SUOKK - Slovak Union of Okinawan Karate and Kobudo

SUOKK was founded in 2020 and it connects together clubs in Slovakia that practice traditional Okinawan Karate and Kobudo. The founding clubs were Kobudo Kai in Bratislava, Heiwa Dojo in Kráľovský Chlmec and Senshi Dojo in Ivanka pri Dunaji.

SUOKK is a member of the IOGKF (International Okinawa Goju Ryu Karate-do Federation), according to which Karate is practiced, and WOF (World Oshu Federation), according to which Kobudo is practiced. The IOGKF and WOF organizations are based directly in Okinawa.

The SUOKK logo depicts a tree as a symbol of wisdom and knowledge. Its roots and branches are identical. The roots hold us to the ground, to our foundations. The branches show the transfer of this knowledge to various dojos IOGKF and WOF in Slovakia. Sensei Igor Vakoš is the prime Sensei and chairman of SUOKK. He is also an examiner.

IOGKF (International Okinawa Goju Ryu Karate-do Federation)

The International Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate-Do Federation (IOGKF) was founded in July 1979 in Poole, England. It was founded by Sensei Morio Higaon, together with his older students, during the first international training camp (Gasshuku). Sensei Higaona had great support from Ken Miyagi (4th son of Sensei Chojun Miyagi), the Miyagi family, and other older students from around the world.

The goal of the IOGKF was and continues to be the preservation and protection of the teachings and philosophy of Sensei Miyagi Chojun and the spread of his teachings throughout the world. Thanks to its persistent teaching around the world, the IOGKF currently has more than 50,000 members from more than 60 different countries. The IOGKF is one of the few Karate organizations that is recognized by the Japanese government as a “bearer of the values of traditional martial arts.” The IOGKF is also honored with membership in the “Nihon Kobudo Kyokai” (Society of Traditional Japanese Martial Arts).

In September 2007, Sensei Higaona adopted the 10th Dan and also a certificate that designates him as the next successor in the direct line that is leading from Sensei Chojun Miyagi. He was also recognized as a “living cultural treasure of Okinawa” for spreading Okinawa Goju Ryu Karate around the world. In 2012, he transferred his position of Chief Instructor for the World to Sensei Tetsuji Nakamura, who is also the Chief Instructor of IOGKF Canada.

The organization fulfills the function for which it was created – spreads and preserves the philosophy of the founder of Goju-Ryu Chojun Miyagi, which shows the importance of continuous improvement of oneself and the whole Karate-Do. The organization is headquartered in Naha, Okinawa.

The sign of IOGKF is KenKon– Ken is shown as a circle and denotes heaven and Kon is shown as a square and denotes earth. The symbol expresses the natural harmony of hard and soft – heaven and earth, as it is in the name of Goju Ryu, where “Go” means hardness and “Ju” softness. The symbol inside the circle is the family emblem of Sensei Chojun Miyagi.

WOF (World Oshu Federation)

The World O-Shu Dento Okinawa Shorin Ryu Karate Do Kobudo Federation (WOF) was founded in 1993 as a result of the tireless work of its founder Hanshi Kenya Chinen. It is a non-profit organization that spreads Okinawan Shorin Ryu Karate Do and Okinawan Kobudo. Its founder and the head teacher is Hanshi Kenyu Chinen (10th Dan Karate, 9th Dan Kobudo) who is a pupil of world-famous and respected masters of the 20th century (Shuguro Nakazato Sensei, Katsuya Miyahira Sensei, and Shinpo Matayoshi Sensei).

WOF’s goal is not only to develop and promote Okinawan martial arts – Karate and Kobudo but also to promote Okinawa’s traditional culture. WOF has more than 250 dojos in almost 30 countries around the world (Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America, Okinawa), where seminars and Gasshuku are held regularly. It is headquartered in Naha, Okinawa.

