What is Muso-kai

Welcome to Muso-kai

  International Okinawa Karate-do (国際沖縄空手道) Muso-kai (無想会) is the worldwide karate organization founded by Shihan, Kiyoshi Arakaki in 1980 and located in the Western United States, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

  The meaning of Mu (無) in the word Muso has nearly the same meaning as Kara in Karate (空手). The character for Kara (空) represents emptiness as well as infinity in the Chinese language and Eastern philosophy. The character for So (想) in Muso means a thought and/or ideas. The character for kai (会) in Muso-kai means organization or group of people.  So Muso-kai can be translated as An organization of infinite thought or action without conscious efforts.

  The birth place of Karate is Okinawa.  Okinawa is Japan’s southern most prefecture and is made up of hundreds of what are called the Ryukyu Islands in a chain over 600  miles (1000 km) long, which stretch from Kyushu (the Southern most of Japan’s four main islands) to Taiwan.

  Okinawa’s Capital, Naha, is located in the southern part of the largest and most populous island, Okinawa Island, which is approximately half way  between Kyushu and Taiwan.  Prior to 1879, Okinawa Prefecture was known as the Ryukyu Kingdom and because of its location in the center of  the East China Sea, close to Japan and China, it was a prosperous trading nation.

  The Ryukyu Kingdom flag is three circles spiraling counter-clockwise called Hidari Gomon (左御紋) or the left symbol. The symbol of Muso-kai is based on the old Ryukyu flag with a Karate Fist in the middle of the flag to show that karate originated from Ryukyu (Okinawa). However, to show respect to the Ryukyu flag, the circles on the Muso-kai symbol are spiraling clockwise.

  This spiral motion of the Muso-kai symbol also symbolized Karate’s rising international popularity and its uses towards a healthier and happier lifestyle. Now is the time for Karate to bring these aspects back to the people of Okinawa and the rest of the world.

Shihan, Kiyoshi Arakaki
(師範 新垣 清)

  Shihan, Kiyoshi Arakaki was born in 1954 as the first son of Dr. Seiei Arakaki (新垣 清榮) and Yoshiko Arakaki (新垣 芳子) in Naha, Okinawa. During his mid-teenage years at Kamihara Junior High School, he helped found their first Karate club and became one of the key members of the club. After he finished Naha High School he moved to the United States and attended Graceland University where he quickly became President of their Karate club.

Sensei, Shin'ei Kyan
(喜屋武 眞栄 先生)
(Member of the Japanese House of Councilors)

  Shihan Arakaki was determined to master karate at an early age.  One of the persons who gave him the most influence to study and master karate was Sensei Shin'ei Kyan, who was a distant relative of his mother, Yoshiko Arakaki. Sensei Kyan received a ninth degree Black Belt from Grand Master Shoshin Nagamine (長嶺将真), the founder of Shorin-ryu (松林流) Karate style. Sensei Kyan was not only one of the highest ranking Karate-ka (空手家) or Karate practitioner, but he was also instrumental in helping Master Nagamine establish Shorin-ryu at an early era.

  Sensei Kyan also trained with the ancient Okinawan weapons or Okinawa Kobudo (沖縄古武道), but he specialized in the Sai (釵) and Bo (棒). His Sa and Bo techniques were legendary and he was considered by many to be the best Sai master in the world.  His Sai kata "Kyan no Sai (喜屋武の釵)" is still practiced worldwide. Also Muso-kai Bo kata “Shirotaro No Kun (白太郎の棍) was taught by him.

  Sensei Kyan is also known as the statesman who helped lead Okinawa to its return as a prefecture of Japan. After WWII, Okinawa was under U.S. military occupancy and the people of Okinawa wanted to return to be governed by the Japanese government. There were island wide movements to go back and be part of Japan and Sensei Kyan was one of the leaders of these movements. The movement was successful and when Okinawa again became a Japanese Prefecture, he was elected to be a member of the Japanese House of Councilors and the Senate.

  The young Shihan Arakaki always looked up to Sensei Kyan and wanted to follow in his martial arts foot step.  However, Sensei Kyan’s political duty kept him very busy, and while Shihan Arakaki was lucky enough to learn many ideas on the origins of Karate he was not able to learn much Karate techniques directly from him. When Shihan Arakaki grew older, he was invited to stay with Sensei Kyan in Tokyo and observed the House of Councilors Meetings to learn about Sensei Kyan's work as a statesman.

