TEL.090-4709-4766Higashi Ryoke 1-11-3 Kawaguchi City Saitamaken Japan
The Father of Modern Karate
Master Funakoshi Gichin
|HISTORY OF OKINAWA KARATE
It is said that the traditional Okinawan martial arts called Te and Chinese Kenpo were blended together and developed into karate. Karate later underwent significant developments in Okinawa based on several factors, including the policy of banning weapons following the political centralization of King Shoshin (1477-1526) and the Satsuma Clan's invasion of Ryukyu (1609).
It later developed further through a process of systematization into 'Modern Karate', which actually had a lot to do with the efforts of the men known as the Chuko no so (The Revivers), including
Sokon Matsumura (1828-1898) of the Shuri-te style,
Kosaku Matsumora (1829-1898) of the Tomari-te style and Kanryo Higaonna (1853-1916) of the Naha-te style.In 1908, 'The 10 Articles of Karate' prepared by Anko Itosu were submitted to the Educational Affairs Section of Okinawa Prefecture.
|After that, karate started being introduced into the school gymnastics curriculum, thus acquiring broad accessibility, in contrast to the previously secret principles of Isshi-soden (the complete transmission of a ryu's techniques only to your heir). Back In the early 20th century, karate began to be introduced throughout Japan by several master, including
Gichin Funakoshi (1868-1957, Founder of Shotokan-ryu) , Chojun Miyagi (1888-1953, Founder of Goju-ryu) , Kanbun Uechi (1877-1948, Founder of Uechi-ryu;) , Kenwa Mabuni (1889-1952, Founder of Shito-ryu;) and Hironori Otsuka (1892-1982 Founder of Wado-ryu;).Also throughout Okinawa, karate was taught by masters such as Chotoku Kyan (1870-1945), Choki Motobu (1870-1944) and Choshin Chibana (1885-1969, Founder of Shorin-ryu)
Then, in order to popularize the “local” Okinawan martial art in the rest of Japan, Master Funakoshi synthesized a complete system of techniques and theory, and changed the Chinese and Okinawan names of the kata into standard Japanese. In 1929, after much thought and reflection, he also changed the name of karate-jutsu (Chinese-hand martial art”) to karate-do (“the way of karate,” or “the way of the empty hand”). He then defined the Twenty Precepts of Karate, and established a grand karate philosophy.
Karate began spreading around the world after the war. The biggest contributors were the many emigrants who went to live abroad full of ambition, and the U.S. military personnel occupying Japan at the time.
Today, the young karate-ka who will be the leaders in the 21st century are boldly challenging national tournaments and world championships, and constantly topping the list of winners.
| History Of Karate
3 Original Traditional Okinawan Styles
|Shuri-te||Hard techniques (Go) influenced by Kenpo, seen more as an offensive system.|
|Naha-te||Softer techniques (Ju) of Kenpo, plus strong breath control and is regarded as more of a defensive system, with grappling, throws, and locks.|
|Tomari-te||The hard and soft techniques of Kenpo|
Most Western students of Asian martial arts, if they have done any research on the subject at all, will surely have come across references to Bodhidharma. He is known as "Daruma" in Japan and as often as not, this Indian Buddhist monk is cited as the prime source for all martial arts styles or at the vary least, for any style which traces its roots back to the fabled Shaolin Temple. However, the question of his contributions to the martial arts and to Zen Buddhism and even of his very existence has been a matter of controversy among historians and martial arts scholars for many years (Spiessbach,1992).
As legend has it, the evolution of karate began over a
thousand years ago, possibly as early as the fifth century BC when Bodhidharma
arrived in Shaolin-si (small forest temple), China from India and taught
Zen Buddhism. He also introduced a systematized set of exercises designed to
strengthen the mind and body, exercises which allegedly marked the beginning of
the Shaolin style of temple boxing. Bodhidharma's teachings later became the
basis for the majority of Chinese martial arts. In truth, the origins of karate
appear to be somewhat obscure and little is known about the early development of
karate until it appeared in Okinawa.
Okinawa is a small island of the group that comprises modern day Japan. It is the main island in the chain of Ryukyu Islands which spans from Japan to Taiwan. Surrounded by coral, Okinawa is approximately 10 km (6 mi) wide and only about 110 km (less than 70 mi) long.
It is situated 740 km (400 nautical mi) east of mainland China, 550 km (300 nautical miles) south of mainland Japan and an equal distance north of Taiwan. Being at the crossroads of major trading routes, its significance as a "resting spot" was first discovered by the Japanese. It later developed as a trade centre for southeastern Asia, trading with Japan, China, Indo China, Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo and the Philippines.
In its earliest stages, the martial art known as "karate" was an indigenous form of closed fist fighting which was developed in Okinawa and called Te, or 'hand'. Weapons bans, imposed on the Okinawans at various points in their history, encouraged the refinement of empty-hand techniques and, for this reason, was trained in secret until modern times. Further refinement came with the influence of other martial arts brought by nobles and trade merchants to the island.
Te continued to develop over the years, primarily in three Okinawan cities: Shuri, Naha and Tomari. Each of these towns was a centre to a different sect of society: kings and nobles, merchants and business people, and farmers and fishermen, respectively. For this reason, different forms of self-defense developed within each city and subsequently became known as Shuri-te, Naha-te and Tomari-te. Collectively they were called Okinawa-Te or Tode, 'Chinese hand'. Gradually, karate was divided into two main groups: Shorin-ryu which developed around Shuri and Tomari and Shorei-ryu which came from the Naha area. "It is important to note, however, that the towns of Shuri, Tomari, Naha are only a few miles apart, and that the differences between their arts were essentially ones of emphasis, not of kind. Beneath these surface differences, both the methods and aims of all Okinawan karate are one in the same" (Howard, 1991). Gichin Funakoshi goes further to suggest that these two styles were developed based on different physical requirements Funakoshi, 1935). Shorin-ryu was quick and linear with natural breathing while Shorei-ryu emphasized steady, rooted movements with breathing in synchrony with each movement. Interestingly, this concept of two basic styles also exist in kung-fu with a similar division of characteristics (Wong, 1978).
