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Welcome to the Vernon Valley Karate Academy your center for Family Fitness and Family Fun. Here at the Vernon Valley Karate we pride ourselves on our commitment to the families of our local communities.We believe whole heartedly that
"The Family that Kick's Together, Stick's Together".
We teach a form of karate respected through out the world as one of the best. Shorin-Ryu Karate is one of the original forms developed in Okinawa, Japan. We continue to present this traditional style in accordance with the skills and goals developed years ago by its founder father, Sensei Chosin Chibana (1885-1969) who systemized Itosu's style of Karate-Jutsu and officially changed it's name from Shutri-Te-Do-Karate-Jutsu to Okinawan Shorin-Ryu Karate-Jutsu.
Our focus is the positive development of all aspects of life. We stress friendship and harmony with others as our most important goal. At the same time, however, we learn a martial art that empowers us with the competence and assurance that we need to confront aggression and deal with dangerous situations should they arise. We understand that, "There is a great difference between being gentle because you want to be, and being gentle because you are not strong enough to be otherwise".
"We seek to be as soft as the world will let us be, yet as strong as it demands us to be" 
Edited Image 2013-5-6-13:50:33
The most popular image associated with kata is that of a karate practitioner performing a series of punches and kicks in the air. The kata are executed as a specified series of approximately 20 to 70 moves, generally with stepping and turning, while attempting to maintain perfect form. There are perhaps 100 kata across the various forms of karate, each with many minor variations. The number of moves in a kata may be referred to in the name of the kata, e.g., Gojūshiho, which means "54 steps." The number of moves may also have links with Buddhist spirituality. The number 108 is significant in Buddhism & Hinduism, signifying the 108 ways the mind can behave (Upanishads) and kata with 54, 36, or 27 moves (divisors of 108) are common. The practitioner is generally counselled to visualize the enemy attacks, and his responses, as actually occurring, and karateka are often told to "read" a kata, to explain the imagined events. The study of the meaning of the movements is referred to as the bunkai, meaning analysis, of the kata.
One explanation of the use of kata is as a reference guide for a set of moves. Not to be used following that "set" pattern but to keep the movements "filed". After learning these kata, this set of learned skills can then be used in a sparring scenario (particularly without points).
The main objective here is to try out different combinations of techniques in a safe, practice environment to ultimately find out how to defeat your opponent. In kata the blocking movements are often performed while moving forward, which wouldn't be practical during the 'Bunkai'. These blocking movements would be performed during a Tai sabaki (体捌き), stepping-back action, where the opponent's attack would be avoided and the block would be a mere cover.
These kata are commonly referred to as "nifonchin", Tekki(Shotokan), Nihanchin or Diapochin(chinese) and are common in many of the Shorin groups. Naihanchi Shodan and Nidan are thought to have come from Matsumura while the third kata was created by Itosu. Chibana Chosin taught only the latter out of the three in his final years out of respect to Itosu. There have been many explanations given about the intent of the kata from "fighting on rice paddies" to fighting with one's back against a wall. "The author's teacher believes that although the kata is performed in side to side fashion, it is meant to be performed to the front with angular application. The applicability of this is more reasonable then trying to execute the kata's bunkai with one's back against a wall. The problem with this kata and many others is that too many practitioners are caught in the belief that ti chi ki or bunkai is supposed to work in the same way that the kata is performed, which is ridiculous. If that were so than the kata would be counter-productive-isolating a student in a restrictive set of movements without the understanding of angles and free-movement in a defensive/offensive situation.
The Pinan kata were created by Itosu Ankoh Yasutsune after the channan or Chiang Nan(Chinese) forms although some believe that they are taken from Kusanku Dai, however, many postures in Tai Chi and Hsing-I are found in the Pinan forms. One theory is that Itosu developed these forms because they were easier to learn and dangerous techniques could be removed from them so that the kata could be taught to youth.
There are geographic and stylistic versions of Passai or Patsai which was thought to be originally introduced to Okinawa by Matsumura. There exists many versions of this kata but all resemble a similar pattern. They are recognized by the following: Koryu Passai; Matsumura no Passai(Passai Dai); Itosu no Passai(Passai Sho); Ishimine no Passai; Chibana no Passai; Oyadomari No Passai; Tawada no Passai. Translated as "to penetrate a fortress", the originator of the kata is thought to be Matsumura although it most likely existed in China before the latter introduced it to Okinawa.
There is much debate on the actual creators of the shuri kata that is practiced today, although we do know that some of the forms actually existed in China and were brought to Okinawa. One of the most common kata in Shorin-Ryu is Kusanku, said to have been created by Sakugawa Satunushi based on the teachings of the Chinese military envoy who lived in Okinawa around 1715. There exists many versions of the form although they resemble the same pattern in performance. Kusanku Dai/Kushanku Dai is most associated most with the lineage of Sakugawa and Matsumura and is called Kanku Dai in Shotokan. In the Kyan-ha shorin styles, the kata Chatan Yara Kusanku is practiced which utilize the influences or techniques of that teacher. Kusanku Sho is very similar in pattern to Kusanku Dai and is believed to be created by Itosu Ankoh. A great educator, it possible that Itosu chose to modify Kusanku Dai and adding the Sho version for people with different learning styles. There exists another version, Shiho Kusanku, which Itosu is also credited in developing that is practiced by some Shito-Ryu groups.
There are many versions of Chinto that exist in Shorin-groups as well as Isshin-Ryu. Some of the kata follow a straight line pattern while some move at 45 degree angle. It is said to be named after a Chinese sailor who became shipwrecked on Okinawa and according to legend, began to steal chickens and supplies in order to survive. Bushi Matsumura was sent ,as the king's greatest warrior, to hunt down Chinto and arrest him. He eventually found him and learn martial techniques from the sailor. Versions of the kata include Matsumura no Chinto, Itosu No Chinto, Yabu no Chinto, Kyan No Chinto.
Although this kata has many versions, it is difficult to place the exact Chinese origin or it's Okinawan founder. The form can be traced back to China, as with many Shuri-Te and Naha-Te kata, and contains many movements similar to White Crane technique. There is also some thought of the kata having been developed resembling Okinawan Dance movements. Translated in English as "fifty-four steps", this kata is referred to by names of various teachers in regards to their personal mark on the form. It was also referred to as Useishi and there exists gojushiho sho and gojushiho dai in Shotokan
and Shito-Ryu groups.