The meaning of the Okinawan Kobudo emblem is the 18 golden petals of chrysanthemum, which represent prosperity. In the center of the golden background is a black three-armed cross that represents the shield of the Okinawan Royal Dynasty of Sho. The cross symbolizes the unification of the three kingdoms (Hozukan, Chuzan and Nanazan) into one.

Morio Higaonna (10th Dan)

Morio Higaonna was born on December 25, 1938. At the age of 14, he began practicing Karate with his father, a Shorin Ryu-style teacher. At the age of 16, he encountered the Goju Ryu style and became a student of An´ichi Miyagi Sensei at his Garden Dojo.

After moving the Garden Dojo to the Jundokan building, Higaonna Sensei continued training.

After his teacher An’ichi Miyagi Sensei left to work for an American oil tanker, Higaonna Sensei got a job at Takushoku University in Tokyo and founded his Yoyogi Dojo there. Around that time, the first official classification of Dan’s championships was organized and Higaonna Sensei was awarded 3rd Dan. Later, Higaonna Sensei began traveling to various countries around the world and taught Goju Ryu. He was also invited to a demonstration at the World Karate Championships in Paris in 1972, and his reputation as one of the strongest Goju Ryu teachers in the world continued to grow.

Higaonna Sensei lived in the USA for a time, where he wrote several books about Okinawan Goju Ryu and made two sets of DVDs about the complete Goju Ryu Karate Do training. He currently lives in Naha, Okinawa. Despite his advanced age, he maintains his strict training regime and continues to research the original Kata and Goju Ryu training methods. Higaonna Sensei received the 10th Dan awarded to him by An’ichi Miyagi Sensei on September 5, 2007. Higaonna Sensei also received a special certificate signed by Aragaki Shuichi Sensei and Miyagi An’ichi Sensei (both direct students of Chojun Miyagi Sensei), who recognizes him as a master in the direct line of the style successors.

In July 2012, after more than 35 years as head of the IOGKF, Higaonna Sensei took on an advisory role in the organization and passed the title of Shuseki Shihan (chairman and chief instructor) to his student Sensei Tetsuji Nakamura.

In 2013, Higaonna Sensei received an award from the Okinawa government as the “living cultural treasure of Okinawa” for his lifelong spread of Okinawa Goju Ryu and Okinawan culture throughout the world. Anyone who has ever met Higaonna Sensei will be impressed not only by his knowledge of Karate but also by his humility and good personality. It leaves you feeling like you have met a true Karate master.

Kenyu Chinen (10th Dan Shorin Ryu Karate Do, 9th Dan Kobudo)

He was born in 1944 on the island of Ie Jima, right next to the island of Okinawa. He started training Shorin-Ryu Karate and Kobudo in 1959 with Sensei Shuguro Nakazata. In 1962, he began practicing Kobudo directly with Sensei Shinpo Matayoshi and very soon became his best student.

In the mid-1970s, Sensei Chinen modernized some advanced Kata Kobudo and created Kihon Kata for a basic group of weapons. He made adjustments, which were also accepted by his teacher Sensei Matayoshi, and Okinawan Kobudo got its present form.

In 1976, Sensei Chinen left Okinawa and went to Europe, where he began spreading Shorin Ryu Karate and Okinawa Kobudo. He opened his first Dojo in Paris, France. He traveled between France and Okinawa, where he continued his study of Kobudo with Sensei Matayoshi and Shorin Ryu under Sensei Katsuya Miyahara. He later founded WOF and became its international director and chief instructor for Shorin Ryu Karate and Okinawa Kobudo.

In 1986, he published the book “Kobudo d’Okinawa”, which very soon became a bestseller due to its detailed content and description of the basics of Okinawan Kobudo.

Hanshi Chinen currently holds the 10th Dan in Shorin Ryu Karate Do, the 9th Dan in Okinawan Kobudo, an honorary title “martial arts professor” and a member of the seven-member committee of the Okinawa Prefectural Government, which oversees the proper teaching of traditional Karate and Kobudo around the world.