Chotoku Kyan
“Never brag about your karate skills, for there is always someone who is better than you"
Zenryo Shimabukuro
"Never use your hands and feet when your words and mind will do a better job"
Angel Lemus & Tim Rodgers
Preserving Kyan's Karate and the old ways
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Origins and Lineage

Chotoku Kyan

The Zentokukai was created from a great tradition and lineage of Okinawan Karate. Its goal is to preserve the teachings passed down to us and at the same time allow and promote the natural evolution of any living art, which by nature has to evolve as it moves forward through time much like an individual going throught the stages of a beginner to an advanced practitioner.

The Zentokukai is very proud of it’s rich tradition which fosters the old world virtues which provide wisdom and knowledge. And at the same time, reconizes the need to adapt in order for these ancient teachings to fit into our modern world and culture.

Our lineage is clear and provides a direct path back some of the great karatemen of old Okinawa. There is a richness and beauty in knowing who you are and where you came from. 

The Zentokukai traces its lienage back to 6 great Okinawan martial artists who taught Chotoku Kyan and who’s life spanned the ancient world and the modern world. Kyan was born into the upper royalty class of ancient Okinawa and because of his birth had access to many great martial artists of Okinawa. Kyan’s legacy gives us a great and diverse body of knowledge molded into a comprehensive style called Sukunaihayashi-Ryu (or Small Pine Forest style).

The Zentokukai is not a typical Karate association with one head master or chief instructor, it was founded by 4 men, Tim Rodgers, Angel Lemus, Jim Pizii, and Walter Dailey. From the beginning it was run by a board of directors and now has 4 members, including  Larry Hall (Walter Dailey has passed away). 

Below is our lineage chart, updated Saturday October 13th 2012.

Zenryo Shimabukuro

Meaning of Patch

What does the purple Zentokukai patch represent?

The Zentokukai patch is a representation of the Kyan (pronounced “Chan” in old Okinawan language Hogen) family crest as shown here by Kyan’s father Chofu, wearing a traditional coat bearing 1/2 of the crest on either side. This symbol is worm with pride and respect as it represents Kyan’s Karate.

The color purple is the chosen color for the Kyan family crest. In ancient Okinawa it represented royalty and a high status in the court of the Shuri castle. The crosshatching bars represent the frame (wooden structure) of an old water well. The Kyan’s were 11th generation descendants to King Shosei of the Ryukyu Kingdom. Kyan’s father Chofu, was the steward to the last living king of Okinawa, King Shotai.

Meaning of the Kanji

What does the Kanji (Japanese characters) for Zentokukai mean?

The Zentokukai is a combination of two Okinawan names, the Zen comes from “Zen”ryo (Shimabukuro Zenryo) and the Toku comes from Cho“toku” (Kyan Chotoku). This combining of names is an old and common practice adopted by martial arts groups and organizations who wish to follow the teachings of more than one teacher. The “Kai” means “association”.