GIMA-HA is our National association name, as such it is very important to us all. Gima-Ha is named in honour of the late Saiko Shihan Shinkin (Makoto) Gima, thus the lineage is of huge significance, and the need to keep his name in the arena of Karate-Do, is paramount.
What few know, and the reason why we have retained the name, Shisei-Kai, stems from the association name used by Gima Shihan and his senior student Shihan Ikuo Higuchi prior to the death of the master in 1989. Gima Shihan was the President of the Zen Nihon Karate-Do Shisei-Kai-Kai Karate-Do Rengou Kai (All Japan Karate-Do Shisei-Kai Karate Union).
After Gima Shihan’s passing his senior students chose the Gima-Ha Shōtōkan Karate-Do Association to commemorate the great Master; in recognition and honour of the great contributions he made to both Japanese Karate-Do as a whole, and Shōtōkan-Ryu in general.
Our Dojo involvement with the name Shisei-Kai is of a personal note. In 1970 one of the Shisei-Kai instructors from Japan arrived in Canada for a two week vacation. This turned into a ten year stay. One of the students at the very beginning of that era was our own senior instructor, now resident in the United Kingdom. The name Shisei-Kai held significance for him for some 35 years until he was re-united with his sensei.
Shisei-Kai was instrumental in the founding of The National Karate Association (of Canada) British Columbia Branch. The mentor of all Shisei-Kai-Kai Canadian members, and in fact for us here in the United Kingdom was Shihan Hidetada Narumi.
In 1984 the Chief Instructor of the All Japan Karate-Do Shisei-Kai Union, Shihan Ikuo Higuchi, wrote: “… the growth of Shisei-Kai has been a long and difficult road.
As well as being a corporate lawyer, I was Shihan of the Shotokan style for the Okinawa Karate-do Association, in the vigour of my youth. The outdoor Dojo at Ikebukuro (district in Tokyo) with 20 disciples, became the birth-place of Shisei-Kai…
… In Showa 45th (1971) year the foundation of the Metropolitan Karate Organization sent a fresh wind through the karate world. The Vice-President, Y. Fuji, was at that time on the Board of Directors of E. Eriguchi, and one of the instructors Teruo Hayashi of F.A.J.K.O. It became very famous in the karate world, having had opportunities to exchange ideas with the best teachers of the karate world.
Throughout roughly six years, Shisei-kai was proud to form the centre of that growth. The man who really helped to add to our strength was Kobayashi Sensei. He was firm with us, and we continue to feel a great trust and reliance in this man.
During the past eight or nine years, we have been very proud to see Shisei-Kai’s development as an association, its developments as a start of the karate world, its growth in Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Iwate, Niigata and even in Canada, where Shisei-Kai has enjoyed a splendid growth and the formation of an association, giving Shisei-Kai an international flavour. For more than ten years we have known no stoppage in the process from hardship to good fortune, and we are greeting a second golden age. …
… The basis of all this is the support given by our teacher, Gima, which has amounted to some twenty years, and which we still continue to receive. I firmly believe that it is because every member receives his enthusiasm and feeling in the same way (that we achieved our success). This year, even the construction of a branch Dojo in Urawa City of Saitama Ken has been scheduled.”
Shisei-Kai is a name that is in our hearts and can be taken to have different meanings. ‘Kokorozashi’ (Shi) can mean the ‘warrior’s heart’, or ‘ambition’; Makoto (Sei) means sincerity; and ‘Kai’ means school. We like to think of our name as the ‘School of Sincere Heart’, or “Way of the Heart’.
Shihan Higuchi wrote … “For this reason, the value of ‘Shisei-Kai’ is in aspiring to the way of truth (also sincerity, honesty) through karate.”
The Shisei-Kai name is only used by the dojos directly under our lineage. Other members of Gima-Ha in the UK use their own dojo names.
All Shōtōkan groups are welcome to drop in and visit us, but only those with ‘heart’ should look to Gima-Ha as a future home.