Oni Oshiro

BookCoverPreviewIn the era of Old Ryukyu, a legendary warrior of Okinawan martial arts appeared on the center stage of the historical theatre. Due to his unique appearance and powerful physique—reminiscent of a wolf or a tiger—the people of that time called him Oni Ōshiro, or «Ōshiro the Demon.»

Also known as Uni Ufugushiku in the Okinawan pronunciation of his name, he had been variously described as the originator of the original Okinawan martial art «Ti» as well as the actual ancestor of a number of famous Okinawan karate masters, such as Mabuni Kenwa and others.

This is his narrative. Gleaned from the few primary sources available, which for the first time are presented here in the English language, the original heroic flavor of the source texts was kept intact.

«I invoke the Gods, To quake heaven and earth, To let the firmament resound, And to rescue the divine woman—Momoto Fumiagari.»

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5″ x 8″ (12.7 x 20.32 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
94 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1533486219 (CreateSpace-Assigned)
ISBN-10: 1533486212
BISAC: Sports & Recreation / Martial Arts & Self-Defense

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King Wu Once Buckled On His Armor: The Seven Virtues of Martial Arts

by Andreas Quast

King_Wu_Once_Buckled_Cover_for_KindleTHIS is the true story of the seven virtues of martial arts as described by Matsumura Sokon. Considered the primary source-text of old-style Okinawan martial arts, the “Seven Virtues” are admired for their straightforward advice. Handwritten in the late 19th century by Matsumura Sokon, the most celebrated ancestor of karate, they are considered the ethical fountain and technical key to understand what can’t be seen.

This book includes the extremely rare photography of the original handwritten scroll, approved by the Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum as well as the owner of the scroll. It also shows the family crest of the Matsumura family, sporting the character of “Bu.”

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Matsumura himself pointed out that the “Seven Virtues of Martial Arts” were praised by a wise man in an ancient manuscript, a manuscript that has remained obscure ever since. Now the ultimate source of this wondrous composition has been discovered and verified. Presented and explained here for the first time, it is not only the source of Matsumura’s “Seven Virtues of Martial Arts”… In fact, it is the original meaning of martial arts per se.

5″ x 8″ (12.7 x 20.32 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
80 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1523685981 (CreateSpace-Assigned)
ISBN-10: 1523685980
BISAC: Sports & Recreation / Martial Arts & Self-Defense

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A Stroll Along Ryukyu Martial Arts History

A Stroll Along Ryukyu Martial Arts History Paperback – May 15, 2015

by Andreas Quast (Author)

Paperback edition: available at Amazon US ($14.99), Amazon UK (£9.79), Amazon Germany (EUR 14.97), CreateSpace eStore ($14.99), and at online and offline bookstores and retailers, as well as via public libraries and libraries at other academic institutions.

Kindle edition also availableUSUKDEFRESITNLJPBRCAMXAUIN

Based on his acclaimed previous studies, the author here presents a synopsis of the development of Ryukyu martial arts. The events described herein are all real, that is, they are all historical. Strolling along the chronology of martial arts of Ryukyu provenance, a large number of verified events are not only detailed, but also decorated with dozens of precious illustrations. As such “A Stroll Along Ryukyu Martial Arts History” is for martial arts practitioners as much as it is for aficionados of history and Asia. It simply provides a pristine ground to stand on for the practitioner who wishes to understand the primordial origins of Ryukyu martial arts.

  • For those who read “Karate 1.0”: this new book here is a synopsis of Karate 1.0 plus the “chronology (Part VII)” without significant changes. It is an easier read without all the reasoning and footnotes, but instead with nearly 80 illustrations to make it more suitable for the general public, and not only academic people.

Among the unique information that cannot be found anywhere else are also some of the illustrations. For instance, there is only one picture scroll that shows the Chinese investiture envoys (sapposhi) and their military retinue. Here, for the first time you might see how famous Kusanku actually might have looked like.

Product Details (Paperback edition)

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (May 15, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1512229423
  • ISBN-13: 978-1512229424
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.4 x 9.7 inches
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Available at Amazon US ($19.99), Amazon UK (£12.79), Amazon Germany (EUR 19,25 ), CreateSpace eStore ($19.99)

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Karate 1.0: Parameter of an Ancient Martial Art

The most comprehensive study on the parameters of primordial Karate, this work intrigues readers with rich detail and insights into these ancient combat traditions, the pride of Okinawa.

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

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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.

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Original References on Tomari-te

In karate circles both in Japan and abroad the so-called Tomari-te has become a topic of great interest in the recent decade. As had been pointed out recently, today there are a lot of genealogies of schools claiming Tomari-te heritage. Yet, since such such genealogies sometimes merely seem to serve the purposes and interests of the school in question, they can often not be expected to constitute objective descriptions of actual historical fact.

But besides oral tradition and home-brewed genealogies, what is the actual history of sources on the so-called Tomari-te?

Large parts of the fundamentals for the current genealogical flow charts of the so-called Tomari-te were researched and presented by no less than Nagamine Shōshin. Nagamine sensei and his senpai Shimabukuro Tarō were two of the interviewers of the article “Listening to the Combat Stories of Venerable Old Warrior Motobu Chōki” of 1936. Here, Motobu Chōki expressed:

“This happened when I was 20 years old. When Kameya, Yabu [Kentsū] and my older brother [Motobu Chōyu] went to see Matsumora sensei in Tomari for instruction, Matsumora sensei asked them a question about how to block a certain attack. I heard that they could not figure out the answer even though they tried very hard to come up with it for a whole week….” 

It should be noted that Motobu Chōki is one of the best known disciples known to have trained directly with Matsumora.

The possibly first written use of the designation "Chatan Yara no Kūsankū" by Nagamine, 1959.

The possibly first written use of the designation “Chatan Yara no Kūsankū” by Nagamine, 1959.

Later, in a newspaper article of 1959 Nagamine explains about Rōhai and Chintō of Tomari provenance, as well as about Matsumora Kōsaku. As a side note, in the same article series Nagamine also uses the designation Chatan Yara no Kūsankū. This might well have been the first instance of this name found in writing.

In 1970 followed the publication of Matsumura Kōshō’s research on Matsumora Kōsaku, whose grandchild he was. Nagamine sensei is listed here as a contributor of information.

While in the 1975 book “The Essence of Okinawan Karate-dō” not much information is found, Nagamine sensei here describes how Matsumora Kōsaku was impressed with Motobu Chōki’s enthusiasm for the martial art and taught him Naihanchi and Passai, and how Motobu studied Matsumora’s actual fighting techniques by secretly watching him nightly through the fence, because Matsumora didn’t wanted to teach him kumite. However, this this seems to be an oral history narrated by third parties: Motobu Chōki himself noted that he indeed learned kumite from Matsumora, but did not mention anything about learning kata from Matsumora. Therefore, at this point Nagamine appears to have reversed the facts. This can also be seen in the above mentioned interview from 1936, where Motobu Chōki answered a question:

 

“It happened when I was 19. I went to Matsumora’s place with Tamashiro from Kariya who was a sumō wrestler, and I received kumite training there. Matsumora sensei threw a punch at me. My hand blocked the punch and hit straight into sensei’s (Matsumora’s) face. His teeth immediately begun to bleed. I took one step back and said, ‘I am very sorry, sensei.’ But sensei insisted, ‘Don’t stop, just keep punching and hitting me continuously.’ Then I felt great, becoming more excited and kept on training. This was a true story. I never told anyone about this incident, but Yabu used to tell me that he knew about it.”

From one of seven artciles on Matsumora by Nagamine Sensei, 1979.

From one of seven artciles on Matsumora by Nagamine Sensei, 1979.

Within the chronology of reasearh publications, it was only in 1979 that Nagamine sensei published a whole series of articles about Matsumora Kōsaku. It appears that only at that time he was able to provide the fruits of his long lasting research into this topic. It is here that we find all those hero stories of Matsumora that today every child knows, like nightly training at the graveyards or when Matsumora encountered and killed a Satsuma samurai.

It is also from the above research and publications that we first learned of Matsumora’s first teacher as Uku Karyū 宇久嘉隆 and his second teacher as Teruya Kishin 照屋規箴. This is the basis of all Tomari-lineages ever since.

