Who is who in Shidokan? Remember Shidokan is MIyahira’s Dojo. Nakazato led Shorinkan, Higa led Kyudokan, Uema led Shubukan(?), Ishikawa had his own dojo. Shinzato led Shinshukan in Brazil and Argentina (mostly senior students who left Miyazato). See note at bottom of page
The Shidokan Dojo Leader Board (picture below taken 3/6/2017 at Miyahira’s Dojo) lists students by rank and seniority. Read first panel from Right to Left:
Kan Seniority (remember Kan means place)
Hirouki Shinkai (Sensei never met him, and knows nothing about him. We suspect Maybe he has a dojo in Japan)
You already know that Katsuya Miyahira founded Shidokan Shorin Ryu Karate (Kobayashi).
– Shoei Miyazato was Miyahira’s senior student. However, two different times while in Okinawa he was quoted as saying he was a 10th Dan in a newspaper. Miyahira had him retract the statement the first time. The second time he and Miyahira split as Miyahira suggested that Miyazato should form his own organization. (The Miyazato Dojo currently has between 9 – 10,000 students!) Miyazato rejoined the Shidokan organization after a few years well after Miyahira promoted Seikichi Iha to 10th Dan in 2001.
– Seikichi Iha became the first 10th Dan promoted by the Shorin Ryu Karate Associaton headed by Katsuya Miyahira. This is the organization that Chibana developed and presided over until his death.
– Takeshi Miyagi was promoted to 10th Dan in 2003(?) and now presides over the Shorin Ryu Karate Association. He and his students don’t wear Shidokan patches. He has a small organization. He does have a 9th Dan in Mount Airy and two 8th Dans in Baltimore.
– Hirouki Shinkai was promoted to 10th Dan in 2004. We don’t know much about him.
– Kasei Shimambukuro was promoted in ? He always participates in Iha events and often comes to NTS. He was a well-known Okinawan politician.
Miyahira promoted Nakamura to 9th Dan, along with a slew of other students. Nakamura has a small dojo in Okinawa. Dick Kevork from France has a large school and organization and practices under Nakamura. Nakamura promoted Kevork to 9th Dan (He was about 45 years old) and Kevork then signed a certificate promoting Nakamura to 10th Dan! He heads up the Shorin Ryu Dento & Kobudo Organization or something. I will look it up and correct this.
Takeshi Miyagi recently promoted to 10th Dan Morinobu, a student of Miyahira, and Kiyoshi Tchaya his own student.
Argentina: Masatoshi Miyazato was promoted to 10th Dan after his father died. I believe the Shorin Ryu Karate Association then headed by Miyagi promoted him. Iha sponsored his promotion. Does it matter who promoted him? No one else has an Okinawan Karate Dojo and School system as large at Miyazato’s. They recently celebrated their Dojo’s 60th Anniversary! Mercedes Miyazato, Shoei Miyazato’s daughter, and Masatoshi’s sister was recently promoted to 9th Dan. I believe she is the highest-ranked woman in Okinawan Karate.
Guam: Shiroma was promoted to 10th Dan while Ishikawa presided over the Shorin Ryu Karate Association. Iha sponsored his promotion.
My Conjecture: When Iha was promoted to 10th Dan in 2001 the Shorin Ryu Karate Association also promoted 4 Chibana students to 10th Dan. I believe they were: Ishikawa, Shinzato (Brazil), Shimambukuro Katsuyuki, and maybe Uema. People wondered how Miyahira could promote so many people to 10th Dan at once. Yet the Shorin Ryu Karate Association, not just Miyahira, could recognize Chibana students and Iha at the same time.
Many 8th and 9th Dans left Miyazato’s Dojo for political reasons. Some speculate that Shoei Miyazato wanted to leave the Dojo to his son Masatoshi and the higher ranks could get in the way of his succession. You can find these guys on Facebook. I have been in contact with them periodically through Facebook.
– Miyazato’s son-in-law Miguel Corraglio left to form Shidokai. He died of cancer a few years ago. There are still some followers in Argentina and Texas. I think his son now leads the small Shidokai Association.
– Gerardo Cantore left as an 8th Dan to become a Buddhist monk, then studied Ishin Ryu. He is now located in the Patagonia of Argentina heading up the Shin Shin Kan Association as a 10th Dan, promoted by an Okinawan Goju Ryu 10th Dan.
– Santiago Sacaba left as a 9th Dan and now heads up an Association. He was promoted to 10th Dan by another Okinawan 10th Dan. He still often visits the Miyahira dojo with his students and is well known by Miyahira’s senior students. He now lives in Italy.
– Hector Gonzalez left the Miyazato Dojo and started studying with Shinzato’s (Brazil) Shin Shun Kan. He is now rated a 9th Dan and lives in Cordoba, Argentina, the same town as the Miyazato Hombu Dojo. Morinobu often visits Gonzalez. I’ve counted at least 3 times. Yet per Masatoshi Miyazato, he has never contacted the Miyazato Dojo while he was in Argentina.
Morinobu is Secretary of the Shorin Ryu Karate Do Association and travels often. When he visited Brazil they would often describe him as a 10th Dan. I asked Sensei Iha about that and he said he was a 10th Dan in Brazil only. I suspect that way he would outrank Yonamine who left Shinzato and affiliated with Sensei Iha and received the rank of 9th Dan from Miyagi. Iha sponsored his promotion. He died a few years ago and his son Marcelo, 7th or 8th Dan now heads up Brazil Shidokan. Miyagi officially promoted Morinobu to 10th Dan recently.
These are my thoughts. Most of it is based on historical scraps of information found here and there, what Sensei Iha has told me, what I have witnessed, etc. If something is incorrect please let me know.
Thanks for reading!
Robert Roberto Curtis
Beikoku Shidokan Shorin Ryu Karate Do (Kobayashi) 8th Dan, Kyoshi
Virginia Okinawan Karate Dojo, 6416 Grovedale Dr., Alexandria, VA 22310