Kosei Kokuba was born in Naha City, Okinawa in 1901, the youngest son of a samurai family descended from the Sho-Shi royal family of Okinawa. At the age of 14, he began karate training in the dojo of Motobu Choki. In 1924 he moved to Tokyo, Japan and in 1940 he settled in Osaka where he began training students in the Okinawan style which he had studied. On June 6, 1943 Kokuba founded the Seishin Kan Dojo.

Later, when his friends from Okinawa Motobu and Mabuni Kenwa came to Osaka, he gave them room and board in exchange for their teaching at the dojo. Kokuba taught the Motobu style of karate and upon Motobu・s death in 1947, he became the Soke or family head of Motobu-Ha Karate-Do.

The kanji characters for Kosei Kokuba (in Okinawa) are pronounced Yukimori Kuniba in Japan. To avoid confusion he changed the pronunciation of the family name to Kuniba.

Shogo Kuniba
(1935 - 1992)

On February 5, 1935, Kuniba・s son Kosho was born in Yamanashi prefecture near Mt. Fuji in the city of Fuji Yoshida-shi. The son began his karate training at the age of five in his father・s dojo. At the age of eight he was sent to study with Sensei Tomoyori Ryusei of Kenyu Ryu. Kuniba wanted his son to be a true samurai as were his ancestors and, as a true samurai, to have knowledge of all martial arts. Therefore, at the age of eight, Kosho also began to study judo in an Osaka dojo. He continued his training in Judo for ten years and earned a sandan rank.

In 1947 at the age of twelve, he began training with Mabuni Kenwa in Shito-Ryu and was soon promoted by Sensei Mabuni to shodan in karate. In 1950 he was promoted to nidan by Mabuni and Tomoyori and in 1952 earned a sandan rank.

As a high school student, Kosho was president of his karate club. At the age of seventeen, he began teaching karate at Osaka Prefecture University and there is still a branch dojo of Seishin Kai there today. After high school, he trained in karate at Keio University and later trained at Doshisha University while he was a student there.

In 1955 Kosho was promoted to yondan by Tomoyori. During that year he was also promoted to sandan in Iaido and yondan in Kobudo. In 1956 he traveled to his father・s homeland of Okinawa where he trained with Nagamine Shojin in his style of Shorin-Ryu. While in Okinawa, he studied Kobudo with Taira Shinken and Nakaima Kenko of Ryuei Ryu. With Yamaguchi Junko, he studied the use of the Tonfa.

In 1957 Shihan Kosho・s book KARATE-DO BIN RAN, a text of the basic techniques of his style, was published. The book sold out and is no longer in print. In 1958 he was promoted to godan in Motobu-Ha Karate-Do and Rokudan in Kobudo. He studied Mugai-Ryu Iaido with Soke Ishii Gogetsu in Sakai City beginning in 1952.

He was instrumental in helping to form the Nippon Karate-Do Rengo Kai and in 1958 served as its first office manager. After the elder Kuniba・s death in October 1959, Shihan Kosho was elected by the Shihan board of Seishin Kai to the position of Soke of Motobu-Ha Shito-Ryu Karate-Do. He is the third person to have held this position. At the age of twenty-four, he became the youngest karate Soke in Japan and took the karate name of Shogo which means strong warrior.

In 1962 Soke Kuniba was promoted to Karate-Do Rokudan by the Nippon Karate-Do Rengo Kai. Recipient of many honors throughout his career, he received one of the highest tributes when he was featured in the Encyclopedia Japonica in a four page article on Karate and Kobudo. In 1966 he was promoted to Karate-Do Nanadan.

In 1970 he was chosen by the Zen Nippon Karate-Do Remnei (Now JKF) to give a demonstration at the First World Karate-Do Championship held in Tokyo at the Budo-Kan. Again in 1972, he was chosen to represent Japan in a demonstration at the Second World Karate-Do Championship held in Paris, France.

At the age of thirty-eight in 1973, he was promoted to hachidan by the Rengo-Kai. At this same time, he gave a formal name of Goshin-Do to his system of self defense which he developed from his knowledge of Judo, Jui Jitsu, and Aikido and incorporated this art into the structure of Seishin Kai.

In addition to karate work, Soke Kuniba was one of the first to work with martial arts in Japanese movies. He appeared in twenty-two movies in Japan utilizing his martial arts skills. The last of these was a 1978 documentary film titled EIEN NARU BUDO (ETERNAL MARTIAL ARTS) which received the 1979 Miami Film Festival Award as the best documentary film of 1978. The movie was shown in the USA under the title of BUDO: GREAT MASTERS OF THE MARTIAL ARTS.

Soke Kuniba has also been featured in numerous magazine and newspaper articles in Japan, USA, and Europe. He has also been featured in the 1984 issue of WHO・S WHO IN AMERICAN MARTIAL ARTS and in the 1985 issue of MASTERS, FOUNDERS, AND LEADERS OF AMERICAN MARTIAL ARTS.

In 1984, he was promoted by the Nippon Karate-Do Rengo Kai to Kudan. In 1985 he was promoted to Nanadan by the Japan Karate-Do Federation.

In 1983 he opened a Hombu Dojo in the USA in Portsmouth, VA. where he lived until his death in 1992. After his death he was promoted to tenth dan by the JKF, an honor held by only four other Japanese sensei, all deceased. While living in Portsmouth he concentrated his efforts on teaching his style of karate-do to the world. Now the tradition continues through his sons Kozo and Kosuke as well as sensei from dojo around the world that Shogo Kuniba started.

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Information provided by 3rd parties unknown - from the Seishinkai manual by James Herndon

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