The Soguwachiguwa was a 3 day celebration beginning with the full moon in January. Okinawans would pay tribute to Toshitokujin, a Shinto Kami of agriculture, seeking good fortune for their crops in the coming year. When the Gregorian Calendar was adopted, January 15th became the day that Soguwachiguwa was observed.
In 1956 on the occasion of Soguwachiguwa (Okinawan dialect) / Koshogatsu (Japanese), the Little New Year, Master Shimabuku called a special meeting at his home & dojo in Chan village to announce a new name for his unique style of Okinawan Karate. Previously, his style had been called as Chan Migwa Te (in the late 40s) and later Su Nu Su (early 50s). He chose “Isshin Ryu” because “all things begin with one.
Traditionally, the Coming Of Age Day, Seijin-no-Hi, was also celebrated on January 15th. It’s the mark of entering adulthood. You could say that Master Shimabuku’s Karate entered its adulthood at this time and emerged as Isshin Ryu Karate.
Like an Okinawan Hibiscus, Master Shimabuku’s Karate bloomed as “Isshin Ryu” on that January day in 1956. Seeds of Isshin Ryu have since been carried on the winds across the oceans and around the globe. In January of 1972, Sensei Sutton planted one of those seeds at Penn State and established the Penn State Karate Club. With help from Sensei Dorow & Sensei Liskai, PSKC developed strong roots.
“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Tatsuo Shimabuku broke with age old traditions and would openly teach his Karate to anyone of good character that demonstrated a true desire to learn, regardless of heritage or gender.