  Those experiences had a great effect on Shihan Arakaki's life. Muso-kai’s mission of making Karate's ideas valuable to people in society by following the true martial arts way was strongly influenced by seeing Sensei Kyan work.  Later working with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, India this same mission was reinforced.

  Another sensei who influenced Shihan Arakaki’s karate was his 5th and 6th grade teacher Sensei Kyuyu Kinjo (金城久裕) who later become the head of Tozan-ryu (渡山流) karate style.

Sensei, Ten'ei Taba
(田場 典永 先生)

  When Shihan Arakaki entered Kamihara Junior High School, he became one of the original founding members of the Karate club. The instructor of this club was Sensei Ten'ei Taba, who was also an early student of Grand Master Shoshin Nagamine. Shihan Arakaki was one of the key members of the club and trained in the old Okinawan karate kata (形or型?) such as Naifanchi (内帆船or南方拳), Pinan (平安), and Gojushiho (五十四歩), etc.  Then, when he entered Naha High School he started training under Sensei Shoshin Nagamine.

  Shihan Arakaki’s early training era was not the same as our current modern Karate training, where students go to a dojo and receive instruction in a systematic method. In addition to training in the old kata at the Karate Club at school he also learned many practical fighting techniques from the so called "Kakurebushi (隠れ武士)"  or hidden warriors. All such instruction from these Kakurebushi was one on one, after you had been introduced as a serious karate student by a close friend or family member.

  These hidden warriors some of whom had vast knowledge and talent in various aspects of the martial arts, were not instructors looking for students, they were everyday people that had trained for years.  However, because they typically trained alone they did not gain popularity in society as martial artists.

  These Kakurebushi's techniques were often different than what Shihan Arakaki learned in the Karate club and dojo. The techniques were typically much smaller, much more subtle, simple and direct. However, at the time young Shihan Arakaki did not understand the meaning of the difference and has spent the rest of his life reconciling and trying to understand the importance and the source of the differences.

  After being introduced as a serious karate student, Shihan Arakaki often visited these Kakurebushi and trained under them.  He learned many old Karate techniques and their origins. In that era, with the Kakurebushi, Karate was still a secretive art which was taught by and passed down by one master to one pupil. Shihan Arakaki is one of the last generations of Okinawan karate-ka who knows that era and trained with many of those Kakurebushi.

Mother Teresa

  While Shihan Arakaki was training in Karate as a young man, he also wondered about the cycle of life and death. He was born as the eldest son of a medical doctor who’s job was saving lives but as a young Karate-ka he was learning and teaching Karate which as a Martial Art can be used to take lives. For Shihan Arakaki, this paradox of life and death was something he could not reconcile and needed to explore further.

  After the death of a close friend and much soul searching, he went to India and worked as a volunteer for Mother Teresa at "Missionaries of Charity".  He worked at "The Home of the Dying" in Kalighat at Calcutta. As a volunteer, he took care of street people who were dying and through these experiences, learned that in the end, everyone ends their life very peacefully. In that peace, there is no difference between a poor man or a wealthy man, famous or unknown, young or old. For a man's life there is no fear in the end. In knowing that everyone overcomes the fear at the end of their life and finds peace, gives us the knowledge and courage to overcome our natural fear of dying.

  Using the idea that courage is the key to learning, he found answers to his own questions and was able to incorporate the idea of using courage to help contribute to our society today.


  When Shihan Arakaki started college in the United States, he again began teaching Karate at the University’s Karate Club. After he left, he opened a Dojo in Salt Lake City, Utah. During this time Full-Contact Karate and other Karate tournaments were very popular in Japan and all over the world. Shihan Arakaki had questions about ancient Okinawan kata’s effectiveness and how it was applicable to an actual fight. So, like many instructors at the time, he modified the Karate techniques he had learned and his teaching methods to suit the tournament rules. He went to Denver, Colorado to learn those techniques from Grand Master Kancho Joko Ninomiya (二宮城光) who was the founder of Enshin kaikan (円心会館) karate style. It was the time right before Kancho Ninomniya became the all Japan Karate champion so training was very hard and Shihan Arakaki learned the necessity of hard physical conditioning and weight training.  He also adapted Koshiki Karate with its protective face and body gear so his students could spar safely.

