Mabuni Kenei was born on February 13, 1918 in Shuri Okinawa. He is the first born of 3 children of Master Mabuni Kenwa, founder of Shito-ryu Karate-do. Beginning at an early age Kenei received personal instruction from his father throughout his childhood.

After the Mabuni family moved to the Kansai district of Japan in 1928, Kenei would sometimes accompany his father at various Karate related functions. He would be asked sometimes to participate in the demonstration with his famous father throughout Japan during the 1930's.

It was also during this time, March 1934, that Grandmaster Mabuni Kenwa first established a dojo in Osaka naming it Youshukan. Many times young Mabuni Kenei stayed with the Konishi family and was treated like a family member while his father continued to teach around Tokyo the Kanto district.

In March, 1939, Mabuni Kenwa would officially register the name of his Karate style called 'Shito-ryu' with the leading martial arts organization, the "Dai Nippon Butoku Kai", that governed all martial arts in Japan at the time. Kenei knew many of the famous karate teachers who came to study with his father including Master Motobu Choki, Konishi Yasuhiro, Moden Yabiku and Funakoshi Gichin. After the end of World War II he continued to help his father teach and spread Shito-ryu Karate throughout Japan

Soke Kenei Mabuni

Kenei Mabuni demonstrating 'Nipaipo'

In November of 1960, Kenei sensei became the Western (Kansai-President of the Shito-ryu Federation, while Iwata Manzo was named the Eastern (Kanto-President).During 1962 Kenei Mabuni sensei travelled around the globe continuing to instruct in Shito-ryu Karate. He visited Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and the USA.During the Inagural 1970 Ist World Union of Karate-do Organizations (WUKO) World Karate-do Championships Mabuni sensei first demonstrated the 'Nipaipo' kata of Gokenki sensei.

In 1972, he was certified by the Federation of All Japan Karate-do Organizations (FAJKO) as a first class examiner. On January 15th 1984, Mabuni sensei was presented 'The Distinguished Service Medal' for his contribution to the Martial Arts presented by Japan Martial Arts Council (Nippon Budo Kyougi Kai). On March 17th 1993, in Osaka, Japan, Kenei Mabuni sensei helped establish the World Shito-ryu Karate-do Federation and was named it's 'Governor" (Sosai).

Kenwa Mabuni's son Kenei wrote, "in his younger days many people would challenge my father to "kake-dameshi" (challenge mach, or exchange of techniques) after they heard that he was practicing "te". He accepted these challenges and would choose a quiet corner of the town for the mach. Each contestant would bring a second. There were no special dojo's like there are today; "we used to train and fight on open ground. There were no street lights, so after dark we used lanterns during the challenges." In this dim light, the contestant fought, and then after a period the seconds would intervene and stop the fight. They would then declare who would be the winner and who needed more training. Such challenges were often made to my father, and he frequently acted as a second to others. He pointed out though, that people might easily get the wrong impression from these events.

Sadly Soke Mabuni passed away on December 19, 2015 at the age of 97 in Osaka, Japan.

Courtesy Sensei A Tanzadeh

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