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HISTORY

 
 

 

 

Karate-Do Wado-Kai History

Hironori Ohtsuka 10th Dan Meijin (1892 - 1982) was the founder of Wado-ryu Karate. - Hironori Ohtsuka was born in Shimodate City, Ibiragi, Japan on the 1st June 1892 and was the first son of Tokujiro-Ohtsuka. He started training under Chojiro-Ebashi, an uncle of his mother in April 1897 at the age of four and continued at Waseda University in Tokyo.

In 1905 Sensei Ohtsuka entered the Shimozuma middle school, where he started Shindo-Yoshin-ryu Ju-jitsu under master Tatsusaburo-Nakayama.

From 1910 Sensei Ohtsuka studied commerce at Waseda University. In1917 he started work at the Kawasaki bank, at this time he was learning numerous styles of Ju-jitsu and it was at this time that he met Ohtsuka Sensei met Morihei-Ueshiba the founder of Akibo. In May 1919 he became a master of the 'bone-setting technique'. On the 1st of July 1921 he received his Shindo-Yoshin-ryu Ju-jitsu licence from Tatsusaburo-Nakayama, and so became the Highest Authority.

He started his Karate training with the famous Gichin-Funikoshi in July 1922, learning a style known as Karate-jitsu. Sensei Ohtsuka met Funikoshi Sensei during a martial-arts demonstration at the Sports Festival organised by the Japanese Educational Department. Sensei Funikoshi agreed to teach Sensei Ohtsuka all he knew about Okinawan Karate-jitsu, the lessons started that same day. Within one year Sensei Ohtsuka had studied all the Kata within the style. Ohtsuka Sensei could see the 'shortfall' in a Kata-only style, it was explained to him that all of the concepts of 'Budo' were within the Kata, and that was the only aspect to train. In 1924 Sensei Ohtsuka introduced Yakusoku-gumite to the system, this concept of 'pair-work' revolutionised Karate-jitsu. He also developed Idori-no-kata, Tachiai-no-kata, and Shirahatori-no-kata. In 1928 he was 'Shindo-Yoshin-ryu-Shihan', the Chief Instructor of his Shindo-Yoshin-ryu. He also set up a 'bone-setting' practice at this time.

In 1929 he registered with the 'Nippon-Kobudo-Shinko-Kai', the Japanese Martial-arts Federation. In 1934 Sensei Ohtsuka was recognised as an independent style and he started teaching full-time. Because of his dedication to Karate he had to close his 'bone-setting' business. In 1938 Sensei Ohtsuka registered his new style as Shin-Shu-Wado-ryu. In 1939 all Karate styles were asked to register their systems with the 'Dai-Nippon-Butoku-Kai', Sensei Ohtsuka named his style Wado-ryu. Other styles registered were; Goju-ryu, Shito-ryu, and Shoto-ryu (Shotokan-ryu). On 5 May 1940 an 'All Styles Karate Demonstration' took place at Butoku-Den in Kyoto. All the major styles took part, these included; Goju-ryu, Keishi-Kempo, Nippon-Kempo-ryu, Shito-ryu, Shoto-ryu, and Wado-ryu. In 1944 Sensei Ohtsuka was promoted to Chief Instructor of all Karate under the Dai-Nippon-Butoku-kai.  All martial-arts were disbanded by the Americans at the end of the Second World War.

In 1951 martial-arts were reinstated after the signing of the American peace treaty with Japan. In 1955 the first Karate tournament took place, organised by Sensei Ohtsuka, it was called the 'First All Japan Wado-ryu Karate Championships'. In 1964 'The All Japan Karate-do Federation' (JKF) was established. This same year Sensei Tatsuo-Suzuki, Sensei Toru-Awakawa, and Sensei Hajime-Takashima introduced Wado-ryu to Great Britain, Europe, and the USA.

In 1966 Sensei Ohtsuka was awarded 'Kun-Goto-Soukuo-Kyo-Kuju-jitsu-Sho' (similar to the OBE in Great Britain) from Emperor Hirohito for his dedication to Karate. In 1972 he was awarded the title of Meijin from Higashino-Kunino-Miya (a member of the Japanese royal family) President of the International Martial-arts Federation the 'Kokusai-Budo-Renmei'. Sensei Ohtsuka was the first man in history to receive this high honour in Martial-arts. For his services to Martial-arts, and to honour his new position as the highest Karate Authority in Japan he was awarded the Shiju-Hoosho medal from the Japanese Government, the only man in the history of Karate to be honoured.

On the 29th of January 1982 Ohtsuka-Hironori Meijin died at the age 89, he had practised martial-arts for 85 years. "Buno-michi-wa Tada-aragoto-na-to-omohiso Wa-no-michi-kiwa-me Wa-o-motomu-michi; The way to practise martial-arts is not for fighting. Always look for your own inner peace and harmony, search for it." Ohtsuka-Hironori.

'Harmony/Peace way school' Wado Ryu is a style of Karate developed by Ohtsuka-Hironori 10th Dan Meijin (1892 - 1982). Wado-ryu Karate is a mix of Ju-jitsu and Shuri-te Karate and was recognised as an independent style in 1934. Wado-ryu is reputed to be one of the fastest forms of Karate in the world, emphasis includes the fundamental principles and concepts of 'Nagashi and Irimi'. The founder was responsible for introducing pair-work routines to Karate. Wado-ryu was also the first style of Karate to practise Jiyu-gumite as part of the training. There are estimated to be over 350,000 Wado-ryu members practising in Europe alone.

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