  With hard training, many of Muso-kai fighters were very successful in tournaments and won many local, national, and international fights. Also each year for many years Shihan Arakaki held his own Full-Contact and Koshiki Karate tournaments in the spring and fall.  These tournaments drew fighters from around the US, Canada and Japan. His dedication and success were recognized internationally and he was named as the President of the American Koshiki Karate Organization (米国硬式空手連盟) by Grand Master Sensei Masayuki (Kukan) Hisataka (久高空観正之), the founder of Koshiki Karate and the president of All-Japan Koshiki Karate-do Organization (全日本硬式空手道連盟) in 1987. Also that year the World Karate Organization or Sekai Karate Renmei (世界空手連盟) and the chairman, Tenth Degree Black Belt Grand Master Sensei Eiichi Eriguchi (江里口栄一), promoted him to sixth degree Black Belt. Currently Shihan Arakaki holds a seventh degree Black Belt.

  However, in this era, kata he taught was only used to win kata tournaments, used for promotion test requirements, and/or demonstrations to appeal to general audiences. There was almost no connection between actual fighting techniques and kata. Even though a vague application to fighting existed, it was like a scene in movies as most other Karate styles were.


  Through living in the United States more than twenty years, Shihan Arakaki gradually recognized the difference between Western physical movements used in modern sports and Eastern physical movements used in Budo (武道) or Bujutsu (武術). When Japan opened its doors to western influence in 1854, many things in the Japanese culture changed.

  When the old Okinawan kata (s) were introduced to both Japan in the early 1920s and the rest of the world after World War II they slowly changed to fit the lifestyle and the physical cultures where they were taught.

  You can see the change in many of the kata (s) during the early years when they were introduced by Okinawan Masters.

  Some kata changed even during the Master’s life time.  The kata that they learned in Okinawa in their youth from a close friend or family member and the kata that their senior students were teaching after their death were similar but in many cases were not the same.

  The problem is that if you practice kata with Western physical movement, no matter how much you train, it is impossible to understand the true meaning of the kata and what it was designed to teach.  You might be strong and be a good fighter but you will not understand or master the Way of Karate without incorporating Eastern physical movements that developed over centuries of martial arts training.


  Once Shihan Arakaki recognized the difference between modern Karate, based on Western physical movements and the ancient Okinawan karate, based on Eastern physical movements, he had to make a choice. Either ignore the difference and keep going down the modern Karate path that would make him a successful martial arts instructor or go back to his Okinawan roots and start over.  As you can guess, he took the latter way and tackled the most difficult task of his life.

  He decided to re-train himself and use only physical movements he had learned in his youth.  He expected to retrain for at least three years, however he found that the way to master the ancient Okinawan karate was harder than he expected and it turned out taking him over five long years of training and research.

  First, he stopped hosting his successful tournaments and stopped the promotional activity of his dojo. There was no time for business advertisements, no time for demonstrations, no time for sales promotions to generate dojo business. Everything in his life was centered on making time to re-train himself in ancient Okinawan karate.

  Any spare time he had he used to re-train his old kata which he learned in Okinawa as a young Karate-ka. Trying to remember the movements he leaned as a youngster and applying them to the ones he knew now. He read books which old Masters had written, talked to living Masters who Shihan Arakaki trusted as true Okinawan karate-ka such as Shorin-ryu (松林流) / Yamane-Chinen-ryu Bojutsu (山根流棒術) Master Sensei Toshihiro Oshiro (大城利弘), and Sensei Kiyoshi Nishime (西銘清).

  Shihan Arakaki sacrificed nearly everything in those years. Financially and personally it was the hardest time of his life.

Naifanchi kata

  During the time of Shihan Arakaki's re-training, he dedicated himself to a hard physical work out routine. He ran, weight trained, and stretched to make his body strong enough to practice the old methods of Bujutsu. During Bujutsu training he mainly practiced the kata called Naifanchi (aka, Naihanchi, Tettsuki, etc.). This kata was known as both the most basic kata taught to new students and the most advanced kata that only very few truly mastered.  He was told in his youth that this kata held the secret of Okinawan karate, so this is the kata that he focused on during his re-training.

