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The emblem is called Mizu-gami or Me-gami (depending on whose history you read). It shows a woman that represents quiet character, who is half sea-dragon. Her left hand is open in a universal sign of peace, and her right hand is closed in a fist representing strength if evil prevails.

In Asian mythology, the sea-serpent is born at the bottom of the sea and ascends to the heavens as depicted by the small dragon above her head. The churning sea and the gray background represents a typhoon. Mizu-gami represents a mother taking care of her child, calm and gentle as a mother would be under these circumstances, but ready to unleash the same amount of fury a mother would if her child was harmed in any fashion. The three stars represent the three arrows of karate: spiritual, physical, and mental.
This colorful emblem represents a vision which came to Master Shimabuku, in a dream he had during the time he was developing Isshin-Ryu. The words Isshin-Ryu, when translated from the Okinawan language, literally mean "One Heart Way". [Note: The word shin also means "mind", so you may see translations as "One Heart/Mind Way".]

The orange border represents the ring of fire Master Shimabuku saw in his dream.
The oval border stands for the vertical fist, which is the primary trait of Isshin Ryu.

The Megami is half woman and half dragon. Her left hand is open, the universal symbol of peace or soft. Her right hand is closed in a Isshin Ryu fist, symbol of hard and is ready to be used in times of need to defend.
The dragon ascends from the water into the sky or heaven, and stands for heaven. Tatsu means 'dragon' and our founders name Tatsuo, means 'dragon man'. The dragon to many followers of Isshin Ryu is Master Shimabuku, who is the spirit of Isshin Ryu.

The tiger in the headdress of the Megami stands for earth. Both dragon and tiger stands for heaven and earth.

The dark background with the three stars shows it is night. Night symbolizes darkness, which is the unknown.

The grey skies symbolize another aspect of his dream.

The three stars stands for all of Shimabuku's teachers who lighten the night bringing knowledge, Kyan, Motobu and Miyagi.

The three stars are in one line (-), the Chinese and Japanese character for one. Sensei Shimabuku told his students on the introduction of Isshin Ryu that all things start with one. The one stands for one in Isshin Ryu, for Isshin Ryu means 'One heart way'.

The three stars can also mean: mind, body and spirit or any three things. Tatsuo said that Isshin Ryu was composed of three elements: Shorin-ryu, Goju-ryu and Kobudo.

The upper body / woman depicts that karate can be gentle as a woman. Symbolic of soft.

The lower body / dragon shows that karate can be fierce as a dragon if needed. Symbolic of hard.

The calm face of the goddess in a storm or in times of crises one must be calm, especially in times of danger.

The jewelry around her neck symbolizes wisdom.

The green circles on her head symbolize that the Karateka can see in all directions.

The turbulent water and storm or typhoon symbolizes danger, troubles of life and purity.

The kanji (Japanese characters) means: Isshin Ryu karate.




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Last Modified: April 6, 2004

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