Karate 1.0: Parameter of an Ancient Martial Art

One of the most comprehensive, and demystifying studies on the enigmatic parameters of primordial Karate, this work intrigues readers with rich detail and insights into this ancient combat traditions, the pride of Okinawa.

KARATE 1.0: Parameter of an Ancient Martial Art. Düsseldorf 2013, by Andreas Quast.

cover (4)

Karate 1.0 front cover

  • Pages: xxvii, 502 pp.
  • Language: English.
  • Hardcover binding in green linen material with gold foil stamping, size 8.25″ x 10.75″ (20.95cm x 27.31cm).
  • Full-color dust jacket in matte finish.
  • Inside: black and white printing on cream archival paper (60# weight). White exterior paper (80# weight).
  • Forewords by Patrick McCarthy, Miguel Da Luz, Cezar Borkowski, Jesse Enkamp, Dr. Julian Braun, Soke Leif Hermansson, and Dr. phil. Heiko Bittmann.
  • All copies ship from the United States.
  • Price: $75.00.

Only the highest quality both in content and production: get it now from Lulu.com!

Read the review by the experts:

Okinawa was formerly known as the Ryūkyū Kingdom. This island kingdom was situated between China and Japan, the two giants in the ancient Asian world order. Involved for centuries in maritime trade, tribute, diplomacy and war, it became variously known as the peaceful kingdom, the islands of longevity, and the land of propriety. Over the course of five centuries, within its encapsulated maritime sphere, unique forms of martial traditions emerged. Today these are known as Karate and Kobudō, the pride of the Okinawans, and world martial arts enjoyed by millions of people around the globe.

Karate 1.0 was also covered in the Okinawa Karate News 沖縄空手通信, No. 91, 2014/01 issue.

The university libraries of Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich as well as of the world’s largest sports university - the German Sport University Cologne – added copies of Karate 1.0 to their inventory.

Yet, factual details about the history of these martial traditions largely remained shrouded in mystery to this day. As the result of the author’s exclusive and trailblazing research, which started two decades ago with a white belt at a friend’s dōjō, KARATE 1.0 now bears witness to the myriad headwaters of modern day Karate and Kobudō.

This masterpiece represents the results of nearly twenty years the author has invested in demystifying the convoluted genealogy of Karate. By conducting interviews around the globe and sifting through mountains of primary and secondary research, he puts the fighting arts and related-persons into a new historical perspective.

Karate 1.0 sold worldwide to Okinawa, Japan, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, Ireland, the UK, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Austria, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, and Spain.

The central theme of this work is the search for causal triggers of a holistic system of unarmed and armed martial traditions. By analysing the origin and transformation of the military and security organization of the Ryūkyū Kingdom, the author identified the superordinate security related royal government organizations and functions responsible. In addition he detected hundreds of martial artists active during Okinawa’s old kingdom era who otherwise would have remained unnoticed in Karate research and oral tradition.

In this way describing the enigmatic parameters of the Ryūkyū Kingdom’s ancient fighting arts, or KARATE 1.0, a common historical basis of the countless fragmentary traditions of modern Karate and Kobudō was discovered.

KARATE 1.0: Parameter of an Ancient Martial Art” should be embraced by the international Budō community and enjoy the recognition and success it so richly deserves.

Cover Art:

The sword hilt on the front cover is a scetch of the Chōganemaru sword. It once belonged to the mysterious King of Nakijin, Han’anchi. He was defeated by Shō Hashi, who took the sword. Afterwards it had been handed down within the royal Shō family of Ryūkyu for six centuries. On the cover it is meant as a symbol of royal authority rather than a weapon.

Did you know: Karate 1.0 for the first time includes ALL accepted written historical sources on Karate and Kobudō related martial arts of the kingdom.

It is also emblematic for the foreign influences. And it stands for the “Ryukyu Nutshell” in which the martial arts emerged, developed, and countinuously were updated. The “Ryukyu Nutshell” is the idea that the royal government of Ryūkyu basically remained in a constant form since the era of Shō Shin, although adjustments were taken over the centuries.

Karate 1.0 back cover

Karate 1.0 back cover

On the back cover is an artistic drawing of the character , i.e. the moral principle of justice, duty, and truth as the very basis of a martial “path”. Added to it is the caption “Go! Go! Go! Go!”. This is an allusion to the fact that the path should be proactively walked. BTW, is not the aim, but kokoro is. 

Finally, on the cover flips are found the characters Bun and Bu, that is scholarship and the art of war, which are considered to have existed in unitas. The reason for this is that in feudal times civil and military questions were deeply associated. This can be seen in the Sappōshi missions from China to Ryūkyū. It can also be seen in the era of Satsuma control. And it was also manifest in the government organization of the Ryūkyū Kingdom.