The Chinese character used to write Tode could also be pronounced 'kara' thus the name Te was replaced with kara te - jutsu or 'Chinese hand art' by the Okinawan Masters. This was later changed to karate-do by Gichin Funakoshi who adopted an alternate meaning for the Chinese character for kara, 'empty'. From this point on the term karate came to mean 'empty hand'. The Do in karate-do means 'way' or 'path', and is indicative of the discipline and philosophy of karate with moral and spiritual connotations.
The concept of Do has been prevalent since at least the days of the Okinawan Scholar Teijunsoku born in 1663, as this passage from a poem he wrote suggests:
No matter how you may excel in the art of te,
And in your scholastic endeavors,
Nothing is more important than your behavior
And your humanity as observed in daily life
Sakugawa had a student named Sokon Matsumura, who in turn taught Anko Itosu who was destined to become a great martial artist and teacher in the 19th century, who introduced the practice of To-De, as the Okinawan martial arts were called, to the Okinawan school system. Ankoh Itosu’s contribution to To-De was the emphasis of Kata and its practical application, called Bunkai.
Many students of Ankoh Itosu became significant figures in the early development of karate.Amongst Itosu’s students are Gichin Funakoshi (1867-1957), who later moved to Japan and founded Shotokan Karate, and Kenwa Mabuni (1890-1954), combined aspects of Naha-Te and Shuri-Te, also moved to Japan, and founded Shito-Ryu Karate
Important Okinawan masters of Shuri-te:
Sakukawa Kanga, Matsumura Sokon,Itosu Anko,Asato Anko,Choyo Motobu,Motobu Choki,Yabu Kentsu,Chomo Hanashiro,Funakoshi Gichin,Kyan Chutoku,Chibana Choshin,Mabuni Kenwa,Toyama Kanken,Tatsuo Shimabuku
The successor styles to Shuri-te include Shotokan-ryu, Shotokai, Wado-ryu,Shito-ryo, Motobu-ryu, Shuri-ryu, Shorin-ryu, Shudokan, Keishinkan, andShorinji-ryo.
Naihanchi (mas tarde Tekki),Pinan (mas tarde Heian),Kusanku (mas tarde Kanku),Passai
(mas tarde Bassai),Jion,Jitte,Sochin,Chinto
Kanga Sakugawa(佐久川 寛賀)
| Kanga Sakugawa (1733 - 1815), also Sakugawa Satunushi and Tode Sakugawa, was an Okinawan martial arts
master and major contributor to the development of Te the precursor to
In 1750, Sakukawa (or Sakugawa) began his training as a student of an Okinawan monk, Peichin Takahara. After six years of training, Takahara suggested that Sakugawa train under Kusanku, a Chinese master in Ch'uan Fa.
Sakukawa spent six years training with Kusanku, and began to spread what he learned to Okinawa in 1762. He became a such expert that people gave him, as a nickname: "Tode" Sakugawa (Sakugawa "Chinese Hand"). His most famous student, Matsumura Sokon, went on to develop the Shuri-te which later develop into Shorin-ryu style of karate.
Chinto (In Shotokan, Gankaku
Matsumura Sokon (松村 宗棍)
|Matsumura Sokon was one of the original karate masters of Okinawa. His
life is reported variously as (1809-1901) or (1798–1890) or (1809–1896)
Matsumura Sokon was born in Yamagawa Village, Shuri, Okinawa. Matsumura began the study of karate under the guidance of Sakukawa Kanga (1762–1843) or (1733–1815) or (1782–1837). Sakukawa was an old man at the time and reluctant to teach the young Matsumura, who was regarded as something of a troublemaker. However, Sakukawa had promised Matsumura Sofuku, Matsumura Sokon’s father, that he would teach the boy, and thus he did. Matsumura spent five years studying under Sakukawa. As a young man, Matsumura had already garnered a reputation as an expert in the martial arts
Ankō Itosu (糸洲 安恒)
, Grand Father of modern karate
|Itosu Ankō, 1831 – 1915) is considered by many the father of modern karate,
although this title is also often given to Gichin Funakoshi because the
latter spread karate throughout Japan
Itosu was born in 1831 and died in 1915. Ethnically Okinawan, Itosu was small in stature, shy, and introverted as a child. He was raised in a strict home of the keimochi (a family of position), and was educated in the Chinese classics and calligraphy.
Itosu began his Tode (karate) study under Nagahama Chikudun Pechin. His study of the art led him to Sokon Matsumura. Part of Itosu's training was makiwara practice. He once tied a leather sandal to a stone wall in an effort to build a better makiwara. After several strikes, the stone fell from the wall. After relocating the sandal several times, Itosu had destroyed the wall.
|Itosu served as a secretary to the last king of the Ryukyu Islands until
Japan abolished the Okinawa-based native monarchy in 1879. In 1901, he
was instrumental in getting karate introduced into Okinawa's schools. In
1905, Itosu was a part-time teacher of To-te at Okinawa's First Junior
Prefectural High School. It was here that he developed the systematic method
of teaching karate techniques that are still in practice today.
He created and introduced the Pinan forms (Heian in Japanese) as learning steps for students, because he felt the older forms (kata in Japanese) were too difficult for schoolchildren to learn. The five Pinan forms were created by drawing from two older forms: kusanku and chiang nan. Itosu is also credited with taking the large Naihanchi form (tekki in Japan) and breaking it into the three well-known modern forms Naihanchi Shodan, Naihanchi Nidan, and Naihanchi Sandan. In 1908, Itosu wrote the influential "Ten Precepts (Tode Jukun) of Karate," reaching beyond Okinawa to Japan. Itosu's style of karate, Shorin-ryu, came to be known as Itosu-ryu in recognition of his skill, mastery, and role as teacher to many.
While Itosu did not invent karate himself, he modified the kata (forms) he learned from his master, Matsumura, and taught many karate masters. Itosu's students include: Choyu Motobu (1857–1927), Choki Motobu (1870–1944), Kentsu Yabu (1866–1937), Gichin Funakoshi (1868–1957),Chomo Hanashiro (1869–1945), Moden Yabiku (1880–1941), Kanken Toyama (1888–1966), Chotoku Kyan (1870–1945), Shinpan Shiroma (gusukuma) (1890–1954), Anbun Tokuda (1886–1945), Kenwa Mabuni (1887–1952), and Choshin Chibana (1885–1969).
