Kyudokan Shorin-ryu Karatedo was founded by Sensei Yuchoku Higa. Born in 1910, Higa sensei was one of the most important Shorin-ryu instructor in Okinawa and was the first person to receive the rank of 9th dan from Choshin Chibana in 1965.
In 1947, he set up the Kyudokan Karate dojo in Naha city and continued to practice with Choshin Chibana. When the first Shorin-ryu Karate-do association was created in 1961, Sensei Higa was named vice president. He also held a number of position in the karate and kobudo spheres in Okinawa and was, amongst others, president of the Okinawa Federation of Karate and Kobudo and chief adviser for the Okinawa Association of Masters of Karate-do
His punch technique was so famous on Okinawa, that iit was known in the local dialect as “Yuchoku no tijikun”, i.e. Yuchoku’s punch. He dedicated several hours of his practice every day to makiwara exercises.
Apart from karate, he was a bonsai trees enthusiasts, and kept numerous examples at the entrance to his dojo in Naha. He believed that hobbies like these were fundamental for the growth of his spiritual sensitivity. He also believed in preserving the essence of Bujutsu Karate as an essential part of the Okinawan heritage. He viewed karaté-do as a way of improving character and believed that this could only be done through regular practice. He famously stated the following in relation to karate-do; “up to a certain time I thought being strong was the most important thing. In time I realized that the most important thing is to be ready to give assistance to others. Moreover it is important not to set oneself limits, therefore I now preach Kyudo Mugen – the study-trail is never-ending. The karate pathway is as immensely vast, profound and boundless as the heavens that go on for ever beyond all limits.”
Master Yuchoku died on November 6, 1994, in Naha, at the age of 84. He was succeded as head of Kyudokan by Minoru Higa (10th Dan), current President and Soke of Okinawa Shorin-ryu Kyudokan Karate-Do Association.
Master Minoru Higa
Master Minoru Higa was the nephew of Yuchoku Higa and was born in Naha, Okinawa on September 18, 1941. His first experience of martial arts was at the age of 11 when he started Judo under the guidance of Yogen Tamashiro. From 1960 onwards Minoru Higa attended the famous temple of judo, the “Kodokan”, attaining the grade of 4th Dan.
In 1960 he also began practicing karate with his uncle Yuchoku Higa and enrolled in the Japan Bodybuilding Center. His weight-training and intense practice of judo and karate, helped Higa sensei to become the university boxing champion.
As well as being a prominent entrepreneur and world representative of the Kyudokan school, Minoru Higa is a committee-member for the Okinawan Karatedo and Kobudo Federation, vice-president of the Ryukyu Kobudo Ryu Kon Kai Association, chief committee-member of the Okinawa Bodybuilding Association, a member and referee for the Japanese Bodybuilding Federation, and a member and referee for the Japanese Powerlifting Association.
Sensei Patrick Rault – 8th Dan – Kyudokan France
Sensei Patrick Rault was born in Versailles, France on 29th May 1960. He started karate at the age of 15 under Sensei Guy Juille, Shito-ryu. In 1985 he moves to Japan to follow his passion and trained under master Nakamura until 2000 at which time he met Master Minoru Higa and started training with Kyudokan. After 15 years spent in Japan, he returned to France and has been going back to Japan 3 times a year to train with Master Higa. He as been officially nominated as official Kyudokan representative in France by Soke Minoru Higa 10th dan.
In 2016, Sensei Rault was awarded 8th dan in Okinawa by Soke Minoru Higa. Amongst other accolades, Sensei Rault has been nominated as teacher of the year 2014 by the World Ryukyu no Kaze society in February 2015. He is a French Federal Expert, Member of the French Karate Federation Grading Commission and Equivalents. He was also nominated as Civil & Cultural of Ambassador of the Okinawa Prefecture since 2014. Sensei Rault also spent 5 years in the UK and is official representative of the English Federation (BIKO) in France.
Sensei Rault runs a dojo in Perpignan (France) and gives a number of seminars in France and other european countries. He is the technical director for Kyudokan Kerry and advises our club in relation to all technical matters.
Marc Dourieu – 3rd Dan – Kyudokan Kerry, Ireland
Marc held a first dan in Shotokan before taking up Shorin-ryu while he was staying in France in 2014/2015. In 2016, he spent two weeks in Okinawa with Sensei Rault training under the guidance of Master Minoru Higa. This visit to the birthplace of karate convinced him to change the way he practices karate and to follow the training methods and the teaching of the Kyudokan. The shorter fighting range and practical nature of Shorin-ryu karate seemed a better fit for his personality and aspirations.
He also traveled to France to train with Sensei Rault, 8th dan, Kyudokan France, (highest Kyudokan rank in Europe) and Civil and Cultural Ambassador of the Okinawan Prefecture.
Marc was awarded his 3rd Dan by Patrick Rault Sensei in June 2022. He runs classes in Killorglin Sports Complex every Tuesday and Friday evening.
Kyudokan around the world
Kyudokan now has many countries and the organisation has branches in France, the UK, Poland, Canada, Israel, Uruguay, Argentina India and many more.
Kyudo Mugen, the study-trail is never-ending, has become the motto of the school and symbolizes the spirit of Kyudokan, the pursuit of personal physical and mental development through constant practice and is in evidence in Kyudokan dojos throughout the world.