Expert ratings:

“KARATE 1.0 will compel you to rethink what is currently known about the historical and cultural background for the art that brings us all together … KARATE 1.0 is destined to become a future classic and a MUST for the bookshelves of every serious Karate-ka. I am SO EXCITED about this project and hope you will be, too.” - Patrick McCarthy, Hanshi 9th Dan, Australia

“This masterpiece represent the results of the author’s nearly twenty years of studies on the history of karate and is a fantastic source of information with its encyclopedic-like details about not only karate, but Ryukyuan history and culture.” - Miguel Da Luz, Okinawa Traditional Karate Liaison Bureau

“Andreas Quast has penned what I humbly believe will become the definitive book on Ryukyuan history and its parallel effect on the fighting traditions of the Nantou Islands.” - Cezar Borkowski, Hanshi 9th Dan, Canada

“When it comes to exploring the ancient martial arts of the Ryukyus, few people have the zealousness and grit of Andreas Quast.” - Jesse Enkamp, Karatepreneur, Sweden

“Andreas Quast’s contribution on the history of martial arts on the Ryukyu Islands is even more delightful.” - Dr. Julian Braun, Germany

“I have always been impressed with Mr Quast’s vast knowledge, acquired in many years of research, about the history of Karate and Kobudo.” - Soke Leif Hermansson, 10th Dan Hanshi, Sweden

“The book not only sheds more light on the history of the art, but also serves as a must-read for any martial arts enthusiast who wishes to acquire a deeper understanding of the origins, and the development, of Karatedo.” - Dr. phil. Heiko Bittmann, Kanazawa, Japan

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” ― Søren Kierkegaard 

Karate 1.0 cover flip 1

Karate 1.0 cover flip 2


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Uechi Kanei: Seisetsu Okinawa Karate-do: Sono Rekishi to Giho, 1977

Book presentation:

Uechi Kanei: Seisetsu Okinawa Karate-dō: Sono Rekishi to Gihō. Uechi-ryū Karate-dō Kyōkai, Ginowan 1977. Appendix: 1 leaflet: Okinawa Karate-dō Kobudō no Soshiki Keitōzu. Editor-in-chef: Uechi Kanei. Chief editor: Takamiyagi Shigeru. Compilers and authors: Uechi Kanei, Takamiyagi Shigeru, Nakamatsu Ken, Tōbaru Keichō, Yonamine Kōsuke.

AKA The Uechi-ryu Bible


The contents are as follows:

Photos, introductions, forewords

Contents pages

First Collection: The Kata of Karate (by Nakamatsu Ken)

Chapter I: The Kata Sanchin

  • Overview on Sanchin
  • Sanchin and it’s method of body training
  • The breathing method
  • The order of sequences of Sanchin
  • On Wa-uke und Morote-boshiken-tsuki
  • Discussion of Sanchin
  • Is „Kata“ „Kata型“ or „形“?

Chapter II: The Kata Kanshiwa

  • Understanding Kanshiwa
  • The order of sequences of Kanshiwa
  • Bunkai analysis of Kanshiwa

Chapter III: The Kata Sēsan

  • Understanding Sēsan
  • The order of sequences of Sēsan
  • Bunkai analysis of Sēsan

uechi-ryuChapter IV: The Kata Sansēryū

  • Understanding Sansēryū
  • The order of sequences of Sansēryū

Chapter V: Yakusoku-kumite Nr. 1

  • Understanding Yakusoku-kumite Nr. 1
  • The order of sequences of Yakusoku-kumite Nr. 1

Second Collection: Theory and practice methods of basic technology of the basic techniques (by Tōbaru Keichō)

Chapter I: Tsuki-waza and Uchi-waza

  •  Seiken-zuki
  •  Shōken-zuki
  •  Hiraken-zuki
  •  Uraken-zuki
  •  Tettsui-uchi
  •  Boshiken-zuki
  •  Hiji-zuki (Hiji-ate)
  •  Nukite
  •  Shutō-uchi
  •  Kakushi-ken (tsuruhashi)
  •  Koken (kuruyubi)
  •  Shukōken-uchi (tsuru-gashira)
  •  Hajiki

Chapter II: Keri-waza

  •  Keri-waza with the toes (Sokusen)
  •  Shōmen-geri
  •  Sokutō-geri
  •  Kansetsu-geri
  •  Ushiro-geri
  •  Kaiten-ushiro-geri
  •  Kesa-geri
  •  Nidan-geri
  •  Hiza-geri (Hiza-ate)