In October 1908, Itosu wrote a letter, "Ten Precepts (Tode Jukun) of Karate," to draw the attention of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of War in Japan. A translation of that letter reads:
Ten Precepts of Karate (Tode Jukun) Karate did not develop from Buddhism or Confucianism. In the past the Shorin-ryu school and the Shorei-ryu school were brought to Okinawa from China. Both of these schools have strong points, which I will now mention before there are too many changes:
Gichin Funakoshi (船越 義珍)
Father of modern karate
|Gichin Funakoshi (Funakoshi Gichin was the creator of Shotokan karate, perhaps the most widely known style
of karate, and is attributed as being the 'father of modern karate. Following
the teachings of Anko Itosu, he was one of the Okinawan karate masters
who introduced karate to the Japanese mainland in 1921. He taught karate
at various Japanese universities and became honorary head of the Japan
Karate Association upon its establishment in 1949. November 10, 1868 – April 26, 1957)
Gichin Funakoshi was born in Shuri, Okinawa in the year of the Meiji Restoration around 1868 to ethnic Okinawan parents and originally had the family name Tominakoshi. His father's name was Gisu. After entering primary school he became close friends with the son of Ankō Asato, a karate and kendo master who would soon become his first karate teacher.
|Funakoshi's family was stiffly opposed to the abolition of the Japanese
topknot, and this meant he would be ineligible to pursue his goal of attending
medical school, despite having passed the entrance examination. Being trained
in both classical Chinese and Japanese philosophies and teachings, Funakoshi
became an assistant teacher in Okinawa. During this time, his relations
with the Asato family grew and he began nightly travels to the Asato family
residence to receive karate instruction from Ankō Asato
Funakoshi had trained in both of the popular styles of Okinawan karate of the time: Shorei-ryu and Shorin-ryu. Shotokan is named after Funakoshi's pen name, Shoto, which means "pine waves" or "wind in the pines". In addition to being a karate master, Funakoshi was an avid poet and philosopher who would reportedly go for long walks in the forest where he would meditate and write his poetry. Kan means training hall, or house, thus Shotokan referred to the "house of Shoto". This name was coined by Funakoshi's students when they posted a sign above the entrance of the hall at which Funakoshi taught reading "Shoto kan".
By the late 1910s, Funakoshi had many students, of which a few were deemed capable of passing on their master's teachings. Continuing his effort to garner widespread interest in Okinawan karate, Funakoshi ventured to mainland Japan in 1922.
In 1930, Funakoshi established an association named Dai-Nihon Karate-do Kenkyukai to promote communication and information exchange among people who study karate-do. In 1936 Dai-Nippon Karate-do Kenkyukai changed its name to Dai-Nippon Karate-do Shoto-kai. The association is known today as Shotokai. Shotokai is the official keeper of Funakoshi's Karate-do heritage.
In 1939, Funakoshi built the first Shōtōkan dojo in tokyo. He changed the name of karate to mean "empty hand" instead of "China hand" (as referred to in Okinawa); the two words sound the same in Japanese, but are written differently. It was his belief that using the term for "Chinese" would mislead people into thinking karate originated with Chinese boxing, Karate had borrowed many aspects from Chinese boxing which the original creators say as being positive, as they had done with other martial arts. In addition, Funakoshi argued in his autobiography that a philosophical evaluation of the use of "empty" seemed to fit as it implied a way which was not tethered to any other physical object.
Funakoshi's interpretation of the word kara to mean "empty" was reported to have caused some recoil in Okinawa, prompting Funakoshi to remain in Tokyo indefinitely. His extended stay eventually led to the creation of the Japan Karate Association (JKA) in 1949 with Funakoshi as the honorary head of the organization. Funakoshi was not supportive of all of the changes that the organization eventually made to his karate style. He remained in Tokyo until his death in 1957. After World War II, Funakoshi's surviving students formalized his teachings.
Funakoshi published several books on karate including his autobiography, Karate-Do: My Way of Life. His legacy, however, rests in a document containing his philosophies of karate training now referred to as the niju kun, or "twenty principles". These rules are the premise of training for all Shotokan practitioners and are published in a work titled The Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate. Within this book, Funakoshi lays out 20 rules by which students of karate are urged to abide in an effort to "become better human beings" Funakoshi's Karate-Do Kyohan "The Master Text" remains his most detailed publication, containing sections on history, basics and kata and kumite. The famous Shotokan Tiger by Hoan adorns the hardback cover.
A memorial to Gichin Funakoshi was erected by the Shotokai at Engaku-ji, a temple in Kamakura, on December 1, 1968. Designed by Kenji Ogata the monument features calligraphy by Funakoshi and Sogen Asahina (1891–1979), chief priest of the temple which reads Karate ni sente nashi (There is no first attack in karate), the second of Funakoshi’s Twenty Precepts. To the right of Funakoshi’s precept is a copy of the poem he wrote on his way to Japan in 1922.
A second stone features an inscription by Nobuhide Ohama and reads:
Funakoshi Gichin Sensei, of karate-do, was born on June 10, 1870, in Shuri Okinawa. From about eleven years old he began to study to-te jutsu under Azato Anko and Itosu Anko. He practiced diligently and in 1912 became the president of the Okinawan Shobukai. In May of 1922, he relocated to Tokyo and became a professional teacher of karate-do. He devoted his entire life to the development of karate-do. He lived out his eighty-eight years of life and left this world on April 26, 1957. Reinterpreting to-te jutsu, the Sensei promulgated karate-do while not losing its original philosophy. Like bugei (classical martial arts), so too is the pinnacle of karate “mu” (enlightenment): to purify and make one empty through the transformation from “jutsu” to “do”. Through his famous words “Karate ni sente nashi” (There is no first attack in Karate) and “Karate wa kunshi no bugei” (Karate is the martial art of intelligent people), Sensei helped us to better understand the term “jutsu.” In an effort to commemorate his virtue and great contributions to modern karate-do as a pioneer, we, his loyal students, organised the Shotokai and erected this monument at the Enkakuji. “Kenzen ichi” (“The fist and Zen are one”)
>Gigō Funakoshi (船越義豪>)
|Gigō Funakoshi (Funakoshi Gigō, Funakoshi Yoshitaka in Japanese (1906—1945) was the third son of Gichin Funakoshi(the founder of Shōtōkan
karate) and is widely credited with developing the modern karate Shotokan
Gigo Funakoshi was born in Okinawa and diagnosed with tuberculosis at the age of seven. He was sickly as a child and began the formal study of karate-do at the age of twelve as a means to improve his health. In the early years, Gichin Funakoshi often took Gigo with him to his trainings with Anko Azato and Anko Itosu. Gigo moved from Okinawa to Tokyo with his father when he was 17, and later became a radiographer of the Section of Physical and Medical Consultation of the Ministry of Education.
