that is important  or removes some things out

I have seen a lot of mess: totally different kata’s, spectacular kumités, and ground techniques which have no connection with the IR, attracting the untaught karateka’s, wanting to transfer from another system, if you don’t like  IR the way it is , please develope your onw style of fighting.

A fact learns that few first generations American sensei’s invited Advincula sensei to teaching Kata, says enough.

In 1966, a film of the IR kata’s by Shimabuku sensei was made when Shimabuku sensei was invited to America. This film has later been used as a standard in the AOKA, despite a lot of mistakes.

Shimabuku later told Okinawa, apparently, he had been treated badly and he felt really bad and wanted to go home. He also felt embarrassed for the film.

Of you want insurance learning the original kata, kumités, and all the other aspect of the IR tradition, you are on the right address with Koden.

Fred van de Vijver Kyoshi  7 th dan Isshinryu karate Kobudo.



Sensei Tatsuo Shimabukuro
Grondlegger van het Isshinryu Karate





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