  He trained and retrained his Naifanchi kata for countless days during those five years.  It is widely believed that in these modern times there is no other Karate-ka that has trained in Naifanchi kata as much as Shihan Arakaki.

  After countless hours of practice and sleepless nights thinking about what his early Masters had said about Naifanchi, Shihan Arakaki finally understood the subtle movements of Naifanchi, how the movements should be done, what the movements were teaching and most importantly, how the movements could be applied to every aspect of Karate.  His old Masters were right; this simple kata led him to understand all the secrets of Okinawan karate.  The moment he fully understood Naifaichi was his enlightenment.

Re-Construction of Muso-kai

  Five years of hard training gave Shihan Arakaki an enlightenment of Karate; however, he realized he still did not have a method to teach his students the true Karate as Bujutsu. As you know, modern Karate adapted Western physical movement and almost all the Karate schools or dojo (道場) in the world are following this sports method of teaching Karate.

  In olden times, Karate as Bujutsu was taught by one master to one or a very few number of pupils. Old Karate was never taught nor did the old Masters develop the methods to teach mass numbers of students at once like a modern dojo.  When the first Masters traveled to Japan from Okinawa and started teaching this ancient art, they adopted teaching methods from other sources as none of them had learned Karate in a group setting.

  It was a hard reality to recognize that there is almost no one in the world who teaches the true old Okinawan karate as Bujutsu and also that no such method existed to teach this art to more than one or two dedicated students at a time.

  After he recognized this, Shihan Arakaki took another difficult challenge: teaching old Okinawan karate as Bujutsu to a large number of students at once. To do so, he had to re-construct all the teaching methods of Muso-kai Karate. And he did so in another five years.

"The Secrets of Okinawan Karate"

  While re-constructing Muso-kai’s teaching methods, Shihan Arakaki had started writing the book called "Okinawa Budo Karate no Gokui (沖縄武道空手の極意)" or "The Secrets of Okinawan Karate”. The book, first published in Japanese, became a best-seller in Japan and copies were translated into English, Spanish and Italian becoming a best seller around the world.  Shihan Arakaki has subsequently written five other books on karate.

  The martial arts theories and methods, based on Eastern physical movements Shihan Arakaki wrote in the book were centered on the Naifanchi kata and Okinawan karate he learned in his youth.

  These concepts and methods were totally new to almost all the Japanese Karate-ka and were also very controversial. As time passed since the ideas were first published, many serious Japanese Karate-ka have realized that Shihan Arakaki has found in the Naifanchi kata many of the secrets of Okinawan Karate as Bujutsu.

  His books on Karate explain not only the movements of Karate as Bujutsu but also explain why many of these movements are natural human movements. These revolutionary methods he wrote about are now called the "Arakaki Methods" and are used by lots of Karate-ka to explain Karate's movements and training methods in either kata, Kumite or actual fighting.

  Shihan Arakaki shares his methods by writing more books and making a DVD.  Also he is planning worldwide Seminars and Workshops so people can see the differences in their own dojo.

This is International Okinawa Karate-do Muso-kai
(国際沖縄空手道 無想会)

  After his long hard journey of rediscovery, Shihan Arakaki has created a method to teach Muso-kai Karate to everyone who wishes to understand this ancient martial art that has developed over the centuries and also better understand themselves.

  Muso-kai Karate is created to make us better human beings who are in turn valuable members of society. This idea that you can better understand yourself and those around you and hopefully make the world a better place is the idea that Shihan Arakaki strongly believes in and from his own personal journey believes it can happen. Muso-kai is re-creating the ancient Karate as Bujutsu to learn to perform the ultimate human movements in times of necessity.  The movements are not mere physical movement, but incorporate mental discipline and a sense of spirituality in the movements. To be able to combine the physical, mental and spiritual aspect in any movement you must train very hard in the correct kinds of methods.

  The ultimate physical movement requires the ultimate control over one’s own mind and to gain control over your mind you must also train your spirit. Muso-kai is the method to train your mind, body, and spirit to be the best person you can become and we hope you will join us.