Well, in his 1986 book Nagamine Sensei wrote the following about his studies of Tomari-te:

“The martial art of the venerable old gentleman (Matsumora Kōsaku) was inherited by Yamazato Giki 山里義輝, Kuba Kōho 久場興保, and Iha Kōtatsu 伊波興達. In his role as the karate instructor of the Tomari Student Council, Iha Kōtatsu in particular handed down the martial arts of the venerable old gentleman (Matsumora Kōsaku) to many of Tomari’s youngsters. This author (Nagamine Shōshin), too, inherited such kata as Passai, Chintō, Wankan, Rōhai, and Wanshū of Tomari-te from this teacher, and continues to preserve and research these kata in my current Matsubayashi-ryū Karate-dō Kōdōkan Dōjō 松林流空手道興道館道場.”

Note that the very name Kōdōkan 興道館 is headed by the character 興, which was the first character used in the personal names of the Yō-clan, to which Matsumora, Iha, Oyadomari Kōkan and many other persons of Tomari belonged.

As regards Iha Kōtatsu, in Nagamine 1975 book “The Essence of Okinawan Karate-dō” a little more info is found about this.

Iha Kotatsu as identified in OKKJ 2008.

Iha Kotatsu as identified in OKKJ 2008.

“Around the time I advanced to become a senior student at Naha Commercial School [~1926–27], at the annual ‘Large Kendō and Karate-dō Martial Arts Demonstration’ traditionally hosted by the Tomari Student Council, I participated as the leader of the karate department. In addition, by using the schoolyard of Tomari Elementary School, every evening we practiced karate with the coach of that time, the venerable old gentleman Iha Kōtatsu (1873 – 1928), who was called Iha Sisū-tanmē. At the time vernerabe old gentleman (Iha) was the only person still alive who had received personal transmission of skill directly from Bushi Matsumora Kōsaku, and Iha’s teaching was quite severe.”

The last sentence is not entirely correct, since Matsumora’s proven students such as Motobu Chōyu, Motobu Chōki, Yabu Kentsū, and Kyan Chōtoku were still alive at that time.

Besides, previously mentioned Shimabukuro Tarō (see also here), a long time training partner of Nagamine sensei, had also studied under the same Iha Kōtatsu, from whom Shimabukuro learned Wankan, Rōhai, and Wanshū as skills handed down in the Tomari region.

From the above alone it might be said that the Tomari-share among the kata of Matsubayashi-ryū possess a uniquely strong Tomari-te lineage above reproach. That is, Wankan, Rōhai, and Wanshū, as well as Passai and Chintō.

Since Iha Kōtatsu acted as the karate instructor of the Tomari Student Council, and since he is mentioned as the crucial Tomari-lineage-hub in many other lineages of today, he appears to also have given rise to other traditions. In the future, I hope to hear more about these traditions and see more of their techniques.

Until that time, I took the freedom to take a close look at the origin of the person Iha Kōtatsu. In order to do so, I translated the original Ryūkyū kingdom-era “Genealogy of the Yō-clan, House Iha” from Tomari. In it is found in the 13. generation one Kōtatsu of the House of Iha. His childhood name was Tarugani 樽金 and his Chinese-style name Yō Eishō 雍永彰. He was born born 1873-06-21 as the fourth son of father Kōboku 興睦 and mother Umitu 思戸.

7. Generation Iha Shī Kōsei 伊波子興生

  • Childhood name: Umigani 思兼
  • Chinese-style name: Yō Kihō 雍其鳳
  • Born 1672-02-24 as the third son.
  • Father: Iha Pēchin Kōji (Yō Kokukan) 伊波親雲上興治 (雍克寛), 6th generation of Kochinda Pēchin Kōchō 興長 (Yō Kabō 雍可懋)
  • Mother: Moushi 眞牛, daughter of Onaga Pēchin Buku from the Chi-clan 智氏 翁長親雲上武矩
  • Wife: Makami 眞龜, daughter of Takayasu Pēchin Antsū from the Teki-clan 狄氏高安親雲上安通
  • Oldest son: Kōshin 興辰
  • Oldest daughter: Moushi 眞牛 (born 1699-09-08, died 1752-04-23 at the age of 54 years, posthumous name Shingen 心源)
  • Second daughter: Manandaru 眞那武樽 (born 1702-08-22, married Yagi Chikudun Seihō from the Kō-clan 幸氏屋宜筑登之政方)

During the Era of King Shō Tei (rg. 1669 – 1709)

  • 1687-02-01: He tied up his topknot (coming of age)
  • 1710-08-21: Died at the age of 39 years, posthumous name Ryōshin 了心

8. Generation Iha Chikudun Pēchin Kōshin 伊波筑登之親雲上興辰

  • Childhood name: Tarugani 樽金
  • Chinese-style name: Yō Joshū 雍汝楫
  • Born 1696-05-22 as the first-born son
  • Father: Kōsei 興生
  • Mother: Makami 眞龜 from the Teki-clan 狄氏
  • Wife: Makatu 眞加戸, daughter of Kina Chikudun 喜納筑登之
  • Oldest son: Kōkō 興孝

During the Era of King Shō Tei (rg. 1669 – 1709)

  • 1708-03-25: he tied up his topknot (coming of age)

During the Era of King Shō Kei (rg. 1713 – 1751)

  • 1725-06-15: Awarded the court rank of Chikudun Zashiki (grade 9b) 筑登之座敷
  • 1727-06-18: Serves as a clerk of the O-dōgu Atari 御道具當筆者
  • 1729-08-11: Awarded the court rank of Yellow Hachimaki 黄冠

During the Era of King Shō Boku (rg. 1752 – 1794)

  • 1752-12-01: Serves as a police inspector (yokome 横目), awarded the court rank of Seitō-zashiki 勢頭座敷
  • 1755-04-08: Serves on duty for the reception of returning China-ships (唐船). Reached Iheya Island on 05-08. After the government business was completed, he returned to the capital (to Okinawa) on 1755-09-17.
  • 1760-12-01: Serves as Sō-kumigashira 惣與頭 of Tomari village
  • 1763-07-17: Dies after a long life of 68 years

9. Generation Kōkō 興孝 (since his name Umituku 思徳 was prohibited, it was changed to Umikana 思加那)

  • Childhood name: Umituku 思徳
  • Chinese-style name: Yō Shitatsu 雍士達
  • Born 1749-05-18 as the first-born son
  • Father: Kōshin 興辰
  • Mother:  Makatu 眞加戸
  • Wife: Makatu 眞嘉戸, daughter of Urasaki Chikudun Kōri 浦崎筑登之康利 from the Ryū-clan 柳氏
  • Oldest son: Kōhō 興寳 (Childhood name Masanru 眞三良, Chinese-style name Yō Kōgyō 雍光業, born 1770-08-16, died 1776-09-25 at the age of 7)
  • Second son: Kōhon 興本
  • Third son: Kōga 興賀 (because the premature deaths of his older brothers Kōhō 興寶 and Kōhon 興本, he was designated the heir)
  • Oldest daughter: Moushi 眞牛 (born 1781-03-11)
  • Second daughter:  Mazuru 眞鶴  (born 1783-10-20)
  • Fourth son: Kōshi 興始

During the Era of King Shō Boku (rg. 1752 – 1794)

  • 1764-10-05: He tied up his topknot (coming of age)
  • 1774-12-11: Awarded the court rank of Chikudun Zashiki (grade 9b) 筑登之座敷
  • 1789-12-12: Awarded the court rank of Yellow Hachimaki 黄冠

10. Generation Kōhon 興本

  • Childhood name:  Matsugani 松金
  • Chinese-style name: Yō Kōhitsu 雍光弼
  • Born 1773-12-26 as the second son
  • Father: Kōkō 興孝
  • Mother: Makatu 眞嘉戸 from the Ryū-clan 柳氏
  • Heir: Kokō 興功

During the Era of King Shō Boku (rg. 1752 – 1794)

  • 1787-02-01: he tied up his topknot (coming of age)
  • 1788-05-26: Died at the age of 16 years

