Origin and Major Contributors

Okinawa, Japan is generally considered the birthplace of Karate. Shorinjiryu is one of the oldest and most traditional form of this Okinawan martial art. Shorinjiryu is a synthesis of an indigenous Okinawan fighting art called Te (hands) and ancient Chinese martial art traditions, which influenced all Okinawan martial arts.

The traditional way of training used in Kentokukan is through Kata. Kata are a set of formal solo exercises which are composed of prearranged movements of attack and defense against imaginary opponents. Kata are used as the primary training method in karate. Since the techniques of kata were developed from actual fighting, kata are the classical reenactment of former battles. More importantly, kata serve as a dictionary of fighting techniques which have been tested in combat.

Also used is Kumite.  Kumite is sparing in karate. It is the ultimate expression of the martial arts. Kumite is practiced either as yakusoku (pre-arranged form) or jiyu (fee form). Kumite is the creative process by which one applies everything learned in basic training and kata. During kumite this knowledge is used while under the pressure of combat. This makes it totally spontaneous and puts one in touch with an ancient warrior spirit. This method of training differentiates real karate from decadent or theoretical karate. Karate at its highest level demands that one learn fighting spirit.

Shorinjiryu Kentokukan also incorporates the use of ancient weapons known collectively as Kubudo. This is a parallel system of martial arts, which developed in both the warrior class and the peasant class of the Ryukyu kingdom. These arts are practiced not for self-defense purposes but to preserve them as part of Okinawa’s cultural heritage and as an art form.

The Kentokukan school of Shorinjiryu, founded by Shinan Wayne Donivan - Doshu, 9th Dan, is a complete martial art encompassing Chinese, Okinawan, Japanese and Canadian influences. The blending of Eastern and Western philosophies: the old and new world into a school which presents to its students the best of both worlds.

In terms of etiquette, dress, and equipment it is more complex than some other forms of martial arts. Add to this the wide variety of weapons to be mastered; the different forms of individual kata; paired and group kumite; and the various techniques of breathing and meditation. It is easy to see how it may require a lifetime to develop a level of competence in the art.

Yet Shinan Donivan believes that karatedo has something to offer everyone. "The average person knows little of karate’s gifts. Skills in self-defense and sport competition are only some of the many by-products of karatedo and to think in such limited terms do the art an injustice. Kentokukan Karatedo requires discipline, focus and dedication. It teaches precious life skills that prepares our students for any challenge that may lay ahead of them."


The founder, Wayne Donivan, has spent 30 years studying in Canada and Japan with two of Shorinjiryu Karatedo's most influential teachers, Masayoshi Kori Hisataka (10th dan), the founder of the Kenkokan school, and his son Masayuki Kukan Hisataka (9th dan). The Shorinjiryu Kentokukan tradition uses kata or forms handed down from Dr. Masayoshi Kori Hisataka, 10th Dan (1907-1988) and his son So Shihan Masayuki Kukan Hisataka - Hanshi, 9th Dan (1940 - ). Shinan Donivan has incorporated the teachings of these masters with his own expertise and knowledge, establishing Kentokukan (The school for the development of virtue and morals through the study of Karatedo).

History and Mission Statement

Shorinjiryu Kentokukan Karatedo came into being on January 8, 1994, as a result of Shinan Wayne Donivan’s decision to leave Shorinjiryu Kenkokan Karatedo. His teacher So Shinan Masayuki Kukan Hisataka and Masayoshi Kori Hisataka (founder of Kenkokan Karatedo) remain great influences in Shinan Donivan’s life. However, the time had come for Shihan Donivan to make his own way in the study of Karatedo; a time to stand on his own after more than 25 years with the Hisataka family. Building on knowledge gained in Kenkokan, Shinan Donivan has chosen to emphasize aspects of Karatedo that he feels better serve the individual student.

The Kentokukan school has as its main goal the growth and development of the entire student, providing individuals with precious life skills. We are committed to helping students improve physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. Our teachers are educators dedicated to the task of encouraging students to be the best people they can possibly, helping to make a positive contribution to the world in which we live.

