Shinken Taira, a master of Okinawan weaponry, was born on the small island of Kukijima by Okinawa. His family name was "Maezato" but later in life he changed to his mother's name "Taira". He studied under Master Moden Yabuki, the founder of "Ryukyu Kobujutsu Kenkyu-Kai", which is the now Kobujutsu Research Association. Master Yabuki was the first to open a dojo for this study.
Taira also studied with many more masters to acquire weapons knowledge and kata forms including Gichin Funakoshi and Kenwa Mabuni.
In the 1930's, after many years of study, he went to Japan to open his own dojo in Ikaho, Gunma Prefecture.
In 1940, Taira returned to Naha, Okinawa to open a dojo.
The dojo name was "Ryukyu Kobujutsu Hozon Shinkokai". Here he worked to promote the ancient Okinawan martial arts as passed down to him by the many great masters who he had studied under.
In 1960's Taira went to Yokohama and stayed in Sakagami's dojo (Genbu-Kan) where Sensei Demuara studied kobudo with him. Taira later went back to Okinawa where Sensei Demura visited him in 1962. Sensei Demura has since been a key person in bringing the study of Okinawan weaponry to North America and it continues to be taught today in Genbu-Kai dojos around the world.