The Empy Hand Art

Karate-Do is a martial art developed in the Ryukyu Islands (Okinawa) from the mix of Okinawan Te and Chinese Shaolin boxing influences in the early 18th century. As an “empty hand” art Karate implies a strengthening of the body and a fearless mental attitude that together turn the practitioner into a living weapon needing only their body to defend against aggressors.

Asthetically, Karate is primarily a striking art using punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes and open-handed techniques such as knife-hands and ridge-hands. Grappling, locks, restraints, throws, and vital point strikes are taught in some styles.

Karate as sport places emphasis on physical fitness and competition.

Traditional karate places emphasis on self development (budo). Modern Japanese style training also emphasizes psychological elements such as perseverance, fearlessness, virtue, and leadership skills incorporated into a proper kokoro (attitude).

Whether or not Karate-Do is studied as sport or good health, it should also include self discipline, courtesy, character development and personal defense.


The Kokusai Nippon Budo Kai was established by Masayuki Shimabukuro, Hanshi to preserve and foster the growth of the traditional arts he passed on to his students.

Shimabukuro Hanshi was a direct student of noted instructor Teruo Hayashi and Kenzo Mabuni, son of the legendary Kenwa Mabuni—the founder of Shito-ryu karate.

Shimabukuro Hanshi's Shito-Ryu Karate is represented internationally as
Nippon Karate-Do Shito Ryu.

    Dojo Kun
  • One. Seek perfection of character.
  • One. Live with politeness and discipline.
  • One. Honor a code of ethical behavior.
  • One. Strive for excellence through effort.
  • One. Act with dignity and compassion.
    Youth Dojo Kun
  • One. I respect myself and others.
  • One. I challenge myself to overcome obstacles.
  • One. I live with a positive and healthy attitude.
  • One. I have true compassion for others.
  • One. I am committed to doing my best.
  • Oss!

Class Times

Karate Age Groups:
Youth: 6-12 years old
Adult: 13 and up.

Youth Karate
Monday & Wednesday
6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Adult Karate
Monday & Wednesday
7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Nippon Karate-Do
Shito Ryu

Shito-Ryu is the primary style (Ryu-ha) taught in the Bakersfield Budo Karate-Do syllabus and is overseen by the Kokusai Nippon Budo Kai established by Masayuki Shimabukuro, Hanshi.

Founded by Kenwa Mabuni in 1929, Shito-Ryu was originally called Hanko-Ryu but Mabuni later changed the name in honor of his two main teachers— Itosu Anko and Higaonna Kanryo.

Mabuni began his training in Shuri-Te at the age of thirteen under Itosu Anko and was later introduced to Higaonna Kanryo who taught Naha-Te by his friend Miyagi Chojun. Myagi Chojun would later go on to found the popular style of Goju-Ryu Karate.

Kenwa Mabuni was highly regarded for his encyclopedic knowledege of kata and their respective bunkai as he had studied not only under Itosu Anko and Higaonna Kanryo but with a number of instructors of the time. As a result, Shito-Ryu is a fast yet elegant style which includes the techniques of Okinawan Shuri-te (Shuri hand), Naha-te (Naha hand) and Tomari-te (Tomari hand).

3 Aspects of Training


Kata literally means “shape” or “model.” Kata are a formalized sequence of movements which represent various attack and defense postures. These postures are based on idealized combat applications. Every style of karate practices kata; some styles practice an active syllabus of ten, while others may study upwards of forty.

Some kata use low and wide stances. This practice develops leg strength, correct posture, and gracefulness. Vigorous arm movements enhance cardiovascular fitness and upper body strength. Kata vary in number of movements and difficulty. Longer kata require students to learn many complex movements. Diligent training and correct mindfulness lead to real understanding of combat principles.

Kata were developed before literacy was commonplace in Okinawa or China; physical routines were a logical way to preserve this type of knowledge. Because various techniques have multiple interpretations and applications the applicability for actual self-defense is very flexible. There is no definitively correct way to interpret all kata.

As such, kata are living traditions that have been passed from teachers to students for generations; there are differences in the interpretations of kata between styles and even teachers who represent different lines of transmission from a few core individuals.


Just like any professional sport that practices a set of core fundamental skills, martial arts also have their own set of basics; kihon. High level techniques and kata built on poor kihon will not be effective and will appear to look “loose” or haphazard. For this reason, Kihon is extremely important in the practice of good Karate.


Karate is a defensive art. It is not meant to be used as an aggressor, but to cultivate a set of defensive skills that nullify aggressive action quickly and effectively. However, in order to understand distance and acclimate to a situation that presents confrontation Karate students must spar.

Sparring in Karate is called kumite. It literally means “meeting of hands.” Kumite is practiced both as a sport and as self-defense training. Levels of physical contact during sparring vary considerably.

There are many types of Kumite designed to teach these concepts while developing control and accuracy, then speed, strength and technique. Without Kumite, Karate is mearely a dance with no real meaning or connection to it’s historical and therefore martial roots.