Chapter III: Uke-waza

  •  Hirate-mawashi-uke
  •  Haitō-uke
  •  Shōtei-nagashi-uke
  •  Jōdan-hajiki-uke
  •  Chūdan-hajiki-uke
  •  Gedan-harai-uke
  •  Gedan-uchi-uke
  •  Hirate-sukui-age-uke
  •  Shōken–sukui-age-uke
  •  Harai-sukui-uke
  •  Hiza-uke

Third Collection: The history of Karate (by Takamiyagi Shigeru)


Chapter I: The birth of Kensei (Saint of boxing)

  • Section I: Kensei Uechi Kanbun and the Uechi family
  • Section II: Leading figures and the genealogy of the Uechi family

Chapter II: Crossing over to the Qing dynasty

  • Section I: Records on the study of martial arts
  • Section II: The universal dream of a man called a strong one
  • Section III: Bypassing the military service
  • Section IV: The situation in China before and after Uechi Kanbun crossed over to Qing-China

Chapter III: Ryūkyū and the Chinese coastal province of Fújiàn

  • Section I: Fuzhou, capital of China’s coastal province of Fújiàn
    • The influence of the culture of Fújiàn
    • The Ryūkyūkan (Róuyuǎnyì)
    • The Chinese coastal province of Fújiàn
    •  The City of Fuzhou
    •  Notes

Chapter IV: Short biography of Chinese Quánfǎ

  • Section I: China prior to Dámó dàshī (Bodhidharma)
    • Necessity, the mother of all technique
    • Ordering physical strentgh to take the back seat
    • The shape of martial arts and its development
    • Treatise on the originators of Chinese Quánfǎ
    • The era of systematization of Chinese Quánfǎ
    • Historical periodization in relation to Dámó (Bodhidharma)
    • Overview of the History of China prior to Dámó (Bodhidharma)
  • Section II: In search of the primordial material of Chinesese Quánfǎ
    • Screening of numerous ancient books – the Quánshù prior to Dámó (Bodhidharma) (Shuo Yuan, Wenzi, Wu Zi, Huainanzi, Shiji, Yan Tie Lun, Guliang Zhuan, Xin Xu, Han Shu, Lie Nu Zhuan, Shuo Wen Jie Zi, Xunzi, Guanzi, Chun Qiu Fan Lu, Hou Han Shu, Wei Liao Zi, Guo Yu, Hou Han Shu, Lost Book of Zhou, Chu Ci)
    • The meaning of the character Ken/Quán (lit. fist)
    • Shī jīng –The Book of Songs
    • The Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC)
    • The Lǐ jì – The Classic of Rites
    • The Warring States Period
    • The Chǔ cí – The Songs of the State of Chǔ – and becoming of the State of Chǔ
    • Chǔ cí – The Songs of the State of Chǔ
    • Guǎn zǐ – classic book containing the writings of  Guǎn Zhòng, a politician of the State of Qí
    • Chūn qiū Zuǒ-shì zhuàn – Mr. Zuǒ’s Spring and Autumn Annals
    • The Qin Dynasty (221-207 BC)
    • The Early Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD)
    • The Late Han Dynasty
    • Hàn shū –The History of the Western (Early) Han
    • The Shǒu bó liù piān – 6 Articles on the tradition of the “hand”
    • Sān guó shí dài –The Era of the Three Kingdoms
    • Nán běi cháo shí dài –The Era of Northern and Southern Dynasties (420 – 589)
  • uechi-ryuSection III: The old Dǎoyǐn [Daoist exercises involving breathing, stretching and self-massage] of the Chinese continent, and Quánfǎ
    • Dǎoyǐn [Daoist exercises involving breathing, stretching and self-massage]
    • The training method of Ruǎnyìng (flexible and firm)
    • Wǔqín-zhīxì and Shàolín-wǔquán (The Play of the Five Animals and the Five Boxing Styles of Shàolín)
    • Bāduàn-jǐn Dǎoyǐn-fǎ – The Dǎoyǐn Method of the Eight Treasures
    • Yìjīn-jīng and Xǐsuǐ-jīng (The Sūtra of Muscles/Tendons Transformation and the Sūtra of Purified Marrow)
    • Notes
  • Section IV: The Shàolín monastery Dámó dàshī (Bodhidharma)
    • The Sōngshān Shàolín monastery
    • Sēng bīng –warrior monks
    • The the chaos of war at the end of the Sui Dynasty (581-617), and the Shàolín monastery
    • The Shàolín-sì Zhi (Records of the Shàolín monastery)
    • The Fújiàn Shàolín monastery
    • Famous representatives of Quánfǎ during the dynasties of the Sòng (960-1279), the Yuán (1279-1368), the Míng (1368-1644), and the Qīng (1644-1911)
    • The two great martial arts writings of the Ming period: the Jìxiào Xīnshū and the Wǔbèizhì
  • Section V: The Shàolín martial arts during Míng- (1368-1644) and Qīng eras (1644-1911)
    • Examination of Chinese martial arts in three major stories of the Míng era (1368-1644)
    • Examination of Chinese martial arts in the major stories of the Qīng-Zeit (1644-1911)
  • Section VI: The schools of Chinese Quánfǎ
    • The sources of the schools
    • The Quánshù of the Shàolín school
    • The Quánshù of the Wǔdāng school
    • Tàijíquán
  • Section VII: Secret societies and Chinese Quánfǎ
    • Various societies and Quánfǎ
    • The Society of Justice and Harmony (Yìhétuán; the Boxers) and Chinese Quánfǎ
  • Section VIII: Zhōu Zǐhé (Shū Shiwa) and Pangainūn
    • Uechi-ryū and Chinese Quánfǎ
    • Zhōu Zǐhé (Shū Shiwa) and the Buddhist priest Cǎo Qīng
    • Notes
  • uechi-ryuSection IX: Dámó dàshī (Bodhidharma) as the founder of the Chinese Chán-Buddhism (Japanese: Zen, Sanskrit: Dhyana)
    • The characters Dámó and Dámó
    • Bodhidharma (Sanskrit)
    • Dámó‘s (Bodhidharma‘s) pilgrimage to China in order to train and to teach
    • Dámó (Bodhidharma) and the Shàolín monastery
    • Dámó‘s (Bodhidharma‘s) entrance into the the Shàolín monastery
    • Nine years zazen meditation facing the wall
    • The city of  Luòyáng at the end of the 5th century
    • The Legend of doctrinal Zen conversation (Mondō) between Dámó and Emperor Wǔ, the First Noble Truth, and the Brokeback seeking of Huì Kě, the 2nd patriarch of Chán Buddhism
    • Discourse on the dual entrance to the path and the four types of exercise (Èr rù sì xíng lùn)
    • Notes

