Advincula's 40th Isshin-ryu Anniversary


Cherry Douglas

Photos and Captions courtesy of Arcenio J. Advincula


Arcenio J. Advincula started his training in the martial arts in 1946 at the age of eight. He was small and according to him, being of mixed ethnic background (Filipino and Caucasian) he "looked different" from the rest of his classmates in Alaska. Needless to say, he was a target of the bullies. On one occasion after school, he was jumped by a group of bullies who took a brand new cap and jacket that his father just bought for him. When he returned home and told his father about the incident, his father went to the home of the bullies and retrieved the clothes. Soon after, his father hired some friends, who were hand-to-hand combat instructors for the Philippine Army, to train Advincula in escrima and combat judo. Thus began his lifelong love, respect and commitment to the martial arts.

In late November, 1958, on his first tour of duty on Okinawa as a United States Marine, he began his study of Isshin-ryu. When he was checking in, he saw a sign that announced free Judo classes. He asked his NCOIC about the class and his NCOIC, who was a green belt in Isshin-ryu told Advincula about Isshin-ryu and training under Tatsuo Shimabuku. On his first liberty, the NCOIC took him straight to the Agena dojo to meet and study Isshin-ryu from its founder, Master Tatsuo Shimabuku. The date was December 1, 1958 and in the forty years since, a part of each and every day involves some aspect of the martial arts. He is either training by himself, teaching or conducting workshops and seminars all over the United States and Canada, writing articles, studying the history of Okinawa or martial arts in general, or answering a million questions on the phone or over the internet from students like me.

Advincula makes yearly trips to Okinawa for several reasons. He researches and studies karate and kobudo on the island and keeps in touch with Tatsuo's wife, Mrs. Shimabuku and Shinsho his second son. Advinculas also conducts Okinawan Cultural Martial Arts Tours and since 1994 has had four of them. He plans for a fifth tour in April 1999. Another reason for his trips to Okinawa is to visit his in-laws. He has been married to Michie Nakamashi since January 23, 1961.

Isshin-ryu and the martial arts are lucky to have Arcenio J. Advincula as an ambassador. For fifty-three years he has been studying, training and teaching in escrima, combat judo, kobudo, goju-ryu, shorin-ryu, uechi-ryu, hindiandi gung fu, just to name a few. December 1, 1998 marked his 40th anniversary studying and teaching Isshin-ryu karate. He continues to learn and he doesn't close his mind to change. He strives to keep the Isshin-ryu tradition and Tatsuo Shimabuku alive in our hearts.

I think he does a good job. Thank you Sensei.

The following pictures say so much more about Advincula than I ever could. Let's let the pictures do the talking.



This photo was taken July 4, 1946 in Anchorage, Alaska. It was the day that the United States gave the Philippines its independence after colonizing it after the Spanish American War. The Filipino community in Anchorage built this float which depicts the U.S. cutting the chains of bondage. Advincula is in the middle of the photo with his father and stepmother. He was eight years old and had studied escrima and combat judo from several of the past members of the Philippine Scouts. These are former Filipino Scouts who accompanied the float.


Advincula (left) teaching Tatsuo's bunkai to Kiaha who is using a pair of sai in the Agena dojo - 1959



Advincula teaching bunkai to Gayle Beans at the Anchorage Alaska Athletic Club in 1960. Mr. Beans was one of Advincula's first students and one of only three Americans to study Hindiandi with Sensei Kaneshiro.

 Loi Miranda instructing Advincula in Largo Mano, escrima at Elmendorf, AFB, Alaska in 1961.



Advincula wearing the first Isshin-ryu Megami Patch. On January 2, 1961, Advincula returns to Okinawa after being discharged from the Marine Corps as a civilian (notice hair!). With Tatsuo's approval, he designs the first Isshin-ryu Megami patch. He is wearing the first patch, incorrectly modified by the embroiderer. One can see that the design is not oval but is in the shape of a fist. Photo was taken by Ed Johnson in February 1961. Notice Mrs. Shimabuku peeking from behind the gate.