|When his father's Shihan (senior assistant instructor) Takeshi Shimoda
passed away Gigo assumed his position within the Shotokan organization
teaching in various universities. Gichin Funakoshi transformed karate from
a purely self-defense fighting technique to a philosophical martial Dō
(way of life), or gendai budo, but his son Gigō began to develop a karate
technique that definitively separated Japanese karate-do from the local
Between 1936 and 1945, Gigo gave it a completely different and powerful Japanese flavor based on his study of modern kendo (the way of the japanese sword) under sensei Hakudo Nakayama. Gigo's work on Karate development was primarily assisted by Shigeru Egami and Genshin Hironishi
Through his teaching position and understanding of Japanese martial arts, Gigō became the technical creator of modern shotokan karate. In 1946 the book Karate Do Nyumon by Gigo and Gichin Funakoshi was released. Gigo had written the technical part, whereas his father Gichin wrote the preamble and historical parts.
While the ancient arts of To-de and shuri-te emphasized the use and development of the upper body, open hand attacks, short distances, joint locks, basic grappling, pressure point striking and use of the front kick and variations of it, Gigō developed long distance striking techniques using the low stances found in kendo kata. Gigo developed higher kicks including mawashi geri (round kick), yoko geri kekomi (thrusting side kick), yoko geri keage (snap side kick), fumikiri (cutting side kick directed to soft targets), ura mawashi geri (quarter rotation front-round kick—though some credit Kase-sensei with the creation of this technique), ura mawashi geri (360 degrees turning round kick) and ushiro geri kekomi (thrusting back kick). Yoshitaka was especially known for his deep stances and kicking techniques, and he introduced kiba dachi (side stance), yoko geri (side kick), and mai geri (front kick) forms to the Shotokan style. All these techniques became part of the already large arsenal brought from the ancient Okinawan styles.Gigo's kicking techniques were performed with a much higher knee-lift than in previous styles, and the use of the hips was emphasized. Other technical developments included the turning of the torso to a half-facing position (hanmi) when blocking, and thrusting the rear leg and hips when performing the techniques. These adaptations allowed the delivery of a penetrating attack with the whole body through correct body alignment. Gigo also promoted free sparring.Gigō's kumite (fighting) style was to strike hard and fast, using low stances and long attacks, chained techniques and foot sweeps. Integration of these changes into the Shotokan style immediately separated Shotokan from Okinawan karate. Gigo also emphasized the use of oi tsuki (lunge punch) and gyaku tsuki (reverse lunge punch). The training sessions in his dojo were exhausting, and during these, Gigo expected his students to give twice as much energy as they would put into a real confrontation. He expected this over-training would prepare them for an actual combat situation, should it arise.
The difficult living conditions of World War II weakened Gigo, but he continued training. He died of tuberculosis at the age of 39 on 24 November 1945, in Tokyo, Japan.
| Tsuyoshi Chitose
The history of Chito-ryu karate begins with our founder, Tsuyoshi Chitose (1898-1984). He was born in the Kumochi area of Naha City on the island of Okinawa on October 18, 1898. It was the 29th year of the Meiji era in Japan. Here on this small island, known as the cradle of karate-do, Tsuyoshi Chitose grew up and spent his early formative years. His original birth name was Chinen (Gochoku) Masuo. His father Chinen (Masuo) Chiyoyu, married into his wife's last name, and was not a practitioner of karate. Chitose Sensei changed his name to Tsuyoshi Chitose for personal reasons after he moved to Tokyo in 1922 to attend medical college.
|In tracing the history of Chito-ryu, we must also look into the historical
influences that shaped Chitose Sensei's martial arts experiences and impacted
our art of today. The old karate and martial arts teachers were responsible
for influencing future generations of karate practitioners with the ideas
they developed during their lifetimes. Some of these ideas were passed
to Doctor Chitose and aided him in his creation of Chito-ryu.
Chitose Sensei's mother's grandfather was a very famous karate master. His name was Sokon (Bushi) Matsumura (1797-1889). Matsumura Sensei was considered one of the great karate (Tode) figures of the nineteenth century. Matsumura Sensei started his karate training when he was thirteen years old. His father, Sofuku Matsumura, took him to see a seventy eight year old karate teacher named Tode (Karate) Sakugawa. Sakugawa Sensei (1733-1815) was born in Akata Cho, a small section of the city of Shuri, Okinawa. When Sakugawa was a young man he had been a student of Takahara Peichin (1683 - 1760). He had also studied for six years (1756 to 1762) with a Chinese military envoy (Kusanku). It is from this part of our history that we get the kata - Seisan, Niseishi, Sochin, Sakugawa No Kon Sho, and Kusanku. Years later Bushi Matsumura had an opportunity to train with a Chinese trader named Chinto. When Chinto returned to China, Matsumura Sensei developed a kata from the many movements he had learned and named it Chinto in his teacher's honor. This kata is presently required for Sho-Dan (1st degree black belt) by the U. S. Chito-ryu Karate Federation.
In 1886 Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo, established the kyu/dan belt system. In 1907 he designed the Judo uniform from which the karate uniform is taken, except that the karate jacket is much lighter in weight.
In 1895 the Japanese government created the Dai Nippon Butokukai to oversee the martial arts, and provided two titles - Hanshi, the highest award, and Kyoshi. In 1934 the Dai Nippon Butokukai created a third title, Renshi, which was below that of Kyoshi. On April 12, 1924 Gichin Funakoshi became the first karate teacher to award black belts when he adopted Jigoro Kano's practice of awarding this rank to advanced students. Experiments in kumite training were initiated between 1924 and 1927 at Tokyo University. By 1927 these students were practicing tournament type sparring. All these elements played major roles in the development of Chito-ryu.
