RENBUKAI means TRAINING MARTIAL ARTS ASSOCIATION. Renbukai has not one single founder
in its history. It was developed as an organization of martial artists by several
masters of different martial arts into one all encompassing system.
The school was first known as KANBUKAN, "KOREAN MARTIAL ARTS PLACE", founded in
1940, in Tokyo, Japan. The founder of the Kanbukan, was a Korean school teacher,
Geka Yung. He was the first head of the school to become known later as RENBUKAI.
The dojo was a small gym where different martial artists went to practice and exchange
thoughts. Geka Yug returned to his homeland in 1949 to teach at a Korean University.
Another influential teacher in the development of Renbukai was Hiroyasu Tamae, born in
1906. He was a student of the famous Shiroma Gusukuma, who himself was a direct student
of Yasune Itosu, the famous Okinawan master of SHURI-TE. Tamae also trained in CHINESE KEMPO
in Peking, China before World War II. He also trained at the Okinawan's master school, and
trained in both NAHA-TE and the BO. These men all had a strong influence in the roots of
the style that evolved into becoming THE ULTIMATE MARTIAL ART: RENBUKAI
In 1945, two young men, NORIO NAKAMURA, a 4th degree in Kendo and a 2nd degree in Judo,
and MINORU OKAMOTO a martial artist also became students at the Kanbukan. These two men later
became the leaders in the Renbukai movement. In 1948, MASAYUKI KOIDE, a Shotokan
practitioner from Waseda University and a 2nd degree in Kendo joined the Kanbukan school.
Koide went on to become the International director of Renbukai.
In 1950, under Norio Nakamura the school became known as the Renbukan, "Training
Martial Arts Place. Nakamura went on to become the first director of Renbukan.
It was not until 1964, that the school took the name of Renbukai and became a style of its
own. At that time, Renbukai joined KYO-KAI, WADO-RYU, SHITO-RYU/b, GOJU-KAI and RENGO-KAI, in
becoming the first six recognized schools as members of the "FEDERATION OF ALL-JAPAN
KARATE-DO ORGANIZATIONS. Nakamura continued as the director of Renbukai until 1972, at that
time Minoru Okamoto became the director.
In the early sixties, GORDAN KENNEDY introduced what was to become Renbukai to the United
States. Kennedy had discovered the Renbukai school while serving with the U.S. armed forces
in Japan and had achieved the rank of 1st degree black belt. In August 1964, RON MARCHINI
started instruction in the art of Renbukai from Kennedy and senior student F. "BOOTS"
CURETON II. From this beginning, Marchini made his first journey to the Orient in
1966 to train under Norio Nakamura and Masayuki Koide. This was the first of many trips
Marchini made to the Orient to study the martial arts. JAMES GRADY started training
with Ron Marchini in 1965. Marchini went on to become the highest ranking martial artist
in Renbukai in the U.S. and James Grady the second highest. The two became the most famous
of Renbukai practitioners in the world.
Though Renbukai is not widely known in the western world due to the lack of English
spoken in the Renbukai organization, it has over 300,000 practitioners in Japan. Renbukai
is the only style in Japan to practice fighting full-contact with protective gear. This is
done during all training classes and in tournaments to invoke realism. The first full-contact
tournament was held in 1954 in Tokyo, Japan.