Gusukuma’s 12 Considerations

Gusukuma Shinpan (1890-1954), also known as Shiroma Shinpan (Gusukuma is Okinawan dialect) was a master of Karate who is today, sadly, forgotten by many.

He was a student of Itosu Anko and Higaonna Kanryo, and a colleague of Mabuni Kenwa. Together they established what is today known as Shito ryu.

Gusukuma is one of the Karate pioneers I find the most interesting, and he often spoke of the eight considerations in kicking, and the four considerations of the punch.


Considerations for kicking:

  1. When kicking in kata or kumite, the back must be kept straight so as to allow you to punch if the kick is blocked.
  2. The quickest kicks are of the snapping kind.
  3. The kicks of kata are performed with the toe-tipped foot¹.
  4. The most important kick is that done to the middle area².
  5. Consider the knee the “hinge” of the kick.
  6. The ankle must be as strong in kicking as the wrist is strong in punching.
  7. The leg must be loose and flexible while the toes are tight. Just like a punch, the arm is loose while the fist is tight.
  8. When kicking, always kick with both legs³.

Considerations for punching:

  1. The large knuckle finger and the thumb squeeze the index finger in a good fist.
  2. In making a strong fist, the index finger is folded first.
  3. Punching is done with a loose arm and tight fist.
  4. You strike with the index knuckle first.



¹An old-style kick, where the kick is performed with the supported tip of the big toe. In modern times replaced with the ball of the foot kick. Some Okinawan masters have preserved the old method.

²Middle area refers to the chudan area (trunk of the body).

³Here “both legs” can mean either actually attacking with both legs, or (more likely) that the supporting leg should be as active as the “attacking leg”.


  • Greetings Mr Jesse, Just read this interesting article... I should make mentioned that most/all of the information comes from Iha Seikichi Dai Sensei (shorinryu shidokan 10-Dan Hanshi, Lansing, MI), who was a direct student of Gusukuma Shinpan. Very little was known about this school teacher/tode expert so I dug for stories about him and his training methods. Please refer to my web-site for more info and I hope to include a number of photos of the great Gusukumu from my archives (I like the sound of the word archives - it sounds better then saying 'I'll look in the basement!')
  • Opps, sorry Mr Jesse, but I forgot to mentioned that Iha Seikichi, who resides in Lansing, MI, is also an exponent of the tsumasaki-geri - there are actually two variations of this kick... one with the 'long toe' supporting the big toe (Chibana-ha method) and the other as used by the Uechiryu exponents. Once mastered, you have a very potent weapon. As to which came first - well, the tsumasaki geri takes a long time to develop while it is easier to kick with the ball of the foot... easier to say, 'I dunno.'
  • Ismael
    Greetings Mr. Jesse, I read some where that Gusukuma Shinpan (1890-1954)left a school of karate that still exist today? In Wikipedia it says that his student Horoku Ishikawa carries his lineage on in Okinawa. Have you heard anything about that?? I am Shito Ryu practioner and really into learning the Okinawan roots of the art.
    • Hi Ismael! Yes, known as "Shinpan Shiroma Shito-ryu". There is not much on this anywhere, but I wrote a little about Horoku Ishikawa recently. The style is very rare in Okinawa too, as far as I know.

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