10. Generation Kōga 興賀

  • Childhood name:  Makamado 眞蒲戸
  • Chinese-style name: 雍光勲
  • Born 1777-09-29 as the third son
  • Father: Kōkō 興孝
  • Mother: Makatu 眞嘉戸 from the Ryū-clan 柳氏
  • Wife: Uminda 思武太, daughter of Idesuna Chikudun Pēchin Ryūjun from the Ryū-clan 柳氏出砂筑登之親雲上隆順 from the Ryū-clan (born 1787-09-12, died 1837-06-28 at the age of 51, posthumous name Ka’un 夏雲)
  • Oldest son: Kōshi 興址
  • Second son: Kokō 興功 (Childhood name: Umikana 思加那, Chinese-style name Yō Shinbatsu 雍振發, born 1811-11-09. Since his uncle Kōhon 興本 [10. gen] had no successor, he was designated heir)
  • Oldest daughter: Makatu 眞嘉戸 (born 1814-09-04)
  • Second daughter: Moushi 眞牛 (born 1817-10-23)
  • Third daughter:  Mazuru 眞鶴  (born 1819-09-17)
  • Third son: Kōsen 興仙 (Since his uncle Kōshi 興始 [10. gen] had no successor, he was designated heir)
  • Fourth son: Kōhō 興峯

During the Era of King Shō Boku (rg. 1752 – 1794)

  • 1791-12-10: he tied up his topknot (coming of age)

During the Era of King Shō Kō (rg. 1804 – 1834)

  • 1811-12-01: Awarded the court rank of Chikudun Zashiki (grade 9b) 筑登之座敷
  • 1816-12-01: Awarded the court rank of Yellow Hachimaki 黄冠
  • 1831-12-01: Serves as Sō-kumigashira 惣與頭 of Tomari
  • 1834-06-01: Serves as Sō-kumigashira 惣與頭 of Tomari

During the Era of King Shō Iku (rg. 1835 – 1847)

  • 1837-05-21: awarded the court rank of Zashiki (grade 4b) 座敷. [he was promoted to Zashiki because he lend 2000 kanmon (a monetary unit) to the “crown ship office,” which urgently needed money for the visit of the Chinese investiture envoys (sappōshi)]
  • 1849-10-06: Dies after a long life of 73 years, posthumous name Sengen 仙言

10. Generation Kōshi 興始

  • Childhood name: Umikami 思龜
  • Chinese-style name: Yō Kōseki 雍光績
  • Born 1787-07-25 as the fourth son
  • Father: Kōkō 興孝
  • Mother: Makatu 眞嘉戸 from the Ryū-clan 柳氏
  • Wife: Makamado 眞蒲戸, daughter of Arakaki Tsūji Pēchin Kashi from the Rin-clan 林氏新垣通事親雲上家梓
  • Oldest daughter: Makatu 眞加戸 (born 1812-08-07)
  • Second daughter: Ndarugani 武樽金 (born 1817-06-24)
  • Third daughter: Umikami 思龜 (born 1820-09-10)
  • Fourth daughter: Mazuru 眞鶴 (born 1823-10-04)
  • Fifth daughter: Umitu 思戸 (born 1835-01-25)
  • Heir: Kōsen 興仙

During the Era of King Shō On (rg. 1795 – 1802)

  • 1801-07-20: he tied up his topknot (coming of age)

During the Era of King Shō Kō (rg. 1804 – 1834)

  • 1816-12-01: Awarded the court rank of Chikudun Zashiki (grade 9b) 筑登之座敷
  • 1826-12-01: Awarded the court rank of Yellow Hachimaki 黄冠

During the Era of King Shō Iku (rg. 1835 – 1847)

  • 1847-12-01: Serves as Sō-kumigashira 惣與頭 of Tomari village
  • 1851-08-10: Dies after a long life of 65 years, posthumous name Jugan 壽岩

11. Generation Kōshi 興址

  • Childhood name: Makamado 眞蒲戸
  • Chinese-style name: Yō Shinki 雍振起
  • Born 1804-11-28 as the first son
  • Father: Kōga 興賀
  • Mother: Uminda 思武太 from the Ryū-clan 柳氏
  • Wife: Umikami 思龜, daughter of Yamada Chikudun Pēchin Gikō from the Yō-clan 容氏山田筑登之親雲上義厚
  • Oldest daughter: Makatu 眞嘉戸 (born 1849-08-20)
  • Heir: Kōyō 興應

During the Era of King Shō Kō (rg. 1804 – 1834)

  • 1818-11-06: he tied up his topknot (coming of age)
  • 1829-12-01: Awarded the court rank of Chikudun Zashiki (grade 9b) 筑登之座敷

During the Era of King Shō Iku (rg. 1835 – 1847)

  • 1836-12-01: Awarded the court rank of Yellow Hachimaki 黄冠
  • 1838-12-01: Serves as Sō-kumigashira 惣與頭 of Tomari village

During the Era of King Shō Tai (rg. 1848 – 1872)

  • 1848-12-01: Serves as Tomari-hissha 泊筆者
  • 1860-03-29: Died at the age of 57 years, posthumous name Shingen 心源

11. Generation Kōkō 興功

  • Childhood name:  Umikana 思加那
  • Chinese-style name: Yō Shinbatsu 雍振發
  • Born 1811-11-19, originally the second son of Iha Chikudun Pēchin Kōga (Yō Kōkun) 伊波筑登之親雲上興賀 (雍光勲) and mother Uminda 思武太, daughter of Idesuna Chikudun Pēchin Ryūjun from the Ryū-clan 柳氏出砂筑登之親雲上隆順. Since his uncle Kōhon 興本 [10. gen] had no successor, he was designated heir on 1870-08-17)
  • Father: Kōhon 興本
  • Wife: Ndarugani 武樽金, daughter of Arime Chikudun Pēchin Kenkyo from the Yō-clan 葉氏有銘筑登之親雲上兼巨
  • Oldest son: Kōboku 興睦
  • Oldest daughter: Umikami 思龜 (born 1834-01-26)
  • Second son: Kōyo 興於
  • Second daughter: Makatu 眞嘉戸 (born 1840-12-18)

During the Era of King Shō Kō (rg. 1804 – 1834)

  • 1825-03-03: He tied up his topknot (coming of age)

During the Era of King Shō Iku (rg. 1835 – 1847)

  • 1838-12-01: Awarded the court rank of Chikudun Zashiki (grade 9b) 筑登之座敷
  • 1841-12-01: Serves as an additional clerk of the Magistrate of Forest Conservation and Management 山奉行方加増筆者
  • 1843-12-01: Serves as a clerk of the Magistrate of Forest Conservation and Management 山奉行筆者, awarded the court rank of Yellow Hachimaki 黄冠

During the Era of King Shō Tai (rg. 1848 – 1872)

  • 1853-11-15: Serves as additional police inspector-general 加増惣横目 of Tomari village
  • 1860-01-08: Died at the age of 50 years, posthumous name Jushin 受心

11. Generation Kōsen 興仙

  • Childhood name: Matsugani 松金
  • Chinese-style name: Yō Shinshō 雍振升
  • Born 1825-07-18, originally the third son of Iha Chikudun Pēchin Kōga (Yō Kōkun) 興賀 (雍光勲) and mother Uminda 思武太, daughter of Idesuna Chikudun Pēchin Ryūjun from the Ryū-clan 柳氏出砂筑登之親雲上隆順. Since his uncle Kōshi 興始 had no successor, he was designated heir)
  • Father: Kōshi 興始
  • Mother: Makamado 眞蒲戸 from the Rin-clan 林氏

During the Era of King Shō Iku (rg. 1835 – 1847)

  • 1840-05-15: he tied up his topknot (coming of age)

During the Era of King Shō Tai (rg. 1848 – 1872)

  • 1852-12-01: Awarded the court rank of Chikudun Zashiki (grade 9b) 筑登之座敷
  • 1858-11-16: Due to the huge ceremony of the royal wedding, he was awarded the court rank of Yellow Hachimaki 黄冠

11. Generation Kōhō 興峯

  • Childhood name: Tarugani 樽金
  • Chinese-style name: Yō Shintatsu 雍振達
  • Born 1831-08-30 as the fourth son
  • Father: Kōga 興賀
  • Mother: Uminda 思武太 from the Ryū-clan 柳氏
  • Wife: Makatu 眞嘉戸, daughter of Arime Chikudun Pēchin Kentei from the Yō-clan 葉氏有銘筑登之親雲上兼定
  • Oldest son: Kōyō 興應 (Childhood name:  Makamado 眞蒲戸, Chinese-style name Yō Tōhō 雍謄芳, born 1851-03-24. Since his uncle Kōshi 興址 [11. gen] had no successor, he was designated his heir on 1867-03-09)
  • Oldest daughter: Umikami 思龜 (born 1854-05-24)

