The Isshin-Ryu Patch
So What is the Patch that We Wear?
The emblem that is worn on the gi is the known as the "Mizu Gami," which translates to "Water Goddess. If you look a little closer you will see finer details of both illustration and meaning. The Mizu Gami is female to symbolize a nurturing individual but she is also part dragon to represent an indomitable spirit. She is immersed in a thrashing ocean which represents the unknown and the typhoon behind her represents chaos. She is emersed in both elements yet her face remains calm. Her left hand is lowered and open to represent peace and humility while her right hand is raised in a fist to represent power. The mizu gami is old--meaning she has lived a long life. Her jewelry and head dress represents a strive for success.
She is Isshin-Ryu!
The dragon above her is her child and it represents the spirit of the Isshin-Ryu Karateka (student of karate). The dragon was born on the earth but felt limitations and rose to the heavens. The Dragon illustrates the Karateka's "spirit"and "heart" because the karate ka strives for perfection--yet the seaweed entangled around its body represents the entanglements of earth in which the dragon must carry. Such is life!
Though the dragon is striving for the heavens yet it is still beneath the stars, which shows us that there is still work left to be done. The dragon also represents the founder of Isshin ryu karate , Tatsuo Shimabuku.
The three stars above the dragon represents master Tatsuo Shimabiku's three instructors ... Chotoku Kyan, Chojun Miyagi and Choki Motobu. The stars also represent the three stages a Karateka will go through durning the study of karate. A physical, mental and spiritual process.
You may notice the emblem is in the shape of an oval. This represents the Isshin-Ryu vertical fist. The emblem is also bordered with orange. This represents the fire that Tatsuo Shimabuku saw surrounding this dream or vision he had that inspired this image.
The Mizu Gami is an image that the Karateka can look and reflect on. In our Dojo in Wilmington, NC., we bow in and out of each class by bowing to both the Sensei and to a painting of the Mizu Gami, as a way to settle our hearts and ready our minds to learn. Now that you've had a chance to understand what the symbolism of the Mizu Gami is, we hope to see you in class. Stop by the Wilmington Athletic Club (map) on Monday through Wednesday at 4pm and check us out!
Thanks for Reading!