Shobayashi Shorin-ryu is a style of Okinawan Shorin-ryu karate founded by Chotoku Kyan and passed to Eizo Shimabukuro. Eizo Shimabukuro dropped the Chatan Yara no Kusanku and the Oyadamari no Passai he learned from Chotoku Kyan and he added Kusanku Sho and Dai and Passai Sho and Dai of Yasutsune Itosu lineage. It is said that Eizo Shimabukuro learned these Itosu kata as well as Pinan Shodan to Godan and Naihanchin Shodan to Sandan from Choshin Chibana. However, in his book “Okinawa Karatedo Old Grandmaster Stories” Eizo Shimabukuro says that Chibana was too old to teach and so Chibana referred Shimabukuro to his senior student, Nakazato, for instruction. Eizo Shimabuku also added two kata from his time in Goju-ryu with Chojun Miyagi. These kata being Seiunchin and Sanchin (Eizo Shimabukuro used to call his version of Sanchin, Sanchu).
Although Chinese martial arts began spreading to Okinawa in the 14th century, it was not prominent until the 18th century, when Kusanku, a Chinese military official, visited Okinawa and gave a demonstration. In subsequent visits, he started teaching “chuan fa” (meaning “fist way”) to Okinawans.
Kanga Sakukawa blended Kusanku’s chuan fa with indigenous Okinawan martial arts to form the first martial art style called karate. His student Sokon Matsumura blended Sakukawa’s style with Shaolin kung fu to form Shorin-ryu karate.
Matsumura was Anko Itosu’s primary instructor, and both Matsumura and Itosu instructed Chotoku Kyan and Choki Motobu. Several of Kyan’s students would go on to lead their own branches of karate. These are: Shoshin Nagamine (Matsubayashi-ryu), Tatsuo Shimabukuro (Isshin-ryu), Eizo Shimabukuro, Joen Nakazato (Shorinji-ryu), and Zenryo Shimabukuro (Chubu Shorin-ryu).
Eizo Shimabukuro studied under Chojun Miyagi before taking up Shorin-Ryu under Chotoku Kyan. Although Kyan then became his primary instructor, Shimabukuro also studied under Choki Motobu and weapons under Taira Shinken. When Kyan died in 1945, Shimabukuro was left in charge of the Shobayashi-ryu system. In 1959 at the Kodokan in Japan, Kanken T?yama promoted Eizo Shimabukuro to 10th Dan. At the age of 34, Shimabukuro was the youngest person ever to receive such an honor.
Shimabukuro was also the instructor of Matt Larsen (who later founded the US Army Combatives School) and American kickboxer Joe Lewis and Bill Wallace.
Shimabukuro currently lives in Okinawa and actively teaches classes on the island. He also tours around the United States upon request, visiting dojos within his organization and performing demonstrations on proper form and technique.