During the Era of King Shō Iku (rg. 1835 – 1847)

  • 1845-08-05: he tied up his topknot (coming of age)

During the Era of King Shō Tai (rg. 1848 – 1872)

  • 1858-11-16: Due to the huge ceremony of the royal wedding, he was awarded the court rank of Chikudun Zashiki (grade 9b) 筑登之座敷
  • 1864-12-06: Awarded the court rank of Yellow Hachimaki 黄冠

12. Generation Kōboku 興睦

  • Childhood name:  Makamado 眞蒲戸
  • Chinese-style name: Yō Sekki 雍錫麒
  • Born 1831-11-25 as the first son
  • Father: Kokō 興功
  • Mother: Ndarugani 武樽金 from the Yō-clan 葉氏
  • Wife:  Makamado 眞蒲戸, daughter of Nakamoto Chikudun Pēchin Kōshu 仲本筑登之親雲上興種 from the Yō-clan 雍氏 (born 1834-05-11, died 1870-09-15 at the age of 37 years, posthumous name Gyokurin 玉輪)
  • Oldest daughter: Umikami 思龜 (born 1852-08-19)
  • Oldest son: Kōshū 興修
  • Second son: Kōgi 興義
  • Third son: Kōkō 興厚
  • Second daughter: Makatu 眞嘉戸 (born 1863-02-16)
  • Second wife: Umitu 思戸, daughter of Hokama Chikudun Pēchin Shōrei from the Kan-clan 咸氏外間筑登之親雲上政令
  • Fourth son: Kōtatsu 興達
  • Third daughter: Mazuru 眞鶴 (born 1876-05-12)

During the Era of King Shō Iku (rg. 1835 – 1847)

1845-08-05: he tied up his topknot (coming of age)

During the Era of King Shō Tai (rg. 1848 – 1872)

  • 1855-12-01: Awarded the court rank of Chikudun Zashiki (grade 9b) 筑登之座敷
  • 1863-12-01: Awarded the court rank of Yellow Hachimaki 黄冠
  • 1868-03-15: Awarded a letter of recommendation [because he lent 1000 kanmon (a monetary unit) to the “crown ship office,” which urgently needed money for the visit of the Chinese investiture envoys (sappōshi)]

12. Generation Kōyo 興於

  • Childhood name: Umikami 思龜
  • Chinese-style name: Yō Sekirin 雍錫麟
  • Born 1837-12-06 as the second son
  • Father: Kokō 興功
  • Mother: Ndarugani 武樽金 from the Yō-clan 葉氏
  • Wife: Mazuru 眞鶴, daughter of Matayoshi Tsūji Pēchin Shōshū from the Ryō-clan 梁氏 又吉通事親雲上昌宗 (she died 1871-05-10 at the age of 36 years, posthumous name Jikaku 自覺)
  • Oldest daughter: Umikami 思龜 (born 1857-05-30)
  • Oldest son: Kōsoku 興則
  • Second son: Kō’ei 興榮
  • Second wife: Moushi 眞牛, daughter of Kabira Pēchin Kaki 川平親雲上嘉規 from the Yō-clan 楊氏
  • Third son: Koshō 興昌
  • Fourth son: Kōjun 興純
  • Fifth son: Kōken 興顯
  • Sixth son: Kōdo 興度

During the Era of King Shō Tai (rg. 1848 – 1872)

  • 1852-08-03: he tied up his topknot (coming of age)
  • 1864-12-06: Awarded the court rank of Chikudun Zashiki (grade 9b) 筑登之座敷
  • 1874-06-01: Serves as a clerk (hissha) of the Bureau of Shrines and Temples 寺社座筆者
  • 1876-06-01: Serves as a clerk (hissha) of the Bureau of Shrines and Temples 寺社座筆者, awarded the court rank of Yellow Hachimaki 黄冠

12. Generation Kōyō 興應

  • Childhood name:  Makamado 眞蒲戸
  • Chinese-style name: Yō Tōhō 雍騰芳
  • Born 1851-03-24 as the first son. Originally he was the oldest son of Iha Chikudun Pēchin Kōhō (Yō Shintatsu) 伊波筑登之親雲上興峯 (雍振達) and mother Makatu 眞嘉戸, the daughter of Arime Chikudun Pēchin Kentei from the Yō-clan 葉氏有銘筑登之親雲上兼定.  Since his uncle Iha Chikudun Pēchin Kōshi (Yō Shinki) 伊波筑登之親雲上興址 (雍振起) had no successor, he was designated his heir on 1867-03-09.
  • Father: Kōshi 興址
  • Mother: Umikami 思龜 from the Yō-clan 容氏
  • Wife: Makatu 眞嘉戸, daughter of Tōma Pēchin Kahei from the Yō-clan 楊氏當間親雲上嘉平
  • Oldest daughter: Umikami 思龜 (born 1872-09-12)
  • Second daughter: Makatu 眞嘉戸 (born 1875-08-29)

During the Era of King Shō Tai (rg. 1848 – 1872)

  • 1866-02-05: He tied up his topknot (coming of age)
  • 1868-03-15: Awarded a letter of recommendation: [because he lent 10,000 kanmon (a monetary unit) to the “crown ship office,” which urgently needed money for the visit of the Chinese investiture envoys (sappōshi)]
  • 1875-12-01: Awarded the court rank of Chikudun Zashiki (grade 9b) 筑登之座敷

13. Generation: Kōshū 興修

  • Childhood name:  Umikana 思加那
  • Chinese-style name: Yō Eishō 雍永昌
  • Born 1855-04-10 as the first son
  • Father: Kōboku 興睦
  • Mother:  Makamado 眞蒲戸 from the Yō-clan 雍氏

During the Era of King Shō Tai (rg. 1848 – 1872)

  • 1869-08-10: he tied up his topknot (coming of age)

13. Generation: Kōgi 興義

  • Childhood name:  Makamado 眞蒲戸
  • Chinese-style name: Yō Eikichi 雍永吉
  • Born 1858-03-10 as the second son
  • Father: Kōboku 興睦
  • Mother:  Makamado 眞蒲戸from the Yō-clan 雍氏

During the Era of King Shō Tai (rg. 1848 – 1872)

  • 1872-01-11: he tied up his topknot (coming of age)

13. Generation: Kōkō 興厚

  • Childhood name:  Matsugani 松金
  • Chinese-style name: Yō Eikō 雍永功
  • Born 1860-10-23 as the third son
  • Father: Kōboku 興睦
  • Mother: Makamado 眞蒲戸 from the Yō-clan 雍氏

During the Era of King Shō Tai (rg. 1848 – 1872)

  • 1874-01-08: he tied up his topknot (coming of age)

13. Generation: Kōsoku 興則

  • Childhood name:  Umikana 思加那
  • Chinese-style name: Yō Seitai 雍成大
  • Born 1864-09-27 as the first son
  • Father: Kōyo 興於
  • Mother:  Mazuru 眞鶴 from the Ryō-clan 梁氏

13. Generation: Kō’ei 興榮

  • Childhood name:  Matsugani 松金
  • Chinese-style name: Yō Seishō 雍成章
  • Born 1866-11-25 as the second son
  • Father: Kōyo 興於
  • Mother:  Mazuru 眞鶴 from the Ryō-clan 梁氏

13. Generation: Koshō 興昌

  • Childhood name:  Makamado 眞蒲戸
  • Chinese-style name: Yō Seikō 雍成功
  • Born 1872-10-04 as the third son
  • Father: Kōyo 興於
  • Mother: Moushi 眞牛 from the Yō-clan 楊氏

13. Generation: Kōtatsu 興達

  • Childhood name: Tarugani 樽金
  • Chinese-style name: Yō Eishō 雍永彰
  • Born 1873-06-21 as the fourth son
  • Father: Kōboku 興睦
  • Mother:  Umitu 思戸 from the Kan-clan 咸氏

13. Generation: Kōjun 興純

  • Childhood name: Tarugani 樽金
  • Chinese-style name: Yō Seishō 雍成璋
  • Born 1875-03-13 as the fourth son
  • Father: Kōyo 興於
  • Mother: Moushi 眞牛 from the Yō-clan 楊氏

13. Generation: Kōken 興顯

  • Childhood name: Umikami 思龜
  • Chinese-style name: Yō Seikei 雍成圭
  • Born 1876-10-11 as the fifth son
  • Father: Kōyo 興於
  • Mother: Moushi 眞牛 from the Yō-clan 楊氏

13. Generation: Kōdo 興度

section is missing

END

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The Technical System of Shōtōkan-ryū

“The Technical System of Shōtōkan-ryū” was published as an appendix to the 1986 book by Gima Shinkin und Fujiwara Ryōzō (Taidan – Kindai Karate-dō no Rekishi wo Kataru. Bēsubōru Magajin-sha, Tōkyō 1986).