Chapter V: 13 years in China – Uechi Kanbun‘s experiences

  • Section I: A group of young people of the Meiji era devoted themselves to the training of pugilism (Quánshù) in China
  • Section II: 10 years era of apprenticeship
  • Section III: Three years of Dōjō construction

Chapter VI: Seventeen years of caginess after returning home

  • Section I: Why was the initiation into martial arts continuously refused?

Chapter VII: The Wakayama era

  • Section I: The establishment of the Pangainūn-ryū Karate-jutsu Kenkyūsho
  • Section II: Uechi Kanei in Ōsaka and Hyōgo Prefecture, and the birth of Uechi-ryū

uechi-ryuChapter VIII: The Characteristics of Uechi-ryū Karate-dō

  • Section I: The Shūbukan and its master-pupil relationship
  • Section II: Teaching system of Uechi-ryū Karate-dō and its philosophy

Chapter IX: Uechi-ryū and the Pacific War/WWII

  • Section I: The indigenousity of Uechi-ryū in Okinawa
  • Section II: Uechi Kanei in the campaign as a soldier of the Imperial Army
  • Section III: The end of the Pacific War/WWII

Chapter X: The global expansion of Uechi-ryū Karate-dō

  • Section I: From the Uechi-ryū Karate-jutsu Kenkyūsho to the Uechi-ryū Karate-dō Sōke Shūbukan
  • Section II: Uechi-ryū and the school of Sōke Uechi Kanei

Chapter XI: The of current state of the Budō world in the United States of America

    • Article 1
    • Article 2
    • Article 3
    • Article 4
    • Article 5
    • Article 6
    • Article 7
    • Article 8
    • Article 9

Chapter XII: Karate-dō as an intangible cultural asset

  • Duechi-ryuSection I: Karate as a simultaneous expression of dynamics and aesthetics
  • Section II: The essence of the heritage and of the tradition
  • Bibliographical References

Fourth Collection: The Karate and Kobudō world of Okinawa (by Takamiyagi Shigeru, Nakamatsu Ken, Yonamine Kōsuke, and Tōbaru Keichō

(This fourth collection contains description and history etc. of all associations, Honbu, and many branch dojo of all styles of Karate, Kobudo, and others like Motobu Udundi etc.)

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“Tinbe” in Satsuma monograph on Chinese language studies, 1812.

Shimazu Shigehide (1745-1833) was a feudal lord (daimyō) of the latter Edo period. He was the 25th head of the Shimazu family, and the 8th feudal lord of the Satsuma fief. He was one of the so-called Ranpeki-daimyō, i.e. a feudal lord that devoted himself to Dutch studies.

In 1771 he established the Satsuma clan school with Yamamoto Shūsui as the professor, and as a training place for the martial arts he established the Enbukan 演武館 or House of Martial Arts Training.

