Australian Shorinjiryu Karatedo was founded in 1977 by Shihan Laurence Vanniekirk (Lori Vann), a highly regarded practitioner of the Shitoryu style. Shihan Lori previously established branches of Tani Ha Shitoryu Shukokai in South Africa and Australia, before setting up the Renbukan school in Australia. After reading the book “Scientific Karatedo”, Shihan Lori made contact with its author, Hanshi Masayuki Hisataka and shortly thereafter established Shorinjiryu Kenkokan Karatedo in Australia.
Shihan Lori retired as Chief Instructor in the late 1980’s, with the role passing jointly to Shihan Phil Hooper and Shihan Scott Brown. Shihan Phil Hooper took over as sole chief instructor in 1994, when Shihan Scott stepped aside. Later in 1994, Australian Shorinjiryu Karatedo became independent from the Shorinjiryu Kenkokan organisation.
In the late-90’s Shihan Phil retired as Chief Instructor, and at this time the role passed jointly to Shihan Jim Griffin and Shihan Max Estens. These gentlemen serve as joint Chief Instructors to this day.
In 2001, Australian Shorinjiryu Karatedo became a member of the International Shorinjiryu Shinzen Kyokai, an umbrella organisation for various Shorinjiryu schools based out of New York. In 2003, 2004, 2006, 2011 and 2016, various Australian Shorinjiryu Karatedo members have participated in the annual Shorinjiryu Shinzen Shiai – a large international tournament that is described as a gathering of the family of Shorinjiryu practitioners, worldwide.
In 2006, a small entourage of Australian members, lead by Shihan Jim and Shihan Max visited the dojo of Hanshi Shunji Watanabe in Baltimore. This occasion was a wonderful opportunity to learn directly from another of the direct senior students of the founder of Shorinjiryu. Hanshi Watanabe returned the compliment by visiting us in Australia in 2007, at which time he invited the Australian Shorinjiryu Karatedo to become his students and a member of his Federation.
In March 2011 the Australian Shorinjiryu Karatedo organisation re-established its own identity as an independent organisation, forming a school known as Shorinjiryu Koshinkai Karatedo. With over 3 decades of studying, preserving and developing Shorinjiryu Karatedo, and with direct learning from the two leading students of the founder, Hanshi Masayuki Hisataka and Hanshi Shunji Watanabe, the Koshinkai school of Shorinjiryu reflects the blending of the old (Ko) and the new (shin)
Over the years, Shorinjiryu Australia is proud to have had many members achieve highly in their martial studies. Please see our Dan Grade Register to see the list of those of who have earned black belts in our organisation. We are proud that many have achieved highly in international competitions, such as the annual Shorinjiryu Shinzen Shiai held in New York, and various tournaments utilising the Koshiki competition system.
We are also proud that most of our senior instructors have been long standing members of our organisation. Kyoshi Jim Griffin commenced training in Shorinjiryu in 1982, whilst Shihan Max Estens, Shihan Des Paroz and Shihan Lesley Griffin all commenced in 1983. Renshi Graeme Bowden is our longest standing member, having been a member since the inception of the organisation in 1977.