Gima Shinkin (1896-1989) was born in Okinawa and studied under Itosu Ankō and Yabu Kentsū. After graduation he went to Tōkyō and studied at Tōkyō Shōka Daigaku. Later he met Funakoshi Gichin and became one of his most original mainland students.

When Funakoshi came to Tōkyō in 1922, Gima Shinkin was already a black belt in jūdō. In fact, Funakoshi’s notorious “nine lost throws” might well have been derivations of jūdō or jūjutsu throws, like in case of Byōbu-daoshi (= Ō-soto-gari), Ude-wa (= Morote-gari), or Yari-dama (= Kakae-nage). Moreover, these throws were actually never “lost,” but handed down in Gima’s Shōtōkan-ryū.

When Kanō Jigorō invited Funakoshi to present Karate at the Kōdōkan in 1922, Gima acted as Funakoshi’s partner. Gima, a black belt in jūdō, had a jūdō uniform and a black belt, but Funakoshi did not have either. Instead, Funakoshi had tailored a uniform for himself AND for Gima the night before, so this is what they wore on that day. Funakoshi also was given a black belt on Kanō’s order. This should be sufficient to show how close Gima was to Funakoshi.

Gima peforming "lost" throws in 1967.

Gima peforming “lost” throws in 1967.

Gima was also active in the postwar revival of Karate well into the 1960s in major associations. But he never became mainstream and in fact all seniors one by one left the mainstream “Karate movement” of the time; those who not only “lost” Funakoshi’s nine throws but also added kata as the wished, created, dropped, and added whatever they liked or needed for more medals and fame, even confused Dai and Sho all the time and to this day are failing to offer an explanation, leaving millions of interested Western Karateka in a limbo of nescience while swaggering around like peacocks.

Well, Gima’s description of his “Technical System of Shōtōkan-ryū” allows a simple comparison. For example, the following are the 15 solo Kata described by Gima & Fujiwara in 1986. There should be no doubt that these were the Kata taught by Funakoshi, and nothing more. So next time you can ask your master about the origin of Unsu, or Gojushiho (Dai and Sho), Passai Sho, Wankan… Good luck.

Solo Kata (15 types)

  1. Heian Shodan 平安初段.
  2. Heian Nidan 平安二段.
  3. Heian Sandan 平安三段.
  4. Heian Yondan 平安四段.
  5. Heian Godan 平安五段.
  6. Bassai (Passai Dai) 抜寒(パッサイ・大).
  7. Kankū (Kūsankū) 観空(クーサンクー).
  8. Enpi (Wanshū) 燕飛(ワンシュウ).
  9. Gankaku (Chintō) 岩鶴(チントウ).
  10. Jitte 十手(ジッテ).
  11. Hangetsu (Sēshan) 半月(セーシャン).
  12. Tekki Shodan (Naihanchi) 鉄騎初段(ナイハンチ).
  13. Tekki Nidan 鉄騎二段
  14. Tekki Sandan 鉄騎三段.
  15. Jion 慈恩 (ジオン).

Besides these, there are 6 stances, 14 hand techniques, 15 foot techniques, 33 types of basic kumite, 6 types of iaidori, the 9 “lost” throws, 5 dagger-capturings, 3 long sword-capturings, 6 long staff-capturings, 14 types of self-defense for girls, and 40 vital points.

P.S. Yes, I think we deserve an explanation.

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The Big Dipper

Take a look at the below depiction. It describes the division of the blade according to Italian and German style fencing from the 16th – 17th centuries.

The Italian style has a 4-part-division of the blade, namely in full-strength (1a), half-strength (1b), half-weak (1c), and full-weak (1d).

The German style has a 3-part-division of the blade, namely in full-strength (2a), half-strength (2b), and full-weak (2c).

From early 17th century German rapier manual.

From early 17th century German rapier manual.

In easy words: in fencing, the blades of the opponents are often connected and an extremely delicate and masterful handicraft is used to feel and push and evade and entrap etc. and to anticipate the opponent’s blade, and act accordingly – before, while, or after. The longer away the point of blade-contact is from your hand, the less power you can apply. It’s that easy and of course you know this, even if you’re not able to tactically apply such knowledge in an actual confrontation (yet).

In the Mugai-ryu style of classical Japanese swordplay there is a two-person wooden-sword drill called Hokuto 北斗 (lit.: the Big Dipper). Similar to many other kata in the martial arts, Hokuto is not simply a technique, a combination, or a show of some skill, and most importantly it is not some bravado for the predetermined winner in the set fight, quite on the contrary: It teaches an important concept, in fact the one shown in the above fencing manual.

Taking the Italian style as a reference, in Hokuto, the teacher provides the student with a strike, which the student blocks. With the blades remaining connected, both parties now attempt to push the other back – only the teacher uses his full-weak (1d), while the student uses his full-strength (1a). In this way the kata allows the teacher to instruct the student about the importance and execution of this important principle. Note that the teacher is the “loser” in this mock battle. Why? Because he teaches the concept to the student. This is old-style and if you cannot trust and if you cannot lose, you probably cannot be a martial arts teacher in the classical sense. Of course the teacher would have the answer, but first you teach by demonstrating the mistakes and letting the student take advantage of it. That’s also the sole heroic way of teaching, much better than the unworthy but often seen act of bending and nudging the poor pupil’s bodies into various grotesque positions and tell them how great they look. FAIL!

Well, to continue, you actually don’t see the described action regularly performed in Hokuto, but I am not familiar with the reasons for this lack. Fact is, I see people who just mock push the swords against each others‘ without taking into account any of the above described important principles.

In any case, kata are characterized to include such important universal principles – mostly basic physics – and this is what you want to look for, preferably by consulting a knowledgable teacher. Kata are NOT characterized by random series of ever faster techniques in ever deeper stances… Understanding these things is a part of what is sometimes referred to as shingi 神技 or supernatural skill. This very designation shows you – as obvious and logical as it may seem – that obviously back in the days only a few people ever understood such things. And this might also simply be the reason for the emphasis on kihon and kihon and more kihon, as well as hardening and body building, although it is not our fault that those before us simply often didn’t get it, or is it?

Naturally, such principles as above are found in bōjutsu and other kobudō as well as in empty-handed kata. Once you think about it, you will recognize it is everywhere. It is just, you rarely hear about it. Tell me, when exactly did your sensei explain this to you? Or is your rank still too low for such a secret? 😀 Forget it: most of it you know already yourself, it just needs be activated by demonstration!

Such are the things you work on in the kata and try to implement in kumite (i.e. kata bunkai, not sundome shiai-kumite). And this is what is transported in the specific kihon of specific schools. And this is why there are indeed traditions and schools (ryūha) in martial arts.

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On Tīshimi and Tī

teiDuring his period of government service, Tei Junsoku 程順則 (1663–1734) traveled to Qing China four times, and one time to the Japanese capital of Edo. Later he was promoted to Sanshikan of the royal government in Shuri and awarded the post of principal administrator (sōjitō 惣地頭) of the lands of Nago, hence the title Nago Uēkata 名護親方. He also established the first Ryūkyūan state school called Meirindō 明倫堂, built at his own request in 1718 in Kumemura.

Junsoku composed a short lyrical song, the wording of which is as follows:

Tīshimi suguritin, Chi nu za suguritin, Chimu do chimu sada me, Shike nu nare ya.

ti 1

This is interpreted as:

“As much you may distinguish yourself in the art of Tī (martial arts) and in scholarship; nothing is more important than the heart as the seat of the mind, as demonstrated in everyday behavior.”

This poem begins with the expression Tīshimi 手墨, that is, literally hand and ink. The same term is also found in a traditional island song (shima-uta) called Jūban Kuduchi 十番口説 (Ten Oral Teachings), stemming  from the late 17th to early 18th centuries.