Chitose Sensei started his Tode (karate) training when he was seven years old (1905). His first teacher was a sixty year old man by the name of Unchu (Nigaki) Kamade Arakaki (1840-1920). Arakaki Sensei taught the young Chitose his first kata - Seisan.The method of teaching karate in those days was to teach kata. The practice of basics and kumite, which is common today, was unknown. In the olden days many karate teachers refused to have or claim a style. They said that they just taught karate (Tode), style or ryu was never an issue. For years the young Chitose practiced the one kata, Seisan. Only after he reached the age of fourteen did Arakaki Sensei teach him his second kata.
When young Tsuyoshi Chitose entered high school he had the opportunity of further training with Sensei Anko Itosu (1832-1916). Itosu was born in Yamagawa Village, Shuri, and was a student of Sokon Matsumura. It is believed Itosu Sensei developed the Chinese corkscrew punch into its present form, and also originated the Pinan (Heian) kata. In April, 1901, Itosu Sensei introduced karate training to the Shuri Jinjo Elementary School as part of the physical fitness training. During 1905 he introduced karate training into the Prefectural Teachers Training College. Three years later, under his guidance, karate training was introduced into all Okinawan schools.
One of Chitose Sensei's young school friends was Shoshin Nagamine, who would one day found the Matsubayashi Shorin-ryu style of karate, and become president of the Okinawan Karate Federation. One of their school teachers, later recognized as the greatest karate master of the twentieth century, was Gichin Funakoshi (1868-1957), the father of modern karate and founder of Shotokan.
Another of Chitose Sensei's classmates was Funakoshi Sensei's son, Gikko (Yoshitaka) Funakoshi.
Other kata taught to Doctor Chitose were: Shihohai, Niseishi and Sanchin from Arakaki Sensei; Chinto, Bassai, and Kusanku from Chotoku Kiyan Sensei (1870-1945); Ryusan from Chiyomu Hanagusuku; and Rohai from Kauryo Higashionna (1851-1915). Also training there at this time with Higashionna Sensei were Mr. Chojun (Miyagi) Miyagusuku (1888-1953) founder of Goju Ryu karate and Mr. Kenwa Mabuni (1888-1953) the founder of Shito-ryu karate.
From 1922-1932 Chitose Sensei went to college, practiced karate in his spare time,and assisted his old school teacher Gichin Funakoshi with his college karate classes. In 1931 Chitose Sensei assisted a new student at the Takushoku University karate club. His name was Masatoshi Nakayama (1913-1986), who would one day be the head instructor of the Japan Karate Association (Shotokan). During this time Dr. Chitose also established his medical practice. During the war he served in the Army Medical Corps and spent some time in China. While serving in a small village in China Dr. Chitose befriended the local citizens. As a result of his assistance to the local population, he came into contact and was trained by an old Chinese Gung-fu teacher.
In 1936 O-Sensei was present at a meeting of Okinawan karate authorities in Naha, Okinawa. This was the meeting in which the translation "Empty Hand Way" was actually adopted for Karate-do in place of the original todejutsu or "Chinese Hand Method".
In March 1946 Doctor Chitose opened a small karate dojo Yoseikan (training hall) in Machi, Kirkuchi-Gun, Kumamoto Prefecture (presently called Kirkuchi City). He later held an Okinawan Kobudo Taikai (Tournament) at the Kubukiza in Kumamoto City to help raise relief funds for Okinawa. In 1948, O-Sensei organized the All Japan Karate-do Federation (Zen Nihon Karate-do Renmei) along with Gichin Funakoshi, Mabuni, Higa Seko, and Toyama Kanken and served as president for some time. It was around this time that O-Sensei named his style Chito-ryu. Although it may seem obvious that "Chito" is a derivation of Chitose, this in fact is not the case. "Chi" is derived from "thousand" and "to" is from the Chinese "Tang", hence the translation of Chito-ryu is "The thousand year old Chinese (Tang dynasty) way", signifying the ultimate origin of Karate as being from China during the Tang era roughly one thousand years ago.
At this time the practice of most martial arts (kendo, judo and others associated with the nation of Japan) had been forbidden by the allied powers under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. Karate was considered an Okinawan art form and was not subject to the close scrutiny given to Kendo and Judo. Nevertheless, Doctor Chitose and other martial arts teachers were very secretive in the teaching of their respective arts. Much of the martial arts training was camouflaged as physical fitness exercises and dances. In most instances the occupying powers just looked the other way. This was the existing political climate when Masami Tsuruoka received his first degree black belt in karate from Doctor Tsuyoshi Chitose. The year was 1949.
|Masatoshi Nakayama (中山 正敏),Father of modern sports karate
Nakayama Masatoshi April 13, 1913 – April 15, 1987) was an internationally-renowned Japanese master of Shotokan karate. He helped establish the Japan Karate Association (JKA) in 1949, and wrote many textbooks on karate, which served to popularize his martial art. For almost 40 years, until his death in 1987, Nakayama worked to spread Shotokan karate around the world. He was the first master in Shotokan history to attain the rank of 9th dan while alive,
|and was posthumously awarded the rank of 10th dan Nakayama was born on April 13, 1913, in the Yamaguchi prefecture of Japan. He was descended from the Sanada clan, who were known as kenjutsu instructors, from the Nagano region. Nakayama's grandfather was Naomichi Nakayama, a surgeon in Tokyo, who had also been the last of the family to teach kenjutsu. Nakayama's father was Naomichi Nakayama, an army physician and a judoka (practitioner of judo). His father was assigned to Taipei, so Nakayama spent some of his formative years there. Apart from his academic studies, he participated in kendo, skiing, swimming, tennis, and track running
Nakayama entered Takushoku University in 1932 to study Chinese language, and began learning karate under Gichin Funakoshi and his son Yoshitaka (also known as Gigō). He had originally planned to train in kendo, but misread the schedule and arrived at karate training instead—and, interested by what he saw, ended up joining that martial art group. Nakayama graduated from Takushoku University in 1937. That same year, he travelled to China as an interpreter during the Japanese occupation of China. By the time World War II began, Nakayama had attained the rank of 2nd dan. Nakayama returned to Japan in May 1946, after the war.
