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The Matsubayashi-ryu Karate Association of Australia (MKAA) is a registered non-profit organisation and has been teaching the traditional Okinawan Karate-do branch of Shorin-ryu called Matsubayashi-ryu. The Australian association was officially formed in 1999 by Sensei John Carlyle, Renshi 6th Dan.

The MKAA, and it's member dojo are the only organisation of dojo in Australia that are officially recognised and authorised to teach by the late Soke Takayoshi Nagamine, and the current Board of Directors of the World Matsubayashi-ryu (Shorin-ryu) Karate-do Association located in Okinawa, Japan.

Since the sudden passing of Soke Takayoshi Nagamine in April 2012, the Australian association has remained under the direction of the WMKA Board of Directors in Okinawa. The MKAA is an official representative of the Kodokan Arakaki Karate Dojo and Vice-President Sensei Toshimitsu Arakaki, Fuku-Kaicho, Hanshi 10th Dan and the World Matsubayashi-ryu (Shorin-ryu) Karate-do Association.

Sensei Arakaki (l) with dojo owners Sensei Carlyle (m) and Sensei Cummings (r).

Sensei Arakaki with Sensei Carlyle.

The MKAA was established in order to promote, teach and spread traditional Okinawan Karate-do throughout Australia. The MKAA teaches traditional Matsubayashi-ryu Karate-do, as founded in 1947 by Osensei Shoshin Nagamine, Hanshi 10th Dan, and taught to Sensei John Carlyle, and Sensei Reece Cummings by the second generation headmaster, Soke Takayoshi Nagamine, Hanshisei 10th Dan, and son of the founder.

Matsubayashi-ryu is one of the main branches of Okinawan Karate-do practiced in Okinawa today, and was one of the styles which was in the first Karate federation in Okinawa. Matsubayashi-ryu is characterised by natural, flowing, fluid and snap, or whip-like techniques. It is a karate-based system with a strong focus on practical and realistic applications.

Matsubayashi-ryu Karate-do aims to acheive:

  • Versatile self-defence skills
  • Heightened co-ordination & reflexes
  • Discipline
  • Confidence
  • Fitness, health, stamina & flexibility
  • Cultivation & life-style development
  • Culture & history
  • Stress management
  • Ability to protect yourself and your loved ones
History & Lineage chart

Karate (空手) is a martial art (or a civilian self-defence system) which was developed in Okinawa (Ryukyu Islands). Karate originated from the fighting methods of 'te' as is characterised by punching, kicking, sharp blows & strikes as well as using pressure-sensitive points on the body of the opponent. Karate literally means empty (kara 空) hand (te 手).

While Matsubayashi-ryu (松林流) Karate did not exist before Osensei Shoshin Nagamine founded it, its beginnings had existed for hundreds of years before. Matsubayashi-ryu can trace its lineage from Chinese Gung-Fu and the original Okinawan Karate. The original Okinawan Karate was named "to-te" which means "Chinese hand" (唐手) , and was divided into Shuri-Te (首里手), Naha-Te (那覇手) and Tomari-Te (泊手). Shorin-ryu was primarily developed from a combination of Shuri-Te and Tomari-Te forms, and is now divided into the four schools; Matsumura Seito (Pine Village Orthodox 松村正), Kobayashi-ryu (Young Forest 小林流), Shobayashi-ryu (Small Forest 少林流), Matsubayashi-ryu (Pine Forest 松林流). In 1936 the term "Te" was changed by Okinawan masters who met, and agreed on the term "karate" which means "empty hand", as they felt it reflected the nature of the art better.

Osensei Nagamine named his school in recognition of masters which he viewed as two of the most important and influential forbearers of Shorin-ryu. These people were Master Sokon Matsumura and Master Kosaku Matsumora. The name which Osensei Nagamine chose for his school comes from the kanji characters that can be pronounced in Japanese either as "Matsubayashi" or as "Shorin". Most people refer to it as "Matsubayashi" as to avoid confusion with the other "Shorin" associations.