It goes:

Niban samurē nu dē ichi ya, Tīshimi gakumun yuku narati, Ufuya ni kōkō medei shushi.

ti 2

This is interpreted as:

“The most important task of the Samurē is the study of both the martial arts and the sciences, to show filial piety towards their parents, and to be of use for the royal family.”

Here too Tīshimi is similarly interpreted as an equivalent to Bunbu-ryōdō.

In Karate circles the first character Tī is considered to refer to a historical form of Karate. Similarly, Shimi – literally “ink” – is interpreted as the sciences, scholarship, the literary studies. In this way the expression Tīshimi is considered to be analogous to the term Bunbu 文武, that is to say, scientific scholarship and art of war in unitas. The theory that Tōdī developed from a previously existent Tī and the theory of the existence of the Bunbu-ryōdō 文武両道 (proficiency in scholarship as well as in the arts of war) in Ryūkyū to a large part are solely based on the above assumptions.

However, the characters for Tīshimi were used to describe handwritten documents in ancient works of China, such as in the Songshu 宋書, the Xin Tangshu 新唐書, and the Chongzhong Lunwen Zhaibilu 重論文齋筆録.

Therefore, Tīshimi might simply mean “hand and ink” and literally refer to “handwriting.”

So, when was the theory of  first formulated?

I don’t know exactly but the first time the above noted two theories on Tīshimi appeared in publication appear to be the article “On the History of Karate-dō” by Nagamine Shōshin, published 1966 in the magazine of the Karate-dō Study Group of Ryūkyū University.

Nagamine Shoshin's 1966 article (excerpt).

Nagamine Shoshin’s 1966 article (excerpt).

In the future it would be interesting to find out more exact dates and references on the development of the theory of . Because, and while it sure makes a great story, otherwise will be dated back further and further with every new publication about the historical predecessors of Karate. So Nagamine’s 1966 article might serve as a first benchmark to work with.

 

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Konishi Yasuhiro 小西康裕

Previously I wrote about Bōgu-tsuki Karate or “karate with protective equipment.” Afterwards Terry Wingrove sensei provided his eyewitness account from 1968 or 69. According to this account, at that time Gima Shinkin (Shotōkan-ryū) and Konishi Yasuhiro were discussing Bōgu-tsuki karate. It was agreed that Konishi Yasuhiro was the first person who tested protective gear and this was prior to Mabuni Kenwa’s tests. The discussion in fact touched the question of who adapted kendō armour (with padding), who actually had a specific armor made, and what the efficacy of absorbing punching power was.

Because of this I’d like to provide a short overview of Konishi Yasuhiro’s outstanding martial arts career.

Konishi Yasuhiro 小西康裕

Konishi Yasuhiro (1893–1983) was a Japanese Karate practitioner and Budōka. He founded the Shindō Jinen-ryū and was the first generation vice president of the (old) Zen Nihon Karate-dō Renmei (today’s Renbukai).

Personal History

Born 1893 in Takamatsu City in Kagawa Prefecture. His real name is Ryōsuke 良助. During elementary school he studied Takenouchi-ryū Koshi-no-mawari 竹内流腰廻 from Takeuchi Roku 竹内緑, Musō-ryū Jūjutsu 無双流柔術 from Matui Sanzō 松井三蔵, and Jikishinkage-ryū Kenjutsu 直心影流剣術 from Inoue Masahiro 井上正広. During his junior high school period he studied Jūdō from Okano Kōtarō 岡野好太郎 (10th dan), Takenouchi-ryū 竹内流 from Takenouchi Hyōei 竹内兵衛, and Kendō from Uehara Sōkurō 上原宗九郎 and from Ueda Heitarō 植田平太郎 (1877–1949).

After entering Keiō University (Keiō Gijuku Daigaku 慶應義塾大学) in 1913, he joined the university Kendō Club where he studied under Shindai Tadaatsu 真貝忠篤 (1842–1922, Kubota-ha Tamiya-ryū 窪田派田宮流). In addition he entered the Yūshinkan dōjō under Nakayama Hakudō 中山博道 (1872–1958), where he trained Shindō Musō-ryū Kenjutsu 神道無念流剣術.

At the Keiō Kendō Club he also met an Okinawan club member and became interested in Karate after seeing the dance that mimicked the form Kūsankū. In July 1922 he received the 5th Dan in Jūdō by Takahashi Kazuyoshi 高橋数良 and in January 1924 (or maybe oherwise in 1927) he opened the Ryōbukan Konishi Dōjō 良武館小西道場, where he began to teach Kendō and Judō and the like. In the same year (1924), he was awarded a Seirensho (see explanation below) in Kendō from the Dai Nippon Butokukai 大日本武徳会.

When he met Funakoshi Gichin in June 1925, he was finally able to learn Karate. However, since its contents was only Kata, together with Ōtsuka Hironori 大塚博紀 (1892–1982, founder of Wadō-ryū Karate-dō and Jūjutsu Kenpō) who was also a disciple of Funakoshi, Konishi began to devise Yakusoku Kumite 約束組手 and the like. Later Konishi studied Karate with Motobu Chōki and Mabuni Kenwa.

Konishi Yasuhiro on the cover of Gekkan Karate-do magazine.

Konishi Yasuhiro on the cover of Gekkan Karate-do magazine.

Afterwards he studied Aikidō (at that time Daitō-ryū 大東流) from Ueshiba Morihei 植芝盛平 (1883–1969) as well as Nanban Sattō-ryū Kenpō 南蛮殺到流拳法 from Fujita Seiko 藤田西湖 (1899–1966). In addition he studied many Jūjutsu schools such as Yōshin Koryū Jūjutsu 揚心古流柔術、Shiba Shinyō-ryū Jūjutsu 柴真楊流柔術, Fusen-ryū Jūjutsu 不遷流柔術, Yagyū Shingan-ryū 柳生心眼流. As the culmination of all of the above, in 1933 he established the Shindō Jinen-ryū Karate-jutsu .

At the time of the establishment of the (old) Zen Nihon Karate-dō Renmei (today’s Zen Nihon Karate-dō Renmei Renbukan) in 1959 he was appointed vice chairman.

About the Seirinsho 精錬証

The DNBTK was established on April 17, 1895, with Imperial Prince Komatsunomiya Akihito (1846–1903) as is president. From October 26 to 28, 1895, it held its 1st Butokusai Dai-enbukai 武徳祭大演武会. Nine hundred eighty-nine martial artists from all over the country participated. At this convention, particularly talented persons from each martial art were awarded the title called Seirensho. Chosen were 15 persons from Kenjutsu, 17 persons from Kyūjutsu, 6 persons from Jūjutsu, and 3 persons from Sōjutsu.

Until 1933 at each year’s Butokusai Dai-enbukai, the examiners would deliberateand issue Seirensho certificates after the end of the convention. In September 1914 the “Seirensho Juyorei” (精錬証授与例) were determined as criteria for selection. It should be noted that it had been determined to be awarded for any number of good fights at the convention, but in fact there was an unwritten law that no person shall be awarded a second time.

Until the enactment of the titles Hanshi 範士 and Kyōshi 教士 in 1902, the Seirensho was the highest award issued by the DNBTK. After the enactment of Hanshi and Kyōshi, with Kyōshi being a lower rank, the number of awards also increased, but all were treated the same treatment as if they had received the Seirensho.

Many members were of the opinion that Seirensho should become the official title, but in 1934 the Renshi 錬士 title was enacted in place of the Seirensho, and the Seirensho was abolished. It was also proposed to maintain the Seirensho, however, in order to not make the matter too complex it was abolished.