In May 1949, Nakayama, Isao Obata, and other colleagues helped establish the Japan Karate Association (JKA). Funakoshi was the formal head of the organization, with Nakayama appointed as Chief Instructor. By 1951, Nakayama had been promoted to 3rd dan, and he held the rank of 5th dan by 1955. In 1956, working with Teruyuki Okazaki, he restructured the Shotokan karate training program to follow both traditional karate and methods developed in modern sports sciences. In 1961, Nakayama was promoted to 8th dan—a remarkable progression, in part made possible by the consensus-based system of higher dan promotion in Japan at the time, according to Pat Zalewski. Nakayama established kata (patterns) and kumite (sparring) as tournament disciplines. Students of the large JKA dojo (training halls) subsequently achieved an unmatched series of tournament successes in the 1950s and 1960s.Nakayama is widely known for having worked to spread Shotokan karate throughout the world. Together with Funakoshi and other senior instructors, he formed the JKA instructor trainee program. Many of this program's graduates were sent throughout the world to form new Shotokan subgroups and increase membership. Nakayama also held positions in the Physical Education department of Takushoku University, beginning in 1952, and eventually becoming head of that department. He also headed the ski team at the university.
In 1972, Nakayama, with some help from one of his students, Hirokazu Kanazawa, set up a personal dojo in the basement of his apartment building, naming it "Hoitsugan." This dojo is located in Ebisu, Tokyo, a short distance from where the JKA honbu (headquarters) dojo was located. Karate students from outside Japan lived in the dormitory rooms and trained in this dojo from the early 1970s.
After rapid promotion through the ranks in the 1950s, Nakayama still held the rank of 8th dan in 1974. He was promoted to 9th dan in the 1980s, becoming the first Shotokan master to be awarded this rank while still living. Nakayama continued teaching Shotokan karate until his death on April 15, 1987, in Tokyo, Japan
All sources agree that Nakayama was born in April 1913 and died in April 1987. Most state that he was born on April 13 and died on April 15, but some give his birth date as April 6 or April 15, and some give his death date as April 14.
Important Okinawan Masters of Shuri-te
Motobu Choyu (本部朝勇)
Motobu Choyo (1857-1928) was an Okinawan karate master and elder brother of karateka Motobu Choki.
Motobu Choyu was born in Akahira village in Shuri, Okinawa. His father, Anji (Lord) Motobu Choshin was a descendent of Prince Sho Koshin (1655-1687), the sixth son of Okinawan King Sho Shitsu (1629-1668).Choyu first learned the art of Te (the precursor to modern karate), which was passed down within the Sho royal family from father to eldest son. He then studied Shuri-te karate and koryu ("old school") Japanese martial arts under the legendary karateka Matsumura Sokon.He later combined all these arts he had learned to create the Motobu-ryu style of karate. In his final years, he was the
headmartial arts instructor to the last king of the Ryukyu Kingdom, Sho Tai (1848-1879), succeeding Matsumura in
that position.Matsumora Kosaku(1829 - 1898) was an Okinawan karate master. He studied Tomari-te under Karyu Uku (aka Giko Uku) and Kishin Teruya. He also studied Jigen-ryu. Among Matsumora's students, who went on to influence new generations through students of their own, were Choki Motobu and Chotoku Kyan.
Kentsu Yabu （屋部 憲通）
Kentsu Yabu (Yabu Kentsu was a prominent teacher of Shorin-ryu karate in Okinawa from the 1910s
until the 1930s, and was among the first people to demonstrate karate in
Hawaii. September 23, 1866 - August 27, 1937)
Yabu was born in Shuri, Okinawa, on September 23, 1866. He was the oldest son of Yabu Kenten and Shun Morinaga. He had three brothers, three sisters, and three half-sisters. On March 19, 1886, he married Takahara Oto (1868-1940).
As a young man, Yabu received training in Shorin-ryu karate. His teachers
included both Matsumura Sokon and Itosu Anko Yabu joined the Japanese Army
in 1891. He served in Manchuria during the First Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895.
He received promotion to lieutenant, but to subsequent students, he was
often known as gunso, or sergeant.
Following separation from the service, Yabu studied at Shuri's Prefectural Teacher's Training College, and in 1902, he became a teacher at Shuri's Prefectural School Number One.
In 1908, Yabu's oldest son, Kenden, went to Hawaii. In 1912, Kenden went to California. In the USA, Kenden Yabu became known as Kenden Yabe, after a method of transliteration then being used on Japanese passports.
In 1919, Kenden Yabe married, and in 1921, his wife became pregnant. Yabu Kentsu immediately went to California to visit his son (and, hopefully, grandson). However, Kenden Yabe and his wife only had daughters. Thus, Yabu Kentsu went back to Okinawa disappointed.
Yabu visited the United States twice, once during 1921-1922, and again in 1927. During the second visit, he returned to Okinawa via Hawaii. He spent about nine months in the Territory. He spent most of his time on Oahu, but he also visited other islands. In Honolulu, he gave two public demonstrations of karate at the Nuuanu YMCA..
In 1936, Yabu visited Tokyo. While there, he visited the young Shoshin Nagamine, who later became another well-known karate teacher. Yabu died at Shuri, Okinawa, on August 27, 1937.
As a former soldier, Yabu has been credited with helping make Okinawan
karate training more militaristic. That is, students were expected to line
up in rows, and respond by the numbers. If so, this was probably part of
the general militarization of Japanese athletics common during the early
20th century. However, there is no doubt that his methods involved much
His favorite kata reportedly included Gojushiho and naihanchi
Chotoku Kyan (喜屋武 朝徳)Chotoku Kyan (Kyan Chotoku) born December 1870 in Shuri, Okinawa - September 20, 1945 in Ishikawa, Okinawa) was an Okinawan karate master who was famous for both his karate skills, and his colorful personal life. Chotoku Kyan (also spelled Chotoku Kiyan) was a large influence in the styles of karate that would become Shorin-Ryu and its related styles.
