Shorin Ryu emerged out of the Shuri-te system in the early 20th century. It centered around the teaching of Ankoh Itosu, a student of Matsumura who had tremendous impact on the popularization of karate. At present there are many Shorin-Ryu's, including those developed by Nagamine and Chibana. Hohan Soken, a descendent of Matsumura, has also created a style within the Shorin Ryu family that has gained more popularity of late. Gichin Funakoshi, a student of Itosu, taught Shorin Ryu in Japan, though his students chose to change the name to Shotokan as a tribute to their teacher.

Many Shorin Ryu systems identify themselves by special names, often derived from alternative pronunciations of the characters for Shorin Ryu. Nagamine referred to is style as Matsubayashi, while Chibana's students call their styleShobayashi. Some of Chotoku Kyan's students teach Kobayashi, and Soken's students refer to their style asMatsumura Seito (Orthodox). All, however, would agree that these are simply variations with the common Shorin Ryu style. What all of these systems share is common history, a common set of emphasis, and most importantly, a common kata curriculum. All shorin ryu continues to teach the Pinan and Naihanchi kata, as well as some combination of the traditional Shuri te kata. Like language dialects, each of these sub-systems represents historical variations on a common theme. It would be a mistake to ask whether the French, Spanish, Portuguese or Italian speak better Latin. Each language is unique and has its own virtues. And despite each shares a common history, structure, and way of conceiving the world. Matsubayashi, Shobayashi, Kobayashi and Matsumura Seito are, in this sense, dialects of Shuri-te or Shorin Ryu.






Nagamine Sensei opened a dojo in Naha after World War II that became the focal point for a revival of Shorin Ryukarate. It was also a place where many well known Americans were introduced to karate, like James Wax, Robert Yarnell and Gary Tiktin. Each of these men set up dojos and produced students that have in turn produced students of their own, all teaching and studying the kata that Nagamine brought together under Matsubayashi. Within the United States there are several hundred Matsubayashi dojos, and many more hundreds world wide.