MASTER SEIICHI AKAMINE
…Only kind hearted persons of strong character can attain noble ideals… Seiichi Akamine
Sensei Akamine was born in the city of Naha, Okinawa, on the 14 May 1920. He began to learn the martial arts at a very early age, under the tutelage of his grandfather. Although the Akamine family were direct descendents of a Samurai cast, Sensei Akamine was the only one of his brothers who trained in the martial arts. Thus he practiced assiduously during his childhood and adolescence and became a very robust and healthy young man. After the teachings he received from his grandfather, he trained in the Shorin-Ryu style, with the following teachers: Chomo Hanashiro (1869-1945), Kentsu Yabu (1866-1937) and Chotoku Kyan (1870-1945).
Further on, he began to learn the Goju-ryu style created by Master Chojun Miyagi (1888-1953) with Master Seiko Higa (1898-1966) assistant of Master Miyagi and with one of his main students, Kanki Izumigawa (1908-1969) who became his second master of Goju-ryu.
At 16 years of age he received the grade of black belt 1st Dan; at 18 years of age he received his 2nd Dan and at 22 years of age he was honored with the grade of 4th Dan by his master, Seiko Higa.
Sensei Akamine performing Sai Kata, 1957
Nevertheless Sensei Akamine’s search did not stop there. With the same enthusiasm he began to observe other styles, such as: Uechi-ryu of Master Kanbun Uechi (1877-1948) where he incorporated the kata Kanshu, Kansha or Kanshiwa.
Sensei Akamine also shared experiences and knowledge with Master Seitoku Higa (1921) founder of the Bugeikan School and with Master Seiken Shukumine (1925-2002) Gensei-ryu karate do and founder of the Taido-Jutsu, both masters were the last students of Master Soko Kishimoto (1866-1945), who had only nine students. The latter can be demonstrated by the fact that Sensei Akamine had incorporated in his own school (Ken-Shin-Kan) katas practiced in the Bugeikan, such as: Ryufa or Rufua; Seisan or Sesan (this last one being very different to the one Master Chojun Miyagi taught) and Ken-Shin-ryu (originally known with the name Kusanku of Takemura). In addition, the contact that Sensei Akamine established with Sensei Seitoku Higa and Sensei Seiken Shukumine, is also reflected in the development in which he derived his training, then incorporating to its karate Goju-ryu, the techniques of Nage-waza (throwing/takedowns), the techniques of Tobi-gery (flying kicks) and the combinations of legs (kicks), very common to Gensei-ryu karate and Taido-jutsu style.
Sensei Akamine performing kata Ken Shin Ryu
In addition to his training in karate, Sensei Akamine also learned the art of Kobudo (old martial arts forms that taught the handling of diverse weapons of Chinese origin, such as: Bo, Sai, Nunchaku, Tonfa, Kama, Nunte, Suruchin, etc…) with all the teachers that developed him into a martial artist. However he received the most specialized teachings from the Kobudo master, Shinko Matayoshi (1888-1947), who normally taught at Master Chojun Miyagi’s Dojo. Later on his son Shimpo Matayoshi would impart lessons at Master Seiko Higa’s dojo. Also during his stay in Japan he learned some of the Japanese Budo arts, such as: Kenjutsu; Kendo; Iaido; Judo (of which it incorporated some throwing techniques to complement his karate) and, Jiu-Jitsu (techniques which are characteristic of the Goju-ryu Ken-Shin-Kan)
In addition to the previous it’s also worth mentioning that Sensei Akamine travelled several times to China, particularly to the province of Fukien or Fujian, since he considered the best Chinese Kempo was developed in this region. There, Sensei Akamine learned some forms of Kempo that later would inspire him to create his own style of karate. In addition, he learned aspects of herbalist medicine (treatment with medicinal plants) and Tui-na (medicinal treatment utilizing hand pressure, fingers, massage, and stretching of the muscle).
Shortly before World War II, Sensei Akamine travelled to Tokyo to take residence and to teach martial arts. There, he attended university to take courses in Anatomy and Physiology, stimulated by the noble intention to learn alternative medicine techniques, such as: Shiatsu (pressure with the fingers), Do-in (to guide and to absorb the Ki) and Kuatsu (techniques of resuscitation and rehabilitation) in parallel with these events, he opened his Dojo which he names Shikan-kan (School of the superior men),
Shikan-ryu, the style. And from the name that he gave to his school and to his style, his nickname Shikan Akamine arose, which became very well known in Tokyo, and the country that would further welcome him, Brazil.
Sensei Akamine spoke with affection of some friends that he had left in Tokyo, and amongst them Seiken Shukumine (Taido Kyokai), Hideo Tsuchiya (Shudokan), Hiroshi Kinjo (Jukendo) and Kanki Izumigawa (his Goju-ryu instructor).
In October 1950 Sensei Akamine participated in a demonstration of Karate-do in Tokyo. This event was organized by the Japanese TV Nipon, which marked the reactivation of Butokai (Association of the Japanese martial arts virtues) which had been in recess during and after World War II.
Note: an article from Genseiryu – History: Encyclopedia II – Genseiryu – History:
In October of 1950 Seiken Shukumine participated in a karate exhibition arranged by Nippon TV. In this demonstration also participated other masters like Hidetaka Nishiyama (of the Japan Karate Association, JKA), Yasuhiro Konishi (Ryobukai) Ryusho Sakagami (Itosukai), H. Kenjo (Kenshukai), Kanki Izumikawa and Shikan Akamine (both of Goju-ryu). Shukumine demonstrated a.o. the kata Koshokun dai, Tameshiwari (=breaking technique, in this case Shukumine broke 34 roof tiles with shuto, the edge of the open hand) and Hachidan-tobi-geri (jumping kick with 8 kicks in one jump). In the early 1950’s Shukumine creates Sansai no kata, a masterpiece of Genseiryu karate.
In 1957 Sensei Akamine immigrated to Brazil looking for a better future for his family and to spread the martial arts. Settling in Sau Paulo, he established a Dojo with more than 1000 students (1964). The school was named the Brazilian Association of Karate-Do (BAK). Later, this Association failed and Sensei Akamine created a new school; the Ken-Shin-Kan (1968). In that year, Roberto Fernandez de la Reguera travelled from Chile with the aim of inviting Sensei Akamine to Chile to establish a school. Sensei Akamine stayed a month in Santiago, Chile (1969) teaching intensively those who from then on, would be his representatives in Chile, the brothers Roberto and Raul Fernandez de la Reguera.
Previously in 1966 Sensei Akamine had travelled to Montevideo, Uruguay, to establish another branch which was left in the charge of Juan Carlos Rius.
Master Akamine dedicated almost all of his life to the practice of the martial arts; nevertheless he also dedicated much of his time to the study of numerology, arriving through this to establish very important conclusions with respect to the influence that names produce in the life of people, and the influence that numbers have in places where we live. With respect to the previous it is interesting to indicate that Master Akamine received the 8th Dan degree from the Japanese Butokai (Association of the Japanese martial arts virtues) and although he was required on several occasions by the Japanese Federation of Karate-do, to receive his ninth and tenth Dan, he never accepted a new degree. At the time, in his opinion, numbers 9 and 10 were not good.
Master Akamine passed away on the 18 July 1995, at 75 years of age. On his death bed laid some objects that had given him great meaning to his life, his Karate black belt, his Katana, and his book of numbers.
By Sensei Roberto Fernandez de la Reguera (Translated by Sensei Christian Tapia)