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Photo in the “Encyclopedia of Japan,” keyword “Karate”

It is not surprising that the “Encyclopedia of Japan” has an entry for the word “Karate.” It provides a good basic overview of Karate, with photos of Rika Usami, Motobu Choki, the Japanese national Kata team, Kyan Chotoku and many others. See here: 
Admittedly though I was DELIGHTED it also has below photo of HIROSHI SENSEI and ME, probably in 2010 or 11 I’d guess.
Well deserved, I’d say! 😉
The caption says "Karate Sai (traditional Okinawan weapon) and Karate Bo (Traditional Karate Stick)." I'd say "Why you didn't ask? It is not a Karate Sai!" ;)

The caption says “Karate Sai (traditional Okinawan weapon) and Karate Bo (Traditional Karate Stick).” I’d say “Why you didn’t ask? It is not a Karate Sai!” ;)

In the picture, the photos on the wall show, from right to left:
1.) Yabiku Mōden, 2.) Funakoshi Gichin, 3.) Mabuni Kenwa, 4.) Taira Shinken, 5.) Akamine Eisuke, 6.) Higa Seiichirō, 7.) Higa Raisuke, 8.) Akamine Yōhei, 9.) Higa Jinsaburō.
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Timeline of Bōgu-tsuki Karate

Bōgu-tsuki Karate 防具付き空手 is one of various competition modi of Karate. It literally means “karate with protective equipment attached.” It refers to full-contact karate fights in which protective equipment is worn by the participants.

Termonilogy

As regards the term bōgu, while in Japanese koryū styles various kinds of protective equipment were developed and used for safe martial arts practice during the Edo era, there are no historical materials indicating that the term bōgu was used prior to the Meiji Restoration (1868). In Ryūkyū prior to 1872–79, too, there are no historical sources for the term bōgu and moreover there are also no sources that point to training using special protective equipment of any kind, except rare mentions of armor typically used by the military.

Actually the term bōgu came to be used during the Meiji Era (1868–1912), when the Japanese military was remodeled on the Western armies. In 1889 the “Textbook of Fencing” (Kenjutsu Kyohan 剣術教範) was compiled, outlining the official military methods of 1) kenjutsu, 2) guntō-jutsu (saber), and 3) jūkenjutsu (bayonet) adapted by the Japanese Imperial Army from their Western instructors. In part 3) jūkenjutsu (bayonet), it was stipulated that,

“Jūkenjutsu equipment can be divided into two types: the weapon, and the bōgu,”

and that

“The bōgu consists of men, [with tare attached], shoulder pads, and kote.”

This is the first known reference to the term bōgu in Japanese sources. Bōgu therefore referred to personal protective equipment used to practice Western-style military martial arts of the time.

The passage in question in the "Kenjutsu Kyohan" 剣術教範, 1889. National Diet Library.

The passage in question in the “Kenjutsu Kyohan” 剣術教範, 1889. National Diet Library.

Kinds

Bōgu-tsuki Karate is also called Bōgu Karate 防具空手 and Purotekuto Karate プロテクト空手 (protector karate). Among the Bōgu-tsuki Karate also exists the method called Kōshiki Karate 硬式空手 (hard-style karate) with its characteristic point addition scoring system, according to which continuous techniques are summed up continuously. Kōshiki Karate is one kind of Bōgu-tsuki Karate, but it is not the same. The term kōshiki 硬式 means “hard-style” and is particuarly used as a comparative term to denote a regular, not-softened version, like in baseball vs. softball, and tennis vs. softball-tennis.

Summary

Bōgu used in the Renshinkan (Zen Nihon Shōrin-ji-ryū Karate-dō Renmei). It is the oldest type used in Bōgu-tsuki Karate (except Kendō Bōgu, Baseball or other borrowed protective equipment). From left: head protector (men 面), chest protector (dō 胴), hand protector (kote 小手). Sometimes shin guards are also used.

Bōgu used in the Renshinkan (Zen Nihon Shōrin-ji-ryū Karate-dō Renmei). It is the oldest type used in Bōgu-tsuki Karate (except Kendō Bōgu, Baseball or other borrowed protective equipment). From left: head protector (men 面), chest protector (dō 胴), hand protector (kote 小手). Sometimes shin guards are also used.

Bōgu-tsuki Karate refers to kumite training and competitions carried out by participants wearing protective equipment and with actual impact of blows. While in the broad sense it is a kind of full contact karate, since the use of bōgu was originally part of some pre-war karate experts, and since the protective equipment (bōgu) and kumite rules were purposefully improved and perfected over many years in the postwar era, and since its implementation preceded the modern sundome (non-contact) modus, the organizations which practice Bōgu-tsuki Karate are classified as traditional schools of karate.

As a competition format of karate, the history of Bōgu-tsuki Karate is also older than that of the sundome (non-contact of the new JKF) as well as that of unprotected full contact rules (Kyokushin etc.). The first nation-wide tournament in the world of karate was also carried out under Bōgu-tsuki rules. However, since the establishment of the new JKF in the 1960s, sundome (non-contact) rules are the mainstream format seen in karate kumite.

In the public perception of karate, and mostly due to marketing activities and media coverage, Bōgu-tsuki Karate falls far back behind the modi of sundome (non-contact) of JKF/WKF and non-protector full-contact (Kyokushin etc.), which results in an oblique presentation of what karate actually was and is, or how karate became what it is today. Furthermore, as regards postwar Okinawa karate, it had been rarely observed that postwar bogu kumite in Okinawa also directly originated in the development of the Bōgu-tsuki Karate on the mainland. Therefore, in this article I attempt to rectify this oblique presentation.

Prewar activities

After Funakoshi Gichin attended the 1st Physical Education Exhibition in 1922, which was sponsored by the Ministry of Education, he took the opportunity and moved to Tōkyō to teach karate. In contrast to the training of karate in Okinawa, which emphasized the instruction of young people and students in kata, in the mainland the creation of promised sparring (yakusoku kumite) and the implementation of sparring matches (kumite shiai) were attempted.

Kumite at Tōkyō Imperial University in 1929.

Kumite at Tōkyō Imperial University in 1929.

In 1927 the Karate Kenkyūkai 唐手研究会 of Tōkyō Imperial University independently devised Bōgu-tsuki Karate and performed karate matches with it. This was spearheaded by Bō Hideo 坊秀男 (1904–1990), later president of the Wadōkai and Japanese Minister of Finance. Funakoshi, the shihan at the time, was enraged about this move. The situation escalated until in 1929 Funakoshi resigned as the shihan of the Tōkyō Imperial University. Funakoshi’s motivation to deny these karate matches is unknown, but according to his early disciples Ōtsuka Hironori 大塚博紀 (1892–1982; Wadō-ryū) and Konishi Yasuhiro 小西康裕 (Shindō Jinen-ryū 神道自然流), when Funakoshi in 1922 moved to Tōkyō he brought 15 original kata, which were all that he taught and he hardly knew any kumite.

Picture of Yabu Kentsū at Bogu-tsuki Kumite.

Picture of Yabu Kentsū at Bogu-tsuki Kumite.

On the other hand, in Okinawa kumite practice with protective equipment began with Yabu Kentsū (1866–1937) at the Okinawa Prefecture Normal School, and Miyagi Chōjun (1888–1953) is also said to have experimented with it. Moreover, there was Itosu’s student Tōyama Kanken 遠山寛賢, who moved to Tōkyō in 1931 and opened the Shūdōkan 修道舘 as a dōjō to teach legitimate Okinawa karate on the mainland. Originally established in front of Tōkyō Asakusa Ishihama Elementary School, it was moved to Meguro in 1937, where it housed a boarding dormitory for karate students. It should be noted that the dōjō was situated adjacent to the Hatoyama Nursery School, of which Toyama was the principal. A number of students of Toyama would later play a major role in the postwar development of Bōgu-tsuki Karate.

Taira Shinken wearing bōgu, according to Nakamoto Masahiro around 1932.

Taira Shinken wearing bōgu, according to Nakamoto Masahiro around 1932.

In addition, on the mainland such persons as Motobu Chōki (Motobu-ryū), Taira Shinken (Ryūkyū Kobudō, pre-Shōtōkan karate), Mabuni Kenwa (Shitō-ryū), Sawayama Muneomi 澤山宗海 (1906–1977; Nihon Kenpō), and Yamaguchi Gōgen (Gōjū-ryū) also researched Bōgu-tsuki Karate. While these attempts appear to have remained limited to personal studies, it is obvious that various karate practitioners of the pre-war days aimed towards a modus of direct blows fascilitated by wearing protective equipment.

Postwar development

Kanbukan

Following the miliary defeat of Imperial Japan in 1945, before long the birth of karate organizations began on the mainland, centered around those emphasizing protective equipment. There were the Kanbukan 韓武舘, the Yōseikan 養成館 (i.e. the later Chitōkai 千唐会), the Renshinkan 錬心舘 and others.