Chotoku Kyan was born as the first son of Chofu Kyan who was a steward to the Ryukyuan King before the realm's official assimilation into Japan as the Okinawan Prefecture. Kyan was noted for being small in stature, suffering from asthma and frequently bed-ridden. He also had poor eyesight, which may have led to his early nickname Chan Migwa (squinty-eyed Chan)
Kyan's father is noted as possibly having a background in karate and even teaching Kyan tegumi in his early years. When Kyan was 20 years old, he began his karate training under Kosaku Matsumora and Kokan Oyadomari
While at 30 years of age, he was considered a master of the karate styles known as Shuri-te and Tomari-te .The most long time student of Kyan was Zenryo Shimabukuro, who studied with Kyan for over 10 years. Kyan is also noted for encouraging his students to visit brothels and to engage in alcohol consumption at various times.
Kyan was a participant in the 1936 meeting of Okinawan masters, where the term "karate" was standardized, and other far-reaching decisions were made regarding martial arts of the island at the time.Kyan survived the Battle of Okinawa in
1945, but died from fatigue and
malnutrition in September of that year
Choshin Chibana(知花 朝信)
Choshin Chibana (Chibana Choshin 1885 - 1969) was an Okinawan martial artist who developed Shorin-ryu karate based on what he had learned from Anko Itosu.
Chibana was the last of the pre-World War karate masters, also called the
"Last Warrior of Shuri" He was the first to establish a Japanese
ryu name for an Okinawan karate style, calling Itosu's karate "Shorin-Ryu"
(or "the small forest style") in 1928
Chibana Choshin was born June 5, 1885, into a distinguished family in Okinawa's Shuri Tori-Hori village (presently Naha City, Shuri Tori-Hori Town). His family traced their lineage from a branch of the Katsuren Court and Choharu, Prince of Kochinta, fifth son of King Shoshitsu (Tei), but lost their titles and status after Mutsuhito, the Meiji Emperor, banned the caste system in Japan. To support themselves, the family turned to sake brewing.
Choshin began his study of martial arts under Anko Itosu in 1889 when he
was about fifteen years old. He applied and was accepted as a suitable
candidate for instruction, and for thirteen years until he turned 28, Choshin
trained under Itosu. When Itosu died at the age of 85, he continued to
practice alone for five years, and then opened his first dojo in Tori-hori
district at the age of 34. He later opened a second dojo in Kumojo district
of Naha City.
During the World War II Battle of Okinawa, Chibana lost his family, his livlihood, his dojo, a number of students, and nearly his life. He fled the war, but afterward returned to Shuri from Chinen Village and began teaching again. He first taught in the Gibo area, and then at ten other sites in the Yamakawa district of Shuri and Naha, eventually relocating his main headquarters (hombu dojo) from Asato to Mihara.From February 1954 to December 1958, Chibana served as Karate Advisor and Senior Instructor for the Shuri Police Precinct. In May of 1956, the Okinawa Karate Federation was formed and he assumed office as its first President. Chibana was associated with Chotoku Kyan, with whom he performed karate demonstrations to promote Shorin-Ryu style of karate.By 1957, Chibana had received the title of Hanshi (High Master) from the Dai Nippon Butokukai (The Greater Japan Martial Virtue Association). In 1960, he received the First Sports Award from the Okinawa Times Newspaper for his overall accomplishments in the study and practice of traditional Okinawan Karate-do. On April 29, 1968, was awarded the 4th Order of Merit by the Emperor of Japan in recognition of his devotion to the study and practice of Okinawan karate-do
In 1964, Chibana learned that he had terminal throat cancer, but he continued to teach students in his dojo. In 1966 he was admitted into Tokyo's Cancer Research Center for radiation treatment and after some improvement, Chibana once again resumed teaching with the assistance of his grandson, Nakazato Akira (Shorin-ryu 7-Dan).
By the end of 1968, Chibana-sensei's condition worsened and he returned to Ohama Hospital and died at 6:40 a.m. on the 26 February 1969, at the age of 83
Kanken Toyama( 遠山寛賢)Kanken Toyama (Toyama Kanken, 24 September 1888 – 24 November 1966) was a Japanese schoolteacher and karate master, who developed the foundation for the Shudokan karate style. Born into a noble family in Shuri, Okinawa, Japan, he was given the name Oyadameri Kanken.
He trained under: Itosu Anko and Itarashiki primarily, and under Ankichi Aragaki, Azato Anko, Choshin Chibana, Oshiro, Tana, Yabu Kentsu, Yasutsune Itosu and Kanryo Higashionna.Nine years old, he began his karate (Shuri-te) training under Anko Itosu, and remained a student there until Itosu died in 1915. He also studied Naha-te under Kanryo Higaonna and Tomari-te under Ankichi Aragaki.In 1924 Toyama moved his family to Taiwan where he taught in an elementary school and studied Chinese Ch'uan Fa, which included Taku, Makaitan, Rutaobai, and Ubo. Given this diverse martial arts background, the Japanese government soon recognized Toyama's prowess, and awarded him the right to promote to any rank in any style of Okinawan karate. An official gave Toyama the title of master instructor.
In early 1930 he returned to Japan and on March 20, 1930, he opened his first dojo in Tokyo. He named his dojo Shu Do Kan meaning "the hall for the study of the karate way." Toyama taught what he had learnt from Itosu and the Ch'uan Fa and did not claim to have originated a new style of karate. In 1946, Toyama founded the All Japan Karate-Do Federation (AJKF) with the intention of unifying the various forms of karate of Japan and Okinawa under one governing organization.
The individuals listed below are Shudokan pupils of Toyama. The translated
partial list includes the karate-do shihan and hanshi title license and
high degree rank (fifth dan to eighth dan). The symbol indicates persons
and organizations that did not train directly with Toyama, but were confirmed
as members with the responsibilities of the shihan title and high degree
rank. The symbol indicate partial or missing translations.
Eizo Shimabukuro (b.1925) is a younger brother of Tatsuo's who also excelled
in martial arts. Eizo studied under his elder brother, Tatsuo, and is said
to have also studied under the same masters as Tatsuo, such as Chotoku
Kyan, Choki Motobu, Chojun Miyagi, and Shinken Taira.
While the older brother went on to create his own new style of karate,
Eizo quickly moved up the ranks in Shorin-ryu (Shobayashi).