The techniques of Kentokukan are a composite of many martial arts, hard and soft. They include the circular and angular evasive techniques of the Chinese tradition, the full hard blows of Okinawa-te, the Japanese grappling forms of Jujitsu, Judo and Aikido, and finally boxing and wrestling techniques of the West.

We feel that Karatedo is of benefit to all. Our children's program (4-14 years) provides the opportunity for the growth of self-esteem, improved concentration, self-discipline, fitness, problem solving, and competition. The adult program offers a wide range of learning experiences, from fitness, skill acquisition and competition to techniques for stress control, personal well-being and interpersonal skills.

Everyone has their own needs for fulfillment. We feel that Karatedo is the best medium by which we can help you make a difference in your life.

Meaning and Philosophy

Shorinjiryu    -     The Japanese word for Shaolin Temple Style.

Kentokukan   -    The School for the developmental of virtue and morals through the study of Karatedo.

Karatedo       -    The word "Karatedo" is composed of the ideograms (symbols) kara, te, and do.

Kara - "Kara" in Japanese refers to one of the most brilliant periods in Chinese history when the Tang Dynasty ruled China (A.D. 618-907) and has come to represent China itself for the Japanese. - "Kara" also means empty; free.

Te - "Te" means hand or technique

Do - "Do" signifies philosophical way with which to realize oneself.

Thus, KARATEDO literally means "the way to self-perfection through the practice of techniques originating during the Tang period". The word "karate" was first introduced in Okinawa to designate "Chinese fighting techniques" which include both bare-hand and armed techniques (Karate-ho and Buki-ho). But as is often the case in Japanese use of Chinese ideograms, Kara can also be written and pronounced Ku and Sora, meaning "empty", "free like air" or "infinite like the sky".

Thus another sense of karatedo is "the way to self perfection through the practice of techniques of emptiness" (emptiness being understood both physically without weapons and mentally with an empty or free).

The meaning of the name Kentokukan is :

"The School for the Development of Virtues and Morals through the study of Karatedo"

The main goal of Shorinjiryu Kentokukan Karatedo is to help individuals improve themselves physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. The acquisition of technical knowledge is not to be an end in itself, but a means to realize one’s full potential. This is the true meaning of "Do". Karate Jitsu is the study of techniques as a means to better a warrior’s chances of survival in battle. It is of great value as a part of Karatedo, especially in the area of self-defense. Evil still exists and we must be prepared to defend ourselves and our loved ones; but it is limited in today’s world of very sophisticated weapons. "Karate Jitsu" battles of today are found most often in the form of karate competitions, which allows the student the opportunity to test his skill without the dangers of serious injury or death. This, too, is limited as it tends to be in the domain of those under the age of 30 years. The establishment of rules for scoring as well as for safety had created "sport karate", which for many students has become the main focus. Shihan Wayne Donivan believes that in the study of karatedo this is but one aspect or stepping stone on the path, which is a way of life that must be open to all and practiced for a lifetime.

Kentokukan has as its goal the desire to provide every student a safe, comfortable and friendly atmosphere in which to study. We hope to present opportunities for individual achievement and set a positive example. In order to help students better understand the philosophy of Kentokukan and to give a better sense of direction, Shinan Donivan has created a motto and dojo kun (school principles).

Motto and Dojo Kun

In order to help students better understand the philosophy of Kentokukan and to give a better sense of direction, Shinan Donivan has created a motto and dojo kun (school principles).

Kentokukan Motto:


Kentokukan Dojo Kun (School Principles)

  • Karatedo begins and ends with respect tolerance and good will.
  • Seek the positive in all things.
  • Strive to discover your true self.
  • Demonstrate your karatedo in everything you do.
  • Be as nature and one with the Universal Spirit.

Evolutionary Process

A Short Biography of Shinan Donivan

Iaido session at Summer Camp 1988. (from left to right) Ron Voot, Shinan Donivan and Bill Hawthorne.

Shinan Wayne Donivan was born on July 27th, 1949 in Chapleau, Ontario. His family re-located to Ville St-Laurent, Quebec in 1960 when his father's employer transferred him to Montreal.

