Shogen-Ryu Karate-Do is a Shorin-Ryu system of karate, and it is the creation of Taba Kensei, Hanshi, Judan. It is the product of his more than 60 years of training in Karate-Do under such masters as Shoshin Nagamine, Hohan Soken and Chosin Chibana.
Shogen-Ryu Karate-Do is not another branch or organization of Matsubayashi-Ryu or any other style. It is unique.
The name Shogen Ryu was used by Taba, Sensei to honour his teacher Shoshin Nagamine, and to indicate the intention of returning to the origins or roots of authentic karate. The first part of the name “Sho” represents Shoshin Nagamine while the “gen” means a return to the roots or origins of karate, the predecessor being termed by the older martial arts practitioners as “ti.” In other words Shogen Ryu is a budo system in that it is not a sport but a strong, direct, effective and realistic form of Okinawan karate.
Key aspects of Shogen-Ryu Karate-Do are the use of natural movements, efficiency of movement, a relaxed body and most importantly, the use of koshi, the combination of the hips and lower back when performing techniques. While many people talk about the importance of “koshi” to get maximum power few truly understand the anatomy and bio-mechanical principles involved. It is not an exaggerated movement of the hips but a small and often imperceivable “snap” which provides incredible power to techniques. Taba Sensei had an unquestionable understanding of koshi and incorporated it into Shogen-Ryu karate. The result is a perfect blending of tradition and science which is carried on by Maeda Sensei and his students.
Taba Sensei created a system in which knowledge comes first and egos and politics are not important. Rank is earned and respected, not casually handed out and boasted. Titles, such as Shihan, Renshi, Kyoshi and Hanshi, are only used in written form as is grammatically correct in the Japanese language, and instructors are addressed as “Sensei” regardless of what title they hold. In addition, everyone wears a plain white dogi with the association crest and Dan ranks wear a simple blackbelt with their name and “Shogen-Ryu” embroidered on the ends.
No colorful uniforms with multiple patches or fancy colored or patterned belts are worn. The simple blackbelt a student receives as a Shodan could be the same belt they wear 30 years later.