Shimazu Shigehide (1745-1833)

Shimazu Shigehide (1745-1833)

Shimadzu Shigehide had a liking for Chinese pronounciations and is said to have even used them in his communication with his court attendants. In 1812, 5 volumes of the „Description of the Colloquial Language of China“ (Nanzan Zokugo-ko Maki) was published under his name. This work began to evolve by asking the Chinese interpreters at Nagasaki to collect colloquial Chinese language and to add the phonological translation in Japanese. Begun in 1767, it was finished in five volumes only after 45 years, in 1812.

In volume four, we find a chapter on armaments (兵部) and in it a list of the names and pronunciations of various military instruments, among them the rattan shield called Tengpai in Chinese. Phonologically transcribed into Japanese it is given here as “Djinbai”.

In Chinese sources on Ryūkyū, this sort of rattan shield had been mentioned over centuries as an armament used in Sino-Ryukyuan maritime relations.

Tinbe in Satsuma monograph on Chinese languae studies, 1812.

Tinbe in Satsuma monograph on Chinese languae studies, 1812.

We find the same rattan shield mentioned for the 1867 martial arts performances presented to the Chinese investiture envoys at the royal tea villa in Sakiyama (Uchaya-udun).

And it was this rattan shield were the name “Tinbē” came from and is still used for the shield in various Okinawan martial arts. It should be noted though, that all Kata performed with the Tinbē are relatively new, 20th century developments.

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On Jiryō no Kon

Did you ever hear people say

“One Kata is enough for a lifetime.”

I agree.

There was this idea that emerged over time. It had several insights at its basis, insights earned by sweat, pain and blood. For one, I noticed that learning a “higher” Kata led to my better understanding of previously learned Kata.

Ok, that’s pretty obvious.

Next, the longer and more complex Kata often contained the same techniques and combinations as the previously learned ones.

Pretty obvious, too.

So it seemed to me at least partially true that “simple” Kata constitute simplifications of “higher” Kata. In some cases there is no doubt: A statistical review of the technical content clearly confirmed this.

One day I was struck by the fact that certain tactics that are really handy and transport partially universal principles, are exclusively found in “higher” Kata. I am talking about Kata that are rarely taught, if ever. And these, to be honest, are where the fun begins.

So what I did was – put simple – writing down all techniques, stances, combinations etc. found in roundabout twenty Kata. For example, the oldest written and partially illustrated historical source I used for technical assessment is from 1930.

As many people know, I have spent years in practical and theoretical studies on the subject. I did benchmarking, standardization, comparisons on best practices, you name it. I made a scientific assessment of a large number of traditional design patterns and techniques.

In other words: I created a database of content which allowed for being analyzed. One thing I did was a redundancy analysis: I compared all the techniques and combinations and determined which only occurred once, which occurred repeatedly, how long the various combos are, etc.

I could tell you in a second how many Tsuki there are in all Kata of one of the schools I analyzed. Or how often the combination Jōdan-ura-uchi/Jōdan-uchi/Chūdan-zuki/Soto-uke appears, in what Kata and at which point exactly.

So, for example, I was able to very accurately determine recurrences.

Of course I gave numbers to each technique, too.

Besides the raw tecchnical content, I also placed special emphasis on the layout, or the design pattern. Like intros, outros, bridges, interludes, breaks, specific technical topics and combinations etc.

The master plan.

The architecture.

I decided on one such master plan – the layout rack of a high-profile Kata – to be used as a framework for my own Kata. By using my redundancy analysis, I than integrated other parts and gradually kept on elaborating the Kata.

While doing so I strictly adhered to the previously determined design principles.

In this way I included all the major techniques, combinations and tactics into nothing other than a classical framework.

Finally I created a “style sheet” and applied it to content and layout.

And thus I created my own practice beast, my own Kata.

The price for the above is high: It is very long and complex and contains the most difficult choreographies around. Honestly, I can hardly imagine that anyone will be able to learn the Kata without already knowing the underlying Kata and having practiced them for many years.

Naturally, it’s not a popular idea to create something oneself in this field of interest. Actually, it is considered an impertinence. I am completely aware of this. And I agree.

Yet, the point is:

what does a person claim?

I do not claim it to be an original Okinawan Kata.

I do claim that it is 100% based on Okinawan cudgel fencing, though.

I do not claim to have it learned from some old secret Okinawan master I met and who taught the Kata to me only before he disappeared forever.

I do claim that I trained hard and for many hours, months, and years on the verge of capacity under great teachers as well as on my own.

I also do claim that the Kata is the result of my personal interest-driven effort to apply modern design tools and first-class engineering to “create” an innovative, next-generation practice machine upon the classical templates that there are. And I do claim that I did it for me personally.

