Why Gima-Ha?

Why would you choose Gima-Ha Karate?

TAKAO NAKAYA (p 164 Karatedo History and Philosophy, 6th edition, Takao Nakaya, JSS Publishing) states:

“At last, I want to add one story that Shinkin Gima said in his book, ‘Kindai Karatedono Rekishiwo Kataru.’ When Funakoshi published his book, he sent a copy to Gima, and he wrote on the inside of the book’s cover, “I present this book to Gima-Sensei.” He was twenty-six years older than Gima. I think that even though he became a very famous Karatedoka still he was learning the way of Karatedo. Funakoshi left many excellent Karatedoka with a huge footprint as Karatedoka in Karatedo history.”


Shinkin (Makoto) Gima himself said in an interview: 

Fujiwara: The relationship between Shihan Gichin Funakoshi and you started when you were at Meisho-juku did it not?

Gima: I indirectly knew him because he was teaching at  Matsuyama Girls Elementary School (Naha).  At first, Shihan Gichin Funakoshi wanted to enter a medical school at the beginning, but the tuition was too high and he could not afford it.  Families with Samurai antecedents in Okinawa were all poor.  So, he entered Okinawa Shihan School to become a teacher at an elementary school.   For the thirty-two years of his work, he made a record of no lates (lateness) and no absences.  His evaluation by the prefecture was extremely good.  In particular, he won popularity among girl students, and wore a training outfit sewn by them with all their heart.   

Wherever I was, Shihan Gichin Funakoshi sent me a book.  He was humble enough to write in black ink on the front “A present to Sensei Shinkin Gima”.  

To me, who was twenty-six years younger than he was!  I respectfully corrected his expression and said, “The word Sensei should not be used for Kohai by Senpai. It should be Makoto Gima-Kun.”  

He never corrected his expression and said, “No, these words show the attitude of your mind.  Age does not matter at all.”  It was after a while that I deeply understood Shihan Gichin Funakoshi’s true heart.  By that time, he was no longer living in this world.


From the above it is evident that Shihan Makoto Gima had a special relationship with Shihan Gichin Funakoshi. That same relationship was passed from Makoto Gima to his senior students, Tatsuya Kobayashi (Tokyo – Not practicing), Ikuo Higuchi (Tokyo), Mitsunori Kobayashi (Ojiya-shi Niigata), and Hidetada Narumi (Kushiro, Hokkaido). These three masters (I. Higuchi, M. Kobayashi, and H. Narumi) have themselves propagated Gima-Ha Karate-Do on an international basis, as has their junior successor T. Sameshima. 

Many of our senior instructors within the Gima-Ha family have also formed similar relationships with their own Senpai/Sensei (e.g. France and the USA with Shihan Higuchi, Germany with Shihan I. Higuchi and M. Kobayashi, Sri Lanka and India with Shihan M. Kobayashi, and Canada and the UK with either Shihan H. Narumi and/or Shihan T. Sameshima).

Aside from the Japanese Shihan, the Western Seniors equally continue to carefully cascade their lineage/teachings to their own senior students.

In the case of Gima-Ha UK we run a ‘Kenshusei’ (Instructor programme) and “Kenkyukai’ (research study group) for the Kenshusei graduates. 

Our ‘Kenshusei’ is a program where those holding Nidan (2nd Dan), upon a successful and physical entrance testing can study for certification as a National Instructor. Graduates may well be elevated in Dan grade as well as receiving ‘instructor certification’.

Our ‘Kenkyukai’ is the research group where the ‘Kenshusei’ graduates continue to research and study elements of both ‘mainline Shōtōkan-Ryu’ and ‘Gima-Ha Koryu’.

Our lineage remains strong, our pedigree one that is difficult to emulate.

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