Bibliography and thanks for some of the research to Sensei John R. Spence.
from Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan Karate of Williamsburg


Kanga Sakugawa (commonly known as Todi Sakugawa) - (1762 - 1843)

Soken Matsumura (1809 - 1901) - Founder of "Shuri-te". Student of Sakugawa.
Ankoh Itosu (1830 - 1915) - Ankoh means Iron Man - Student of Matsumura, developed the Pinan katas. He was the first to introduce Karate to the Okinawan Public school system. He had many famous students such as Chosin Chibana and Gichin Funakoshi.
Ginchin Funakoshi (1868 - 1957) Student of Itosu, founder of "Shotokan". Has a book called
“Karate-Do My Way of Life Ginchin Funakoshi.”
Chosin Chibana (1885 - 1969) Senior Student of Itosu, first to name Shuri-te, Shorin-ryu. Credited with organizing the katas, in order to develop more well-rounded students in 1928. Chibana left five 9th degree Black Belts to help spread his style.
 – Katsuya Miyahira (1918 - 2010 ) Student of Chibana. Opened his dojo in 1955 and called it  “Shidokan”, “the house of the way of the warrior”.
 – Shugoro Nakazato (1919 - ) Student of Chibana. Founded “Shorinkan Association” in 1975.
 – Yuchoku Higa (1910 - 1997) Student of Chibana. Founded “Shorin ryu Kyudokan”.
 – Chozo Nakama (1899 - ????)  Student of Chibana.
 – Kensei Kinjo (1895 - 1971) Student of Chibana. Formed the style "Kushin Ryu"
with Sannosuke Ueshima.
Seikichi Iha (1932 - Present) Senior student of Katsuya Miyahira. He was promoted before Miyahira’s death, which has never happened in karate before, to 10th dan (Hanshi). Iha is the highest ranking Okinawan Instructor living in the USA.
Robert Herten - Has trained under Shugoro Nakazato and Seikichi Iha in the same traditional
Shorin-ryu karate that Sensei Herten brought back from Okinawa in 1967. Sensei Herten trained
Sensei Tom Shull the Karate we do today. 
Ed Lyden Jr.

 I just want to say thanks to Vernon Valley karate for there outstanding programs they do for children . My son Shane started out in the Ranger program 5 years ago and is now in the junior program and doing well ! He has achieved the rank of black belt by attending classes 4 days a week. Sensei Tom Shull had many years as a school teacher and that shines through in his teachings ! He is very active in the community and charitable organizations and has an awesome staff . I highly recommend his school to any parent looking for there child to learn better discipline , respect , confidence . These are things yours truly learned serving 6 years in the US Navy . Best wishes Sensei Tom and your staff .

Julianne Vigiletti

Summer is my favorite time of year! Not just because I’m a school teacher and I get to be off for two months but because I get to spend extra time with my family at Vernon Valley Karate. My family and I get to spend time doing something we all love to do together. Our story began one day in March of 2012. My husband and I set out to find an activity we thought our 4 year old son would enjoy. Christopher took to karate right away. Each week we watched Christopher in his karate class. His 5 year old sister, Sophia, looked on with interest and soon she began taking lessons. A month later, all four of us were signed up to take karate and we haven’t stopped. Many belts later, we continue to grow and learn from Sensei Tom Shull and his amazing black belts and students.I can truly say my children are having a great time taking karate. They have made new friends and karate certainly has boosted their confidence level. As a mom, I know that I’m doing something very special for my children. I’m providing them with an opportunity to feel “safe, strong, and free.”Soon it will be time to go back to school but that will not stop the Vigiletti family from keeping up with karate. We will continue to work hard and train at VVKA. As for me, I plan on making one of my life long dreams a reality. That’s getting a black belt of course!

S. Thomas Summers (Author-Professor of Philosophy, Literature, and Writing)

Sussex County friends - as soccer season greets its end, and you're looking for a winter activity for your children, please consider karate at Vernon Valley Karate Academy. My son, Garrett, has been attending VVKA for just over two years. As a student, yes, he has learned karate, but he has learned so much more. He has learned the value of self-respect and why it's important to respect others. He has gained self-confidence. He has discovered the worth and rewards of discipline and commitment. Additionally, he has matured under the tutelage of instructors who genuinely care for him, who want him to succeed in karate, but also, and more importantly, in life. Our experience at VVKA has and continues to be wonderful.

The Klimash Family 

Our time at Vernon Valley Karate has been an outstanding experience for our kids...and our family. Sensei Shull is second to none and his staff is incredible. They are down to earth, engaged and genuinely care about their students.

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