Many people will laught at this:

it is “l’art pour l’art”.

Some people will disagree on the idea itself, on the method used, etc. and critisize it. And I respect your opinion.

Yet it is non-negotiable. I am content with it.

In the end, the Kata is nothing but my personal tribute to traditional Okinawan cudgel fencing (Bōjutsu).

It’s just a tribute.

I baptized it Jiryō no Kon.

Jiryo no Kon

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Another positive recension for my Karate 1.0

Thanks to Russ Ebert I received another positive recension for my Karate 1.0. This is especially valuable Feedback for me, as it comes from the “Koryu Bujutsu” circle, which is usually quite strict and doesn’t hesitate to openly point out any claims or straightforward BS.

Russ Ebert

28. Oktober 2014

Karate 1.0 or Karate no Genryu.

I have to say I am impressed. This is a work of love.

Some books you see and you say “Yeah sure…complete history..” well, this is no joke.

Karate 1.0: Parameter of an Ancient Martial Art.

This is the book on the history and tradition of Karate right here.

There is no BS do-it-yourself photos, just pure inundated research and history. In some places it seems to go a little too far back, but that is okay because it comes around in the text. You have to push on.

I give this book a THUMBS UP for anyone studying Koryu Bujutsu history. Simply outstanding.

Well done Andreas Quast

You weren’t kidding. I am halfway through and I am totally enthralled. NOT FOR THE HISTORY READING UNABLED.

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The Signaling Arrow of Practice

The following is an edited collection of memories and stories of others I present here in a rather informal way. 

At times Miyagi Chōjun visited the main island in an effort to spread Karate. His intention was to elevate Okinawa Karate to the level of Japanese Jūdō and Kendō, which in fact were only completed around that time. On occasion of an invitation by the Jūdō department of the Imperial University of Kyōto, Chōjun for the first time crossed to the main island in December 1927. On the main island this event is referred to as shidō no kaburaya, that is, literally “the signaling arrow of practice,” referring to the original meaning of a signaling arrow marking the beginning of a military campaign.

Each year in May, demonstrations were held at the festival of martial virtues (butokusai) in Kyōto. The training for this event took place at the Ritsumeikan University. The demonstrations took place from May 4th to 8th, for 5 days, under the auspices of the Society of Martial Virtues of Great-Japan (Dai Nippon Butokukai). Venue was the “hall of martial virtues (butokuden)” in Kyōto’s Heian Shrine, featuring fencing (kenjutsu), jūdō, bōjutsu, sōjutsu etc.

According to the “Journal of the martial virtues” (Butokushi), tōdījutsu (karate-jutsu) was presented by Konishi Yasuhiro at the 33rd Butokusai in 1929. At the 34th Butokusai in 1930 “karate-jutsu” was demonstrated by Ueshima Sannosuke from Ōsaka and “karate (tōdī) kenpō” by Konishi Yasuhiro from Tōkyō. At the 35th Butokusai in 1931 it was “karate“ by Konishi Yasuhiro again.

When the Society of Martial Virtues of Great-Japan held its martial arts festivals, Chōjun would occasionally participate, giving demonstrations as an opportunity for the dissemination of karate on the main island. And it seems to have been Chōjun‘s hope to connect Karate to Japanese pre-war Budō through spreading it throughout the country. On Okinawa, too, conveyors supported Chōjun’s activities in this regard: Spreading the Okinawan folk culture of karate on the mainland was the desire and hope of many Okinawans.

In the year 1933, karate (tōdī) was recognized as a genus of Budō by the Butokukai. In the document filed at that time the exact name is recorded as “Gōjū-ryū Karate (Tōdī)“.

At subsequent Butokusai, Chōjun gave demonstrations. At that time there was his student Yogi Jitsu’ei, who had joined Ritsumeikan University in 1934. Born in 1912 in the administrative district of Naha, Jitsu’ei had become a student of Miyagi Chōjun already in 1928 while still on Okinawa.

yogi jitsuei

1935 Chōjun journeyed to Kyōto for the Butokusai demonstration, which was under auspices of the Society of Martial Virtues of Great-Japan (Dai Nippon Butokukai). At that occasion, Chōjun performed Sanchin, Sēsan, and Yakusoku Kumite, and in the latter Jitsu’ei acted as his partner. Although Yakusoku Kumite is a “prearranged duel”, Jitsu’ei recalled his sense of fear at that time, as Chōjun would occasionally attack Ichigeki Hissatsu, i.e. “with the firm intention to kill with one blow”.