"Matsubayashi-ryu Kodokan Karate and Ancient Martial Arts Studies" was the official formation of the Matsubayashi-ryu in 1947 by Osensei Nagamine. Matsubayashi is the Okinawan pronunciation of the words for "Pine Forest". "Matsu" meaning "Pine" and "Hayashi" meaning "Forest", however when the two words are placed together the "H" of "Hayashi" is pronounced as a "B" turning it into "Matsubayashi". Furthermore, "Shorin" is the Japanese pronunciation of Chinese word "Shaolin", which comes from the Shaolin Buddhist Temple in China. "Ryu" (流) is means style or school, however the literally meaning is "stream" or "flow" which apparently reflected Osensei Nagamine's thoughts of karate, and specifically Matsubayashi-ryu is a living, and flowing thing.

According to documentation another theory to how the name was formed is that Nagamine Osensei's nickname was "Gaajuu Maachuu" which was sometimes pronounced "Chippai Matsu", which means "tenacious pine tree".

Osensei Shoshin Nagamine was the founder (or 1st Soke) of Matsubayashi-ryu. Following his passing in 1997, his son, Sensei Takayoshi Nagamine (or 2nd Soke) continued his legacy until his passing in 2012. After the passing of the 2nd Soke, an association-based model was adopted with Sensei Yoshitaka Taira becoming Kaicho (President), Sensei Toshimitsu Arakaki becoming Fuku-Kaicho (Vice-President), and Sensei Iwao Tome becoming Rijicho (Chairman) of the World Matsubayashi-ryu Karate-do Association.

Click here for a lineage chart of Matsubayashi-ryu (pdf).

Grading system (belts)

The junior grading system is universal through all branches of the Matsubayashi-ryu Karate Association of Australia. This belt system is for karate students under 14 years old. Juniors start as a white belt before going through the below grades.
N.B. When tying a belt, the stripes should end up on the right side.

White/Yellow Belt

Yellow Belt

Orange Belt

Blue Belt

Purple Belt

Junior belts also have 3 stripes between each coloured belt.

The junior grading system is universal through all branches of the Matsubayashi-ryu Karate Association of Australia. This belt system is for karate students over 14 years old. Seniors start as a white belt (mukyu - no grade) before going through the below kyu system.

6th Kyu

5th Kyu

4th Kyu

3rd Kyu

2nd Kyu

1st Kyu

The black belt grading system is unversal through all branches of the World Matsubayashi-ryu (Shorin-ryu) Karate-do Association and all assocations under Soke Takayoshi Nagamine. Black belt karate students are refered to as 'yudansha'.
N.B. A 'dan' is often refered to as 'degree of black belt', for example a 1st Dan (Shodan) may often be called a '1st degree black belt'.

1st - 10th Dan
A black belt may also have additional writing on their belt, such as their name & style, usually in Japanese (i.e. Matsubayashi-ryu / Jones)

Forms of address
Within the dojo, certain students and instructors are addressed with specific terms. These are used to pay respect to those who are senior to you. For example, you would call your instructor 'sensei' in class.

Definition (Literal meaning)
Senpai (先輩)
Senior (One who is senior)
Sensei (先生)
Teacher (One who has gone before)
Osensei (大先生)
Grandmaster / Founder (Great Teacher)

Positions within the dojo
These titles are used to identify instructors who hold special positions within the dojo or association.

Kancho (館長)
Branch Director / Dojo Owner
Rijicho (理事長)
Association Board Chairman
Fuku-Kaicho (副会長)
Association Vice-President
Kaicho (会長)
Association President
Soke (宗家)
Headmaster / Head of style

Shogo System (Teaching Titles)
These titles are given seperate and in addition to the normal grade in order to recognise the ability of an experienced senior instructor.

Shogo Title
Definition (Literal meaning)
Renshi (錬士)
6th Dan
Senior Instructor (Polished expert)
Kyoshi (教士)
7th & 8th Dan
Expert Instructor (Teaching expert)
Hanshi (範士)
9th & 10th Dan
Master Instructor (Model expert)
Hanshisei (範士正)
Head of Style
Senior Master Instructor (Senior model expert)