Shinan began his practice in Shorinjiryu Kenkokan Karatedo at Seidokwan Academy of Karatedo and Judo on November 7th, 1967. Hanshi Masayuki Hisataka had been teaching there since September and Shinan Donivan was one of his first students. In June 1969, Shinan Donivan became the first Canadian to receive a 1st degree black belt (Shodan) in Shorinjiryu Kenkokan. In 1971, he was promoted to the rank of Nidan, second degree black belt and by July 1974, he had attained his Sandan (third degree black belt) in the Kenkokan School. Shinan Donivan also attended McGill University and earned a B.Ed. in Physical Education. Having studied various fighting techniques and martial arts such as boxing, wrestling, aikido, kendo, kenjitsu, iaido and ju-jutsu, Shinan Donivan has incorporated all these forms in the Kentokukan school of Shorinjiryu.

Between the years 1971 to 1974, Shinan Donivan won the title of North American Champion four times in Shorinjiryu Kenkokan as well as a Triple Crown winner in 1972 (first place kata, kumite, and shiai). In the past, Shinan Donivan has traveled to various parts of the world, from Jamaica to Japan giving clinics for Shorinjiryu Kenkokan and Koshiki.

Shinan Donivan in Kingston, Jamaica. 1980.

In 1974, Hanshi Hisataka was asked by his father (Kaiso Masayoshi Hisataka, founder of the Kenkokan school) to return to Tokyo, Japan to teach at the Kenkokan Hombu Dojo. By the summer of 1976, Shinan Donivan had received his fourth degree black belt (the official teaching degree) and was asked by Hanshi Hisataka to assume the additional responsibility of the being the Chief Instructor of Kenkokan in North America as well as continuing his role of Sensei at both Seidokwan and McGill dojo.

In 1977, Shinan Wayne Donivan traveled to Japan to train and live with the Hisataka family for three months. Kaiso Masayoshi Hisataka, who had previously retired from teaching three years earlier, made an exception for Shinan and his five students. By the end of his three months of intense training in Japan, Shinan Donivan was presented his 5th degree black belt by Kaiso Masayoshi Hisataka at the Kenkokan Hombu Dojo..

Shinan Donivan assisted Hanshi Hisataka in his research that lead to the development of the Koshiki fighting rules in the late 70's and also served as the technical director of Koshiki for Canada and Quebec. In addition, Shinan Donivan was also the director of the Competition Rules Committee of the World Koshiki Karate Federation and the Canada Koshiki Karate Federation, as well as the first instructor to introduce the regular practice of Koshiki in Canada. In 1985, at the Australian International Koshiki Tournament, Shinan Donivan was selected as the Chief Referee and was presented his sixth degree black belt. He has conducted many seminars on Koshiki fighting in Quebec and many of his students have been known national and international success since 1980.

Shinan Donivan with Hanshi Hisataka after receiving his 6th degree black belt at the Australian International Koshiki Tournament (1985).

On January 8th, 1994, Shinan Donivan's decided to leave the Kenkokan School after 26 years with the Hisataka family. This resulted in the birth of Shorinjiryu Kentokukan Karatedo. He has chosen to emphasize aspects of karatedo, which he feels better to serve the individual student. The name "Kentokukan", which was given to Shinan Donivan by Hanshi Hisataka for his dojo located at Dawson College has become the Hombu Dojo(or headquarters) of Shorinjiryu Kentokukan Karatedo. Kentokukan is an evolving, ever-growing school and karatedo style; it spans across Canada, into the United States and Japan. A relatively young style, Shorinjiryu Kentokukan Karatedo has made its mark nationally and internationally through participation in competitions and seminars throughout Canada, the United States, Europe and Japan.

Shinan Donivan remains an active Sensei and teaches all ages and all ranks, from Yukyusha to Yudansha. He currently teaches Combative Activities, Self-Defense, and Karatedo classes at Dawson College located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He also holds the rank of seventh dan in the Kenkokan school of Shorinjiryu, and an 8th dan in Koshiki.