Soaring Dragon Martial Arts

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About Isshin-Ryu

Isshin-Ryu is a style of Okinawan karate founded by Tatsuo Shimabuku and named by him on 15 January 1956. Isshin-Ryu karate is largely a synthesis of Shorin-ryu karate, Goju-ryu karate, and kobudō. The name means, literally, "one heart method". As of 1989 there are 336 branches of Isshin-ryu throughout the world, most of which are concentrated in the United States.  After the death of Shimabuku in 1975, many variations of Isshin-ryu were formed.

The system is summed up in its kata, or formal practice methods, and the specific techniques used to punch (vertical fist) and kick (snapping kicks). In many of the various forms of the system, sixteen kata (eight empty-hand, three bo, two sai a bo-bo kumite kata, a bo-sai kumite kata and one tuifa kata) are agreed upon as composing Isshin-ryu. These Kata include original developments of the Master, and inherited kata from the parent styles.

Isshin-Ryu employs a vertical punch with the fingers tucked in and the thumb on top of the fist. Advantages vary with opinion, but it is usually taught that the thumb placement increases the stability of the wrist when punching, and that a vertical punch strikes with the same force at any range instead of at maximum extension as with a corkscrew style punch. Another advantage is that when punching, the thumb will not get caught on an object as opposed to having the thumb sticking up or out.

In Isshin-Ryu it is believed that the vertical punch is faster than the cork-screw punch: three vertical hand punches can be generated in the time of two cork-screw punches.

Isshin-Ryu arm blocks are performed today with the muscle at the intended contact point as opposed to other styles that block with the bone. By using the two bones and the muscle to form a block, less stress is created against the defender's arm, increasing the ability to absorb a strike.

The original arm blocks were taught with palm up, wrist bent, to form a trapping motion as well as to block and/or strike with the radius bone.[citation needed]

Isshin-Ryu kicks are primarily a snapping motion, as opposed to placing primary emphasis on thrusting and follow-through.