About the Name Matsubayashi

Grandmaster Shoshin Nagamine

Grandmaster Shoshin Nagamine

The art of Matsubayashi-Ryu was founded in 1947 by Osensei Shoshin Nagamine (1907–1997). Matsubayashi-Ryu is a form of Shorin-Ryu, which in turn is one of the major styles of Okinawan Karate-Do.

“Matsubayashi” is the Okinawan/Japanese pronunciation of the ideograms for “Pine Forest.” “Matsu” means “pine” and “Hayashi” means “forest.” When the two words are put together, the “H” of Hayashi is pronounced as “B,” hence Matsubayashi. “Shorin” is the Chinese pronunciation of the same ideograms. The origin of this name is the Shaolin Temple in China. “Ryu” translates as style or system. Literally, it means “river,” which conveys the image that an art is a living, flowing thing.

Ankichi Arakaki

Chotoku Kyan

Choki Motobu

Nagamine Sensei’s most influential teachers were Ankichi ArakakiChotoku Kyan and Choki Motobu (shown above). Nagamine Sensei named his school “Matsubayashi” in honor of two great Sensei who taught the latter two of these teachers: Sokon “Bushi” Matsumura and Kosaku Matsumora. Incidentally, Nagamine Sensei’s nickname growing up was Gaajuu Maachuu (sometimes Chippai Matsu), meaning “tenacious pine tree.”