The history about Genseiryū
Genseiryū (玄制流) is a karate style with roots in Shuri-te, one of the three original karate
styles of Okinawa, Japan. It was developed by Seiken Shukumine (1925–2001) who
combined classic techniques with his own innovations thus developing the special
characteristics of Genseiryū. Shukumine had two known teachers, Sadoyama and
Kishimoto. The name Genseiryū was first used in 1953. In Japanese the name consists of
three different characters (kanji):玄制流.
The first is gen (玄) and means 'mysterious', 'occult', and 'universe' but also 'a subtle and
deep truth'. The second is sei (制) and translates to 'control', 'system', 'law' or 'rule' but also
'creating a form.' The last is ryū (流 ryū) which simply means 'style' or 'school.' The
combination of gensei (玄制) could be translated as 'to control the universe', but is interpreted
by members of the school to mean something like "to pursue the deep truth and making it
clear through the form," which can be regarded physically as well as spiritually.
Genseiryū has its roots in an old karate style called Shuri-te. Some sources speak of
Tomari-te being the source, but the differences were minimal since both styles contributed to
the development of Shōrin-ryū. In the 1920s and '30s there were three major karate styles in
Okinawa. They were all named after the cities where they were developed: Naha, Tomari
and Shuri. These three styles (Naha-Te, Tomari-Te and Shuri-Te) are sometimes called more
generally Okinawan Karate.
Matsumura "Bushi" Sōkon (1809–1898) was one of the masters of Shuri-te. His many
students who later became legends of karate included Yasutsune (Ankō) Itosu. A lesser
known pupil was Bushi Takemura. He developed a version of the kata (型) Kushanku that is
still trained in Genseiryū and Bugeikan today. One of Takemura's pupils was Kishimoto
(1862–1945, some sources speak of 1868 as birth year). He became the later teacher of
Seiken Shukumine, born 9 December 1925 in Nago on the Japanese island of Okinawa,
started at age 8 with karate lessons from Ankō Sadoyama, a grandmaster in koryū karate
("Old style/school Chinese techniques"). He trained him for four years. When Shukumine
was about 14 years old, he was accepted by Kishimoto. Kishimoto was very selective: he
had only nine kōhai (= pupils/students) throughout his life and also Seiken Shukumine had
to insist many times, before Kishimoto decided to teach the young man. The last two
students of Kishimoto actually were Seiken Shukumine and Seitoku Higa (born 1920).
Another source states that Seiken Shukumine was tested before Kishimoto accepted him as
a student. When Shukumine and Kishimoto met for the first time, Kishimoto took a poker
and threw a piece of wooden coal with full force towards Shukumine, who evaded.
Kishimoto accepted him as a student on one condition: to promise him to keep the
techniques a secret.
During the Second World War the 18-year-old Shukumine was drafted into the navy and had
to join the Japanese Kamikaze Corps where he became a "kaiten" pilot, a one-man ship
packed with explosives used in kamikaze suicide attacks against American warships. Seiken
Shukumine was trained to guide this small craft through the protective maze of steel netting
that was laid down in the water around the ships, to prevent them from being attacked by
these kaiten. He thought in a martial art way to manoeuvre between these steel nettings and
tried to think of techniques to avoid enemy torpedoes. He learned that he had to work hard
to penetrate the enemy's defenses, and the imagination of the martial artist in him saw how
such an approach could be adapted to traditional karate to make for a more supple and
dynamic form of combat.
Fortunately Shukumine was never appointed for a suicide attack and he survived the war.
But when he came back home he found Okinawa demolished by the bombings and his
master Soko Kishomoto was killed during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. Shukumine
retreated in solitude for a couple of years and started to develop his karate style with in the
back of his head his training as a kaiten pilot. He combined his new techniques with the
classic techniques he had learned from his masters Sadoyama and Kishimoto, thus
developing the special characteristics of Genseiryū.
In 1949 in the town of Itō (Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan), Seiken Shukumine demonstrated
publicly his karate techniques for the first time. In October 1950 Seiken Shukumine
participated in a karate exhibition arranged by Nippon Television. In this demonstration also
participated other masters like Hidetaka Nishiyama (of the Japan Karate Association, JKA),
Yasuhiro Konishi (Ryobukai) Ryusho Sakagami (Itosukai), H. Kenjo (Kenshukai), Kanki
Izumikawa and Shikan (Seiichi) Akamine (both of Gōjū-ryū). Shukumine demonstrated a.o.
the kata Koshokun dai, Tameshiwari (breaking technique, in this case Shukumine broke 34
roof tiles with shutō, the edge of the open hand) and Hachidan-tobi-geri (jumping kick with 8
kicks in one jump). In the early 1950s Shukumine created Sansai no kata, a masterpiece of
In 1953 Shukumine started to give lessons on the Tachikawa military base to the Self-
Defense Forces and for the next 10 years he gave lessons at many dojos (e.g. at
universities and corporate groups) around the Tokyo area. It was in 1953 that Shukumine
officially announced his techniques were Genseiryū, but the year 1950 is often mentioned as
the year of the beginning of Genseiryū.
