Hawaii Karate Seinenkai
The Hawaii Karate Seinenkai Salutes:
Zenko Heshiki
born 1938

Zenko Heshiki was born in Okinawa in 1938. His grandfather, Zensei, was a karate sensei and student of Chomo Hanashiro, a student of Sokon Matsumura and Anko Itosu. Kentsu Yabu was a long time friend, fellow student and training partner of Hanashiro. In 1951 Heshiki and his family moved to Argentina, where there is a large Japanese/Okinawan population. Heshiki began to learn Karate there.

He later moved to New York where he began to study under Ansei Ueshiro, a student of Shoshin Nagamine, the founder of the Matsubayashi-Ryu form of Shorin-Ryu. Nagamine had learned from Ankichi Arakaki, Chotoku Kyan, and Choki Motobu. Heshiki eventually established his own Matsubayashi-Ryu dojo in New York and had many dedicated students. Over the years, he made frequent trips to Okinawa to study directly under Nagamine. He also hosted visits by Nagamine to New York and accompanied him to other states and countries. Heshiki has returned several times to Argentina and Uruguay at the request of students to teach there. His senior student in South America is Shigehide Akamine. Heshiki rose to the level of Kyoshi, 7th dan, in Matsubayashi-Ryu.

Heshiki relocated to Hawaii in 1977 and a short time later began to study Zen under Tanouye Rotaishi of the Daihonzan Chozen-ji. He taught Matsubayshi-Ryu at the Young Buddhist Association (YBA) Hall on Pali Highway. His senior students then were Lawrence and Anna Uemura. Around 1992, he was ordained as a Zen priest of the Daihonzan Chozen-ji. After the death of Kenneth Murakami, he became the head karate sensei.

Nagamine visited Hawaii in 1969, 1978, 1984, with his last visit being in December 1996. His first two visits were sponsored by his senior student in Hawaii, Tommy Morita. During his last visit to Hawaii, which was sponsored by Heshiki and William H. Rabacal, he was recognized by the Chozen-ji/International Zen Dojo for his enlightenment through his dedication to "Ken Zen Ichinyo" (Karate and Zen As One). At that time, he was given the Zen name of Kenzan Nagamine, which literally translates as "Fist Mountain." According to the Chozen-ji, he was the first karate sensei in history to receive such an acknowledgement in the Rinzai Zen tradition.

After Nagamine's death, Heshiki became the Shihan of Chozen-ji Ryu Kempo, a form of Karate integrating Shorin-Ryu and Zen training. Chozen-ji Ryu Kempo is under the Institute of Zen Studies. Heshiki teaches classes at the Kenshikan Dojo of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii. His senior student is Leon Burton.

For more information aboute Heshiki Sensei, please see the articles below, particularly Zenko Heshiki: Zen Priest and Karate Sensei, an interview conducted by Charles C. Goodin.

Articles by Zenko Heshiki:

Articles about Zenko Heshiki:

The Hawaii Karate Seinenkai salutes Zenko Heshiki.


The spirit of Karate is the Aloha spirit


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