Yogi Jitsu’ei reported,

“In 1934 I became a student at the Ritsumeikan University. In the following year I acted as a partner Miyagi Chōjun Sensei during the Butokusai. At that time there was the highly respected Jūdōka of the Butokukai named Isogai Hajime (1871-1947). I was studying together with his son at the Faculty of Laws at the time. He said to me, ‘Mr. Yogi, my father has praised your teacher very much. He must be really a first-class Budōka and personality’.”

Jitsu’ei further

“introduced Chōjun Sensei to the former rector of Ritsumeikan University, the master-teacher Nakagawa Kojūrō. On this occasion, Rector Nakagawa variously chatted about Karate (Tōdī) with Chōjun Sensei. Rector Nakagawa said to him, ‘as a memento of Ritsumeikan, I would like to present you this writing made by veteran Meiji statesman Saionji Kinmochi (1849–1940)’, which he later sent to Okinawa.”

Said Saionji was a Duke, Prime Minister, President of the Privy Council, Envoy, Minister of Culture, and Imperial Advisor.

On December 21, 1935, Jitsu’ei startet the “Tōdī Kenkyūkai” of the Ritsumeikan University, together with Yamaguchi Jitsumi (Gōgen), Nishikawa Ikutarō, Noda Ritsuo, and Wada Shōichi.

On January 20, 1936, the “program and rules of the Karate-dō Department of the Ritsumeikan University” was submitted to the University. Therein is reported of “the glorious teacher Miyagi Chōjun” and the “deputy masters Yogi Jitsu’ei and Yamaguchi Jitsumi (i.e. Gōgen)”.

In the context of cumulative results of negotiations, on 30 April 1937, the renaming of “Tōdī Kenkyūkai” to “Karate (Tōdī)-dō Department” was approved. Subsequently it was further adjusted to “Karate Kenpō department” and “Karate-dō Department“. Nowadays it is called “Karate-Department of Ritsumeikan University”.

In 1937 Chōjun became the first person in the sphere Karate who was awarded the title of Kyōshi. The same year Jitsu’ei graduated from Ritsumeikan University. Afterwards he worked for the police of the city prefecture of Osaka.

In 1939, Ritsumeikan karate club members Ujita Shōzō (1917-1989), Nakamura Taisuke, Taniguchi Jō, Ioku Tetsuya and others practiced for a period of over two months under Miyagi Chōjun in his garden in Naha. At that time, Ujita also received training from Shinzato Jin’an († 1945), Chōjun’s top student and designated successor at the time. Immediately following this visit, Kagawa Haruyoshi from Kyōto also visited Okinawa and trained under Chōjun.

Also in 1939, Kisaki Tomoharu, Uchiage Kenzō, and Kitano joined the Ritsumeikan University Karate club.


1942, following an invitation Ritsumeikan’s Kisaki Tomoharu, Uchiage Kenzō, Kitano, Kimura and others trained with Miyagi Chōjun. Mentioned Kisaki Tomoharu, in an 1986 article recalled whom he considered his most important teachers:

“Besides my late Sensei (Miyagi Chōjun) I have been instructed by many others, like Yogi Jitsu’ei, Sō Neichū, Ujita Shōzō, and my good friend and competitor, Uchiage Kenzō, also enlightened me in many ways.”

The following had also been reported in writing:

In Kyōto it often rains. Even when sensei (Chōjun) went to buy gifts and travel souvenirs, the students kept an umbrella ready outside the store. Even when going to the toilet, as I said, the students stood ready at the entrance with an umbrella in their hands. Wherever they went, the students took the umbrella with them, and made ​​sure that Sensei would not get wet. Chōjun Sensei commented on this, ‘Such hospitable people you cannot find amongst all people from Okinawa’.”

In 1950, Jitsu’ei also acted as joint founder of the Zen Nihon Karate-dō Gōjūkai, together with Yamaguchi Gōgen. Later he opened a Dōjō called Shinkōkan (hall of the promotion [of karate]).


Following his retirement from work, Jitsu’ei returned to Okinawa, where he continued to spread karate. He died at the age of 85 years.

It can thus be said that Yogi Jitsu’ei was at the center of the propagation of Gōjū-ryū karate on the main island. Jitsu’ei was a Budōka (Gōjū-ryū Karate) and a police officer.


Sources (click to enlarge):


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A lecture in Japan, 1999

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applied science in karate?

Is there a theory that should be looked into as an applied science in karate? I mean, if you had a lot of time at hand? 

If you’d ask me, it would definitely not be “Ki”. 

Rather, it would be the physical laws of mechanics. Specifically kinematics and dynamics, static and kinetic. This is nothing but what is called biomechanics. It’s not about being young or old, belly, beard, or not. It’s not living here or there. 

It’s plain math

Math is what makes up the bulk of biomechanics. Always. Anywhere. 

All else is evasive, opinion, personal “experience windows”, heuristics, beliefs, wishes, preferences, and so on. Tradition. 