Tatsuo testing Advincula's sanchin at a demo at the N.C.O. Club at Camp Hansen, Okinawa in 1963.

Advincula as a san dan and senior student leading basic exercises at an American Ryukyan Friendship Week demo at the Makiminato Base Theater. Behind Advincula is Dave Zaslow, a shodan, and Angi Uezu, a green belt. Photo taken in 1963.


This photo was taken after a demo at the Eiriku Theater, Agena, Okinawa. Seated in the center is Tatsuo Shimabuku. To his right is Eiko Kaneshi, his right-hand man and Genyu Shigema. To Tatsuo's left, is Chinsaku Kinjo. Advincula was a san dan at the time and Angi Uezu was a green belt. Picture was taken on March 3, 1963.




Advincula at his first California dojo. Paul Heffernan and Harold Mitchum opened this dojo in 1965. It was shortlived. Soon after it was opened, Mitchum was transferred to the East Coast and Advincula went to Vietnam.

Advincula practicing in front of a tent in Danang, Vietnam - September 1965.


 Isshin-ryu dojo in Kin, Okinawa. Photo taken in 1965.


Shinsho Shimabuku and Advincula at the Agena dojo in 1969.

One of the last photos taken of Tatsuo Shimabuku on May 1, 1975. It was the grand opening of the new Kinaka Isshin-ryu dojo. To Tatsuo's right is Advincula, Cyress Bess and Max Flanagan. To Tatsuo's left is Robert Embesie. Embesie and Bess were both Advincula's students.



Advincula frequently returns to Okinawa to learn and practice the martial arts. Here he is doing a bo kata along with another Ryu Kon Kai student. Advincula began training from Kotaro Iha in Ryu Kon Kai after Tatsuo's death in 1975.

 After returning to Camp Pendleton, CA from his last Okinwan tour of duty in 1976, John Bartuseviscs gives his San Luis Rey dojo to Advincula. This photo was taken around 1977.


 Photo taken around 1979. Advincula practicing sanchin.



Advincula with his Hindiandi sensei, Kang Kaneshiro at Hamada, Okinawa in 1981.

 After retiring from the Marine Corps in 1981 with 24 years service, Advincula gave seminars throughout the U.S. and Canada. This photo was taken at Natchez, Mississippi in the early 80's at a demo.



Advincula has instructed many Marine units at Camp Pendleton, CA and Marine Reserve Unites at Miramar, CA. He has also intructed several units on Okinawa. This photo shows Advincula instructing bayonet fighting to First Marines, Camp Horno, CA in 1982.

 This photo was taken on December 24, 1984.




 This photo was on the cover of the March 1986 Black Belt Magazine. Bobby Grillo assists Advincula. The following year, Advincula was honored by Black Belt Magazine as Co-instructor of the year along with Ray Dalke.




Advincula and the San Diego Chargers. Advincula and Bobby Grillo began teaching the San Diego Chargers, NFL football team in 1987. Advincula teaches the Chargers for seven years helping them to become the AFC West 1993 Champions. A year later, the Chargers went to the Super Bowl.



Advincula made three escrima videos for Panther Productions. Rod Mindlin assists.



 In 1994, Advincula conducted his first Okinawa Cultural Martial Arts Tour. This photo was taken at the Agena Castle with Tatsuo's second son Shinsho Shimabuku who is in the center wearing a red belt. Kneeling to his right is Advincula. Kneeling to his left is Byron Marriner. Rear row from left to right; Jeff Persons, Mark Riddle, Greg Stipp, Brian Newton, Susan Riddle, Pim Barrett, Joan Calvert, Dennis Cothern, Sal Musco, Michael Storms and George Calvert. Not in the photo is Carol Musco and George Trimm. Advincula recognized Shinsho Shimabuku as a Judan in Isshin-ryu. Shinsho was training and teaching Marines when Advincula first arrived on Okinawa in November of 1958.