THERE IS NO BEGINNING, NOR WRITTEN HISTORY, BUT THIS IS A BEGINNING AND A HISTORY.



The history of martial arts and Shodin Ji Do as passed from Master to student.



The martial arts are believed to have originated in China where an Indian who was called Bodhidarma taught the monks of the Shaolin Temple exercises that he developed to strengthen them both spiritually and physically. These exercises are supposedly what evolved into kung fu. From China it spread throughout the islands of the pacific and the South China Sea. Many areas in the Ryukyu Islands did not document or record history of the martial arts. It was handed down to family members by practice alone, a secret for family protection against aggressive governments and authority figures that dominated the land and people. There are two major schools of Okinawan karate. The Shorin Ryu known for its graceful movements and lightening swiftness and Shorei Ryu reputed for forcefulness and development of strength. These two schools are believed to have been introduced to Okinawa by visiting monks from the Shoalin temple in the Hunan Province of China. Alongside these two schools developed several styles. These styles were developed by families and communities from elements found in both of the major schools as well as techniques they developed from everyday life. Some of the Okinawan styles that have survived into modern times are Ishin Ryu, Goju Ryu, Shorin Ryu and Shodin Ji Do. These styles have similarities, yet each possesses qualities that are very different from one to the next. Probably the most commonly shared material appears in the name of the forms. Goju is a kata common to many Okinawan Ryu or schools, but to watch the performance from one style to the next is like watching a complete new and different form. Another example is the kata Onaku in Shodin Ji Do. This form is very similar to Onaku performed in the Shorin Ryu style. Hiroshito Yama of Nago, Okinawa instructed Frank Royster in what would become Shodin Ji Do. Frank Royster then brought the style to the United States. Fuzi Kizi the master of Shorin Ryu associated with Master Yama, and was present during Frank's testing in Okinawa. Kisei Fusei instructed individuals at the Kadina Air Force Base in southern Okinawa. Traditional teaching was disliked by the Americans and Europeans who studied Shorin Ryu, thus, the style rearranged its material and shortened requirements to 1st Dan to attract a larger following. Master Yama and Master Royster held to tradition, to keep the style as it had been passed to them. They renamed the style Shodin Ji Do, which is a phonetic deformation of the word Shorinji Do. Shorinji refers to the shaolin temple in the Hunan province in China which is where martial arts became formalized. “Do” means the path or way of life. Shodin Ji Do translates to the way of the shaolin or the way of the young forest temple, its meaning however is contained in the style's philosophy. The style is believed to have originated from Red Dragon Kung Fu in China centuries ago. It was developed by northern Okinawan farmers for protection against the unjust oppression of their government. Shodin Ji Do is not popular among individuals who are looking for a quick black belt, but has found its place with those that understand the quality contained in the style’s teachings. The serious practitioner has no problem matching and surpassing the techniques found in the modern money making styles so commonly encountered in the martial arts world of today. By the time he returned to live permanently in the United States, Master Royster had won many titles in the United States, Asia, the Philippines and Europe. Willy Blakley, a member of the North American Karate Association, approached Frank about joining the association. Frank did not want to change his style and declined. It was then that Mr. Blakley explained that any style could join NAKA without charge or change. NAKA did not want to conglomerate styles, nor did they charge for the privilege of testing. Willy Blakley and Frank worked together for several years after that. Master Royster began instructing students at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, New Mexico. He instructed many students over the years he resided in Portales. Wendell C. Barber, Dr. Robert G. Taylor, and Miguel Tarango were among them. In 1989, Master Royster left Portales. Mr. Barber began teaching the style in Odessa Texas and Dr. Taylor took over the classes in Portales. Four of Dr. Taylor’s students went on to obtain the rank of 1st dan. These students moved to other parts of the country and continue the style. Tim Petit was Dr. Taylor’s first student to reach his black belt. After graduation from high school, he joined the U.S. Navy. Michael Rouche was the second student taught by Dr. Taylor to reach 1st dan. The first and only female black belt in Dr. Taylor’s school is Michelle Earnhardt she graduated from ENMU and moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dr. Taylor’s last student to reach 1st dan was Ron Haggerton. He graduated from ENMU and resides in Hobbs, New Mexico. Dr. Taylor is retired from teaching and lives in Portales. Ron Haggerton teaches Shodin Ji do in Hobbs, New Mexico.


Master Royster has begun teaching in T or C, New Mexico, Mr. Haggerton continues to teach in Hobbs, Esther Bratcher has opened Aka to Kuro Martial Arts in Hobbs, and Re'elle Crowell has opened Shodin Ji Do of Enid, in Enid , OK.





(L to R) Master Robert G Taylor, Grandmaster Frank Royster, Mr. Ron Haggerton) 2008