If it’s not about the art, though, sheer power and athletics will do the safe side most of the time. Add three techniques each of Karate, boxing, wrestling, jūdō, and some others. 

Of course, in all these MA the “player” itself constitutes the “movendum”, but there’s a huge difference when it comes to Kata: other than elsewhere and although they too might have “shadow boxing” routines, Karate Kata in most of the styles are “unrestrained by an opponent” as regards their biomechanics. 

They are a simulation of being “restrained by at opponent“. 

Other, supportive methods might also be used to compensate for this, like makiwara, weight training, kote-kitae, etc. 

But then, why would anyone need to preserve Kata? Why not just extract the principles and techniques? Why are there infinte parameter settings for Kata within the range in between martial form and art form

I’am not sure. Our relationship is complicated. 

Bunkai is often not done exactly as Kata. Or it is “dummy-opponent restrained”. Or it is more or less agreed upon. Or simply traditional. Or invented tradition. Or martial engineering – ad hoc, reasoned, or inspired from anywhere else. Or a Kata might also be adapted to ideas of their application, which – however – is often said to be a no-go, yet this rule is adhered to as often as it is broken. And at any time during the 20th century new Kata have been developed. Some were continued, some discarded. 

As there is any thinkable approach to the “blank paper of Kata” put into action out there, there is not one definition for what is Kata. In Okinawa, there even was a serious discussion as to which of the two Kanji – with their micro-indications – is the correct one to be used. 

Guess what: the question was never solved! 

Each style, each Dojo has its own method of tsuki and other techniqes, often called “body mechanics”. This of course is nothing but (Western) biomechanics, yet without its original scientific foundation, as tradition inherently contradicts to this. Furthermore, all things Japanese have to be historically Japanese, armies of Japanese academics work day and night on this. How Okinawan is that?

All of the various approaches seem to be correct within the scope of their set of assumptions (sometimes referred to as theory). Just do crunches, push-ups, and squats until at explanation will be available. You’ll be an all healthy, good-looking stud. Be a strong man who does some karate. Strong men always have many friends, so it’s good. If you have money, or power, even better. 

The biomechanics of Kata hardly are explicable in a “restrained by an opponent” fashion that is at the same time practicable. Ok, there are exceptions. Just as many as there are those who would achieve the same results by playing table tennis for 10 years. 

A myriad of stylistic expressions from a non-functional sphere are also used.

Is it this complexity that leads people to look into “ki” power? Or “tanden”? Anything Oki-xotic?

Or is it really the fear and loathing of having to do the math? 

I want to tell my dear Lady Kata, “You’re fuzzyness is killing me.” 

You know ambiguity – as termed from a Western perspective – is THE # 1 hobby of ALL Japanese. The Japanese, on the other hand, call this “aimai”, which is considered a form of aesthetics. Being aimai is totally the flavor of the month. Which it has been for about the last 1000 years. 

So, returning to Kata, the least thing anyone may do of what is regarded “scientific” would be a functional motion analysis, using the methods developed – for example – in sports bomechanics. 

This is what successful athletes do. 

And it is the same as traditionalists do – they just call it differently. 

Oversimplifying things for the sake of clarity, the first seem to adapt things to themselves, fast, with high intensity. 

The latter adapt themselves to things, slowly, over a long period of time.

The first have no idea of tradition. The latter have no idea of sports. 

At the same time, both Western sports and Japanese tradition aims at the same thing: balanced persons as valuable members of society. But this sublime ambition is not yet achieved, as both forms keep producing the good, the bad, and the ugly alike. Zero-sum game. 

There is no-one who inherited the body, the brain, or the collective knowledge of a Sensei, miracuously having hopped over to them. It is also not possible to bring a “collective indiginous knowledge” to become tapped into “swarm knowledge” (I know many people will disagree). 

That’s what makes Kata so hard to understand. Together with, I might add, a double difference. I.e., the difference between old and modern things Japanese / Okinawan on one hand, and the difference between things imported, adapted, and incorporated on the other. 

This sweet and short matrix has not yet been solved. It’s easier to encourage storytelling.

All thanks to the aesthetics of ambiguity, or aimai from a Japanese perspective. 

So what is Kata? 

It is to mercilessly grind artificial degrees of freedom into your bones, joints, and tendons! 


Maybe – only for today and entirely without obligation - I may at least formulate that Kata basically seems to be a “simulative method of martial theory in motion unrestrained by an opponent“.

That’s not the worst try.


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Goju-ryu’s Higa Seiko demonstrating a technique from the end of “Kakufaa”

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June 10, 2009, with late Soke Nagamine Takayoshi

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Small extra for “Karate 1.0″

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