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The symbol that is synonymous with Okinawan karate worldwide is the original coat-of-arms of the Royal Sho Family of Ryukyu, the "Hidari-gomon", found to be used extensively in dojo and association emblems. It was in use generations prior to being adopted by many karate dojo and associations as their official symbol.

Our dojo crest consists of an outer area where we have the kanji for "RyuKyu Karate Kobudo". Ryukyu is the old name for Okinawa. On the lower portion we have the name of our dojo. The inner ring is interpreted as symbolizing a "circle of a family (Wa)", within our dojo we have a feeling that all our members are part of the dojo family (kazoku). We have leaves circling the hidari-gomon in the center, which symbolizes the continuing growth and development in our training.

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"Hidari-gomon" or "Mitsudomoe"

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Shuri Dojo unifrom (Gi) patch

The Hidari-gomon, we see as being a representation of the roots of our Karate, Okinawa. It has many intepritations but one explanation that was particularly interesting to me was the Okinawan folktale where they interpret the "Hidari-gomon" as representing loyalty, heroism, and altruism to a proud island people and their descendants. They believe it to be expressed through a past full of struggle and hardship, but also a willingness to face the difficulties ahead no matter what the cost. These virtues can be seen in our dojo today. There are times when hard training and attendance can be difficult, but with dedication and perseverance these difficulties can be overcome too.

The fist represents the power and strength of karate, kenpo, chuan-fa, china-hand, and many other names by which martial arts are known all over the world. It is the universal symbol for karate in modern times.

The crossed "Sai" represent our rich heritage in Okinawan weaponry and the skill necessary to learn and excel in kobudo.

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The name of our Dojo, the SHURI KARATE DOJO, is hugely significant within the traditional martial art of karate from Okinawa.

Karate, originally developed on the small island of Okinawa, was the birth place of much of the karate we see today. However, with karate being introduced to the mainland of Japan in the late 1920's, much of what we see as karate today is not the original "old ways" (Koryu) karate. Formerly known as "Tode" or "Ti". Today most karate schools teach a modern sport orientated karate, with much of the original techniques removed or at least unrelated to any form of self-defence. To most dojo the kata are seen as a way to pass an exam and obtain the next belt, rather than the complete self-protection system that are the classical kata with the effective techniques contained within them.

Many Karate masters of the time originated from the small village of SHURI and many of its exponents called their system of Karate, SHURI-te (literally - hand of SHURI).

Shuri Dojo Kanji image

Shuri Karate Dojo Kanji

At the time most of the karate on the island of Okinawa was of the "Koryu" (old ways) school of training. The kata and techniques were developed to protect their lives in an uncertain and often dangerous environment.

The SHURI KARATE DOJO is dedicated to promoting and preserving these "old ways".

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