By the time Shimabuku was a teenager, he had obtained the physical level of a person six years his senior. His physical condition was due to his karate training as well as his working on the family farm. He excelled in athletic events on the island. By the time he was 17, he was consistently winning in two of his favorite events, the javelin throw and high jump.
Around the age of 23, because of Shimabuku's desire to further his knowledge, he began to study Shuri-te, which later became known as Shorin-ryu (Shao-lin Style) under Chotoku Kyan in the village of Kadena. He began his training with Kyan in 1932. Kyan taught Shimabuku at his home. Kyan also taught at the Okinawa Prefectural Agricultural School. Within a short time, he became one of Kyan's best students and, under Kyan's instruction, learned the katas: Seisan, Naihanchi, Wansu, Chinto and Kusanku along with the weapons kata Tokumine-no-kun and basic Sai. He also began his study of "Ki" or Chinkuchi in Okinawan dialect) for which Kyan was most noted. Shimabuku studied with Kyan until 1936. He always considered Kyan his first formal Sensei and was very loyal to him.
Shimabuku had always been fascinated by Naha-te (Goju Ryu) and sought out Chojun Miyagi, the founder of Goju Ryu. Miyagi's teacher was Higaonna Kanryo (also called Higashionna) who brought a derivative of Kenpo kin gai is the name of this system. pangai noon is the forerunner of Uechi-ryu) from China to Okinawa. Eventually this became Naha-te. From Miyagi, Tatsuo learned the kata Seiunchin ("Seize-Control-Fight") and Sanchin ("Three-Fights/Conflicts").
After his studies with Miyagi, in 1938, Shimabuku sought out another famous Shorin-Ryu instructor, Choki Motobu. Choki Motobu was probably the most colorful of all of Shimabuku's instructors. Motobu had many teachers for short periods of time, including some notables such as Anko Itosu (Shuri-te) and Kosaku Matsumora (Tomari-te). Motobu was known for getting into street fights often in his youth to promote the effectiveness of karate. Shimabuku studied with Motobu for approximately one year.
Shimabuku opened his first dojo in 1946 after the war in the village of Konbu, near Tengan village.Coming from a farming family, Shimabuku had always been poor, yet he was very innovative and opportunistic. He had a natural talent in adapting things to work for him. As a young man, he discovered a way to bind tile to the roofs of homes in Chun Village without using mud, which had been the traditional way. Prior to World War II, he saw an opportunity and started a small business. Purchasing several horses and carts, he received a contract to help in the construction of Japanese airfield in Kadena. He was doing quite well until the Allied invasion of Okinawa began. During one of the bombing raids by Allied forces, his business was destroyed.
Shimabuku continued to study and develop his skills in both styles, but he was not satisfied that either style held the completeness he felt a style should have. His interest in ancient weapons (Kobudo) continued to grow and he sought out the most renowned weapons instructors on the island for at the time he only knew bo (staff) kata, Tokumine no Kun and basic sai techniques he learned from Chotoku Kyan. In a short time, he became a master in such weapons as the Bo and Sai. (During the late 1950s and early 1960s, he continued his study of Kobudo with one of Moden Yabiku’s top students, Shinken Taira. This training took place in Shimabuku’s dojo in Agena.) He learned Hama Higa no Tuifa, Shishi no Kun, Chatan Yara no Sai, and Urashi Bo. Shimabuku created Kyan Chotoku sai and Kusanku sai using sai techniques he learned from Chotoku Kyan. To honor Chotoku Kyan, he named his first sai kata after him.
It was during the late 1940s that Shimabuku began experimenting with different basic techniques and Kata from the Shorin-Ryu and Goju-Ryu systems as well as Kobudo. He comes to experimenting with his own ideas. He called the style he was teaching Chan-migwha-te after Chotoku Kyan nickname Chan-migwa. Kyan’s nickname was “Chan-migwa”, meaning “small-eyed-Chan." "Chan" in the Okinawa dialect “Uchinaguchi” is “Kyan.In Uchinaguchi “mi means “eye." The suffix “Gwa” or “Guwa” mean's “small.” So Chan-migwa means “Small eye Chan (Kyan).” Chan migwa-te was the style taught until he renamed his style "Isshin-ryū" on January 15, 1956.By the early 1950s Shimabuku was refining his karate teaching combining what he felt was the best of the Shorin-Ryu and Goju-Ryu styles, the weapons forms he had studied, and incorporating his own techniques. As his experimentation continued, his adaptation of techniques and katas were not widely publicized. He consulted with several of the masters on Okinawa concerning his wish to develop a new style. Because he was highly respected as a karate Master, he received their blessings. (These would later be rescinded due to the many radical changes made in traditional Okinawan karate.)
One night in 1955, Mr. Shimabuku fell asleep and dreamed of a goddess riding a dragon. The goddess was Kannon the Buddhist Goddess of mercy and compassion.
Three Stars appeared symbolizing the three styles Isshin-ryu derived from, Goju-Ryu, Shorin-Ryu, and Kobudo. The stars can also represent the Physical, Mental, and Spiritual strength needed for Isshin-ryu. The gray evening sky symbolized serenity and implies that karate is to be used only for self-defense.
The next morning when Shimabuku awoke, he felt that his dream had been a divine revelation. He met with his top student, Eiko Kaneshi, and told him of his dream and his desire to break away from Okinawan tradition and start a new style of karate. The day was January 15, 1956. Upon announcing his decision to start a new style, many of his Okinawan students left, including his brother Eizo.
The new system was not initially given a name, and in fact, went through 2 name modifications before Isshin-ryu was finally adopted. However, the official start of Isshinryu karate is January 15, 1956. The Isshin-ryu Megami was drawn from Shimabuku’s description by Shosu Nakamine, Eiko Kaneshi’s uncle, and was chosen to be the symbol for Isshin-ryu karate.
During his karate career, Shimabuku changed to his name “Tatsuo,” meaning “Dragon Man.” Whenever asked about this change, Shimabuku would reply that “Tatsuo” was his professional karate name. He also was given the nickname, “Sunsu”, by the mayor of Kyan (Chan) Village. Sunsu was a name of a dance that was created by Shimabuku's grandfather.