Karate is a fighting art, a way of thinking, a way of moving, a sport, a way of keeping fit and a way of life. The Japanese word 'karate' is derived from 'kara,' meaning empty, and 'te', meaning hand, together conveying the idea of empty hand or hand without weapon. Karate originated from Okinawa, an island south of Japan, around 400 years ago. Its popularity spread throughout Japan during the 20th century.
What style is best? There is no good or bad karate - like music has many styles, so does karate. It is simply a matter of good and bad teachers. A good teacher possesses knowledge of all of his teachings, has self-esteem, and is able to communicate easily his knowledge through good karate technique, good attitude and a moral code of ethics.
Why choose karate? The very exercise involved in karate strengthens the body physically. You must utilize all of your muscles while focusing your mental awareness. Together then you will attain swiftness, power and endurance, flowing as water. Karate brings a higher level of concentration. Training properly in the oriental martial arts gives you all of these things as well as a good life attitude. You become more in tune with your natural senses, as mind and body are re-introduced, as well as receiving the the stress reduction benefit associated with exercise.
What is Suibukan? The word comes from the word "sui" meaning water, "bu" meaning way of the warrior, and "kan" meaning place or school. Translated means school of the warrior who moves like water. What is taught at Michigan Suibukan? The Michigan Suibukan is directed by Sensei David Hayes, 6th Degree Black Belt, student of Master Tadashi Yamashita, 9th Degree Black Belt.
We practice the traditional fighting arts of Okinawan Shorin-Ryu Karate-Do, Yamashita/Matayoshi Kobudo and Yamashita Suikendo at the dojo. Shorin-Ryu Karate Do is the oldest and most popular in Okinawa. The roots of the style lie in the most widely known Chinese systems, and it was used as the basis for the development of the best known Japanese systems, such as Shoto-Kan and Wado-Ryu. In Okinawa it is the most eclectic system of karate, and is considered the system of the warrior class. This system is taught through the traditional kata, its application or 'bunkai,' and pre-arranged and freestyle fighting.
Yamashita/Matayoshi Kobudo is the most recognized weapons system of Okinawa. The traditional weapons taught include the Bo, Sai, Tunfa, Nunchuku, Kama, Aiku, Nunti, etc. The system is taught through the traditional kata and pre-planned fighting techniques.
The third art taught at Michigan Suibukan is Suikendo, developed exclusively by Master Tadashi Yamashita. This art is taught at the advanced levels. This art form is the conclusion of the in-depth study of the traditional Shorin-Ryu. It is characterized by its fluid motion and its effectiveness, which is achieved with minimum use of muscle strength but maximum results and efficiency of motion. This culminates from the mastery of the 7 essential skills of karate techniques: 1) Balance 2) Coordination 3) Speed 4) Power 5) Distance 6) Timing, and the most important, 7) Relaxation. The ability to relax while in the midst of an altercation does not come from just a loose feeling in the muscles but comes from knowing the material totally, to where you don't have muscle tension. This knowing comes only from years of training in the way of Karate-Do.
The Michigan Suibukan is dedicated to the development of the oriental Fighting Arts in the best possible way. It is our belief that exercising in the traditional Fighting Arts, in the correct way, contributes simultaneously to the individual and the society in which it is taught. There are without a doubt differences between the 21st century U.S.A. and the culture from which these arts were originated. Despite this, with the correct understanding and study of the culture from which these arts came from, they can be in our opinion useful even today.
Sensei David Hayes, August 2004