The Kanbukan was a karate dōjō in Tōkyō. It was one of the cradles of Bōgu-tsuki Karate. Established by leading disciples of Tōyama Kanken, and with his permission, it followed Tōyama’s non-school principle. Kumite was carried out in the form of Bōgu-tsuki Karate using kendō equipment. The leading role of the Kanbukan in Bōgu-tsuki Karate was spearheaded by deputy director Kinjō Hiroshi 金城裕 and director Yun Heui-byeong 尹曦炳.

Deputy director Kinjō Hiroshi was also the leading karate journalist of the postwar period. Kinjō had studied under Okuzato Shōgen, Chinen Sanda, Ōshiro Chōyo, Maehara Chotoku, Tokuda Anbun, and Hanashiro Chōmo and also received an instructor diploma (shihan menjō) by Tōyama Kanken.

Hui-byong Yun, 1948.

Hui-byong Yun, 1948.

Yun Heui-byeong was a disciple of Tōyama’s and of Korean nationality. It is said he was made director of the Kanbukan in order to allow for the practice and spread of karate under the postwar Budō ban stipulated by the GHQ. With a Korean director, various activities such as karate practice and publication of books and magazines were easily possible. In fact, the name Kanbukan means “House of Korean Martial Arts.” As regards this, Kinjō Hiroshi noted that “As a Korean national, director Yun in those days belonged to the privileged class of third country nationals.” It should be noted, though, that in fact karate seems not to have been considered under the Budō ban by the allies, which mainly targeted the old ideological networks. Kendō remained prohibited quite long, but jūdō was allowed again realtively early. On karate, there seems to be no mention at all in relation with the Budō ban.

Karate book published by Yun Heui-byeong and Kinjō Hiroshi in 1947.

Karate book published by Yun Heui-byeong and Kinjō Hiroshi in 1947.

Kinjō described Yun as “a young talented person interested in achieving something. Even though the years he was involved in the karate circles were comparatively few, the achievements he left behind are huge.” Moreover Kinjō stated, “I also think that for today’s karate circles this would be immediately unacceptable [because he was Korean].”

During his term as the director of the Kanbukan, Yun Heui-byeong published an address register of karate. Therein the Kanbukan dōjō was displayed under the name of “Kokusai Karate-dō Renmei Kanbukan” 国際空手道連盟韓武舘. In this, Yun anticipated the worldwide popularization of karate and was also the first who used this kind of naming convention, which is found abundantly today.

Due to the impact of the Korean War (1950 – 1953), Yun had to return to South Korea in 1949. Besides becoming a professor at Seoul National University, Yun also taught karate at the jūdō dōjō called the “Korea Kyūbukan” 朝鮮研武館 in Seoul and opened a karate dōjō called Chidōkan 智道館 in Busan. As the name for a Korean martial art he advocated the name Tae-su-do 跆手道, using the character hand “手” as in karate. However, instead the name Tae-kwon-do 跆拳道 became popular.

1954 – The development of the Karate-kūtā as the first Karate-specific protective equipment is finished. The 1st Nationwide Karate Championship is held according to armor rules. The tournament is still run and is therefore the national Karate tournament with the longest history.

1954 – The development of the Karate-kūtā as the first Karate-specific protective equipment is finished. The 1st Nationwide Karate Championship is held according to armor rules. The tournament is still run and is therefore the national Karate tournament with the longest history.

After Yun’s return to Korea in 1949, the Kanbukan closed in 1950. Although the Kanbukan existed merely 5 years it greatly contributed to the unbroken inheritance of the genealogy of budō karate in bypassing the budō ban of the GHQ immediately after Imperial Japan’s defeat in 1945. In addition, it was also a pioneer in kumite competition, is the predecessor organization of the Renbukai, and brought forth stalwarts of the karate world such as Sō Neichū 曺寧柱 as well as Sō Neichū’s disciple Ōyama Masutatsu, who would also show up at the Kanbukan and thrust the Makiwara etc. While Ōyama didn’t like protective equipment, the concept of direct strikes employed by the Kanbukan also affected Ōyama Masutatsu and thus the birth of Kyokushin karate. Moreover, the Kanbukan did not only preserve karate as a mere tradition, but also established a foundation for modern karate to develop for future generations. From these reasons the achievements of the Kanbukan are considered immeasurable in the history of postwar karate.

Renbukan and original (old) JKF

The Kanbukan’s successor institution was opened in 1951 under director Nakamura Norio and called Renbukan 錬武舘. It was situated inside the Onko-gakkai in Shibuya-ku, Hikawa-chō.

Sai Chōkō, influential Taiwanese business man, jūdōka, karateka, white crane boxer, supported the Renbukan, and became president of the (old) JKF. Below in the picture is Yamaguchi Gōgen.

Sai Chōkō, influential Taiwanese business man, jūdōka, karateka, white crane boxer, supported the Renbukan, and became president of the (old) JKF. Below in the picture is Yamaguchi Gōgen.

With the support of Taiwanese businessman Sai Chōkō 蔡長庚, the Renbukan aimed at the unification of the Japanese karate circles by way of Bōgu-tsuki Karate. In December 1954, in the auditorium of the Kyōritsu Joshi Gakuen, the first ever nation-wide karate tournament was hosted by the Renbukan, called “National Karate-dō Championship Series” (Zenkoku Karate-dō Senshuken Taikai). Of course, this was held under Bogu-tsuki Karate rules. Five years later, in 1959, the next stage saw the establishment of the original (old) Japan Karate Federation (JKF; Zen Nihon Karate-dō Renmei) as “a unified organization of karate that goes beyond schools thinking.” Many leading characters of the karate cirles at the time took office. Tōyama Kanken’s Shūdōkan served as the GHQ. President and largest supporter was the Taiwanese Sai Chōkō (White-Crane-Boxing, jūdō), vice presidents were Kinjō Hiroshi (former Kanbukan) and Konishi Yasuhiro (Shindō Jinen-ryū). Among the advisers were Ōtsuka Hironori (1892–1982; Wadō-ryū), Motobu Chōki’s student Yamada Tatsuo (Nihon Kenpō Karate-dō), Gima Shinkin (Shōtōkan-ryū) and others. On the board of directors was Tamotsu Isamu (Renshinkan) and others.

This old JKF a variety of schools and expand branches nationwide, including Okinawa. It organized the “All Japan Karate-dō Federation Championship Series” (Zen Nihon Karate-dō Renmei Senshuken Taikai) under Bōgu-tsuki rules, in which athletes of the Renshinkan, the Chitōkai, and from Okinawa also participated.

The new (current) JKF

In 1964 the (new) JKF (Zen Nihon Karate-do Renmei) with its current sundome rules was formed. The (old) JKF relinquished its name to this new JKF and affiliated with it under the name of Zen Nihon Karate-dō Renmei Renbukan. It was decided that the Renbukan henceforth should serve as a cooperation organization to oversee the Bōgu-tsuki Karate of the new JKF.

It should be noted that there are many different groups active in Bōgu-tsuki Karate and that it becomes more and more international.

Protective equipment (Bōgu 防具)

New Menhō VI von Mizuno.

New Menhō VI von Mizuno.

While in Sundome Karate protective equipment such as the menhō メンホー might also be used, in order to actually hit with full impact protective equipment in Bōgu-tsuki Karate has to be one that does not break and that prevents heavy impact on the brain. There are different kinds of protective equipment approved by the different federations and at tournaments. In addition, there is also tournaments that allow the use of Taekwondo trunk protectors. The main protective equipments used in Bōgu-tsuki Karate are referred to below.

Karate-kutā カラテクター

Completed in 1954, this protective equipment was used in the 1st national tournament of the Karate world, the “National Karate-dō Championship Series” (Zenkoku Karate-dō Senshuken Taikai). Still today it is the specified protective equipment of the Genwakai 玄和会. It was created in reference to Kendō protective equipment, but for the use in Karate, with raw materials mainly being cloth and leather. There were many problems such as safety issues due to cracks, sanitary issues like becoming moldy, heavy and hard to move with, old design, and its high price.

Strong Man (Sutorongu Man ストロングマン)

Renbukan Strong Man Bogu.

Renbukan Strong Man Bogu.

The specified protective equipment of the Renbukai developed from Kendō protective equipment → Karate-kutā (1954) → Strong Man (old model) (1981). It looks somewhat similar to Kendō protective equipment. It has been developed in order to overcome issues that arose with the Karate-kutā. The Strong