Like Jin, Ukon was born into the samurai bloodline. He studied under Zuikou and became one of his most prized disciples. Ukon was sent on a voyage by the province's daimyo, but his ship met with disaster and capsized. Somehow, he ended up washed ashore in China. There, he encountered a 'mysterious martial art' known as Hakkei, and studied it vigorously under the tutelage of Shaolin monks. He returned to Japan a different man under a different name, Shōryū, and had become so different that he had no qualms about killing a fellow student to demonstrate his newfound power. Zuikou expelled him, but Shōryū had the last laugh. Shōryū wandered the continent searching for a new master, but no one would have him, labeling him a heretic. He became embittered as he felt his greatness deserved acknowledgement. He began murdering renowned samurai for sport, at the same time hoping to find a worthy opponent. The 'street killer' myth was built around him. His latest victim would have been Mugen, who despite being far superior to most of Shōryū's opponents and having trained intensively for the fight, had little chance of winning outright. After an intense fight, both Mugen and Shoryu knock the swords out of each other's hands. When Shoryu attempts to engage Mugen in hand to hand combat, Mugen defeats Shōryū by pulling out a tanto at the end of his scabbard as a trump card, and kills Shoryu with it.
Mugen's battle with Shōryū characterizes the uniqueness of his free-for-all fighting style he calls “champuru kendo”, swiping bits and pieces from all forms of martial arts thrown at him, as he was seemingly able to mimic and use Shōryū's ki technique to his own advantage, likely picked up in their first duel. This battle marks the first time Mugen ever faced an opponent he was unsure of defeating as stated by Jin.
Next to Kariya Kagetoki and Sara, Shouryuu is easily one of the most powerful fighters in the "Champloo" universe. His stance and fighting style are markedly Shaolin. His discipline, Hakkei, makes use of ki. It is unknown if Shouryuu employs ki to strengthen his defenses, but he certainly uses it to greatly augment his offensive prowess. Already as quick as Mugen, if not quicker, he is able to project ki at a distance or even channel it through his sword. Furthermore, one blow from his palm is a fatal death touch.