[The photo shows Sensei Shugoro Nakazato teaching at Okinawan Budo Institute 1973]
The OBI curriculum contains of 14 Karate Kata (plus, for Yudansha [Dan ranks], the newer kata Gorin, created 1996 by Sensei Shugoro Nakazato) and of 13 Kobudo Kata, all designed to train specific muscle groups and to build up fighting capabilities, progressively including advanced techniques and concepts with increasing difficulty. These Kata provide an encyclopedia of moves and concepts for all possible fighting challenges. In addition, there are a couple of basic technique drill-kata in empty hand karate (three Kihon Kata, three Fukyu No Kata, and Chi No Kata), which are taught during the first months of a new student’s training and regularly performed thereafter. Formal and informal kumite drills, sparring and free fighting for advanced students, complete the curriculum.
Performance standards are used for rank assignments and minimum requirements exist for each rank. These requirements include the capability to perform specific kata per belt sufficiently; punch, kick, and strike sequences; block/counter and grappling sequences, as well as sequences that involve to break free from a hold, throws and take-downs. Knowledge about etiquette, terminology, and history complete rank requirements.
There is no predetermined time frame for students to advance, students rather must prove their ability to execute moves and kata sufficiently before receiving their promotion.
At Okinawan Budo Institute, however, rank is not as important as it seems to be in some other U.S. dojo. There are just seven color belt ranks at OBI instead of the usual ten. For Shodan (first degree black belt) a student needs to perform all fourteen Shorin Ryu Shorinkan Kata sufficiently. Per a student’s or per a sensei’s application, ranks issued by Okinawan Budo Institute may be re-evaluated by Shorin Ryu Shorinkan leader Nakazato Minoru, Hanshi, 10th Dan Shorin Ryu, Shorinkan, at the Okinawan honbu dojo for international recognition.