The history of the naihanchi kata is that of karate itself. The Naihanchi Shodan kata is considered to be a kata of the Shuri Te lineage of karate. Shungo Sakagawa is considered to be the first true practitioner of karate, particularly Shuri Te. His art was a mixture of Shuri Te, the native Ryukyu fighting art, and Chinese Kempo. Shungo Sakagawa was a student of the Chinese military envoy Kusanku. After training with Kusanku, Sakagawa became known as Tode Sakagawa. Tode refers to Chinese Kempo.
Shungo Sakagawa became the teacher of Soken Matsumura. Soken Matsumura became a well known and highly skilled martial artist. So revered for his skill was Matsumura that he served as the personal bodyguard for the 17th, 18th and 19th Kings of the Ryukyu Islands and as the Chief Martial Arts Instructor as well. Matsumura was also called Bushi Matsumura. Bushi means warrior.
Matsumura studied with other martial artists of the day as well. This included Chinto, Iwah & Wai Shin Zan: all Chinese martial artists living on Ryukyu. Matsumura also traveled to China and studied martial arts in the city of Foochow, in the Fukien province. It is from here that he brought back the Naihanchi Shodan kata which is believed to be from the Shouting White Crane style of Kung Fu.
Soken Matsumura passed on the Naihanchi Shodan kata to his grandson Nabe Matsumura as well as Chomo Hanishiro. Nabe Matsumura was probably the main teacher of Hanishiro. Nabe was also later known as Old Man Nabe.
Chomo Hanishiro then passed the Naihanchi Shodan kata to his student Shigeru Nakamura. Nakamura was founder of the Okinawan Kempo Association. It was while studying with Nakamura that Seiyu Oyata learned this kata.
The Naihanchi Shodan kata was then passed from Seiyu "Taika" Oyata to Allan Amor Kaicho.