Kiyohide Shinjo

Kiyohide Shinjo

Kiyohide ShinjoOn November 3, 1951 Ie-jima Island produced a modern day karate legend name Kiyohide Shinjo. He began karate training, not by his own choice, when he was ten years old.

Seiyu was a hard man concerning karate. He maintained the uncompromising, sometimes inhuman, standard of training established by Kanbun Uechi.

Intoxicated servicemen often found their way into the dojo, challenging the Okinawans to fight, in those days. Seiyu Shinjo often ordered his son to fight the belligerent Americans. For many years the skinny young Okinawan was beaten by the challengers. As Kiyohide’s size, strength, and karate ability increased, so did his dislike for American servicemen. In time Kiyohide won every fight with great pleasure.

Tournament History

In 1968, The Uechi Ryu Karate Shubukai held the first annual Uechi ryu tournament. It included kata (forms) and kumite (sparring) competition for black belts. Seiyu Shinjo was the organizer and tournament director. His son Kiyohide, placed third in kata in the inaugural tournament.

At the third annual tournament in 1970, Kiyohide Shinjo won the championship in both kata and kumite. He continued to do so for a record nine years. He became a legend in Okinawa in the process and is often called “Okinawa’s Superman”

In 1978, the eighth year of his championship reign, the first All Okinawa Championship Tournament was held. The champion of this historic sparring event, open to black belts of all karate styles, was Kiyohide Shinjo. He retired from competition after the 1980 Uechi ryu tournament, due to the ill health of his father.

The Uechi ryu tournament ran uninterrupted for twenty years until the break up of the Uechi Ryu Association in 1988. The Kadena dojo won the championship in fifteen of the twenty tournaments.