11 Distinct Features of Isshinryu Karate

Master Shimabuku, when formed the Isshinryu, he blended the best techniques from Shorin-Ryu and Goju-Ryu. In addition, he also employed techniques which were new and unique in their own designs. His knowledge from what he had learned before in other styles and his philosophy of the required ultimate fighting art has helped him create the Isshinryu fighting martial arts. Isshinryu is a living example of the martial art journey of Tatsuo Shimabuku. Here are some key features of Isshinryu Karate you can learn.

No fancy techniques

The art focuses purely on raw fighting techniques. There are no fancy techniques used while creating the sets of Isshinryu martial arts.

System of self-defence

Isshinryu is a self-defence martial art which combines the best methods from Shoriryu and Gojuryu. The basic self-defence system of the art focuses on more self-defence sets.

Hand and kick techniques


The hand techniques are used on the upper body only while the kicks are thrown below the waist for more power and balance.

Shot stances

Isshinryu uses short and natural stances than a specified stance to allow better mobility to the body and eliminate the motion and energy to make major shifts.

Balanced techniques

Isshinryu focuses more on balancing your hand and kick techniques to keep both the sets stable and equally effective. Focusing only on the hands can slow down the legs and vice versa.

Close combat

The art of Isshinryu focuses on close-in techniques which is valuable training for street fighting and unarmed troubles.

The blocks

The blocks are hard and soft based on the situation. They are executed with the muscular part of the forearm to avoid any injury to the bones.

Thumb on fist

The thumb in this technique remains on top on the fist rather than being on top of two fingers. This position with the thumb on top locks the wrist and serves to tighten the fist.


The punches in Isshinryu are vertical to increase the speed and power of the game. The punches are made to target the muscles rather than bones for sudden injuries and damage.

Multipurpose techniques

The techniques taught in Isshinryu are multipurpose. So, a good offensive punch can be a great defence. A blow can serve as a block and then can again serve as a blow due to the stance and hand movements.

Snap punches

Since it is a close-in technique, the snap punches are applied instead of a total arm and leg usage. The snap punches allow better movement of the body and increase the reflexes for defence after the attack. The body can pull back from an attack better with this method. It allows quickness and reduces the injuries associated with extending joints.

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