In 1964 Shukumine published his book Shin Karatedō Kyōhan in which he describes the
basics of Ko-ryu Karate-do. Some of the kata in the book are explained thoroughly, with
Ten-i no Kata
Chi-i no Kata
Jin-i no Kata
Sansai no Kata
There are many more kata mentioned in this book, without pictures, a total of about 44 kata,
including Taikyoku-Shodan, Tensho-no-Kata, Wankan, etc. In the book he mentions the
name Genseiryū a few times. He refer to the contents of the book as being koryū (古流),
which is considered as 'old tradition' or 'old school' karate. In the book he added some kata
that he created himself: Ten-i no Kata Chi-i no Kata Jin-i no Kata and Sansai. In the book
Shin Karatedō Kyōhan many kata and techniques and training materials are described.
Shukumine was also known as a philosopher and during the war he learned that to do
something unanticipated or unexpected is the secret to victory, whether in a war between
two nations or in a mere personal conflict. In other words: the basic philosophy of Genseiryū
pursues this idea of doing the unexpected.
Shukumine ruminated on how to apply this idea not only to life but also to Genseiryū Karate
and its kata. Eventually he created the basic theory of "Sen, Un, Hen, Nen and Ten." These
are the basic principles that make of Genseiryū a three-dimensional karate style:
Sen (whirlwind): vertical circular movement of the body axis (rotating, turning);
Un (waves): elegant up and down movement in the directions of front and back;
Hen (clouds): falling movement in front and back, right and left by your own will;
Nen (maelstrom, whirlpool): twisted hand and arm techniques, mainly executed on
Ten (luminous): a technique in an unexpected situation created by front turn, back
turn and side turn.
It is "Sansai" that is known widely as a typical kata of Genseiryū with lots of these
techniques. Other genuine techniques of Genseiryū are the kicks Ebi-geri (back kick with
both hands on the ground and the face close to the ground) and Manji-geri (side kick
(mawashi-geri) with head close to the ground and both hands on the ground). Both kicks
belong to the so-called Shajo-geri group (leaning body) and are also trained in Taidō.
Besides kata, Genseiryū also practices Shihō and Happō (some other styles do too, but not
all of them). Shihō (四方) translates into 'four directions' and comprises exercises in which a
combination of techniques is repeated several times in four different directions (front, back,
right and left). This is almost the same with Happō, but it translates into 'eight directions',
thus it comprises exercises in eight different directions.
From the 1960s Genseiryū started to spread also outside Japan, to countries like the USA,
Spain, Finland, Holland, Denmark, Australia, Brazil, India, etc.
The introducer of Genseiryū in Sweden was Shihan Jari Hiltunen. He was born in Finland,
Helsinki the year 1961. 1962 he moved with his family to Sweden, were his father began his
work. Shihan Jari Hiltunen began martial art training at 9 years of age, and he practised
Judo for many years. The first Karate Dojo he joined was "Göteborgs karate-kai" and the
style was Kyukushinkai, my teachers name at that time was Sensei Attila Mezaros.
He practised karate under many teachers when he was young, and finally he found the right
martial art method by Seiken Shukumine, which at that time was called "acrobatic karate" -
At the age of 21 Shihan Jari Hiltunen received the degree 3rd Dan Renshi by Seiken
Shukumine, that was his first visit in Japan and the year was 1982.
In 1984 he introduced Genseiryū Karate in Sweden and started the Dojo "Gensei Kan".
More then 10 years they practised and competed without membership in the "Swedish Budo
1984 he also dissolved the Swedish Taido oraganisation, in which he was the chairman, in
order to concentrate on Karate in the future. It was obvious that the style would be
Genseiryū because TAIDO and Genseiryū has many resemblances.
Both arts are created by Saiko Shihan Shukumine Seiken.
The same year as the European Genseiryu karatedo federation was founded (1988) he
received 5th Dan. He worked as a director for this federation until the Nordic countries;
Sweden Finland and Denmark, created "The Scandinavian Gensei ryu Karatedo
Federation", in 1993. He was choosen to be the director and Shihan for this federation.
They strive to carry on the classical art of Genseiryū Karate-do, which is a unique mix
between the Okinawa-te and the tactic Seiken Shukumine used from Tokotai.
On 26 November 2001 Seiken Shukumine died of cardiac arrest, after a long sickness
(since 1995). He was 75 years old and left a wife, a son and two daughters behind.
2008 Shihan Jari Hiltunen told his student Sensei Peter Kallmyr (in the local Kuma Dojo,
Uddevalla) to start this home page, to create an Official home page for Genseiryū Karate-do
Federation in Sweden.
This home page is a way to unite all true Genseiryū Dojo in Sweden:
Gentokukai Dojo, Gothenburg
Kuma Dojo, Uddevalla
and future Dojo’s, which will be listed here.
2007-2015 © The Swedish Gensei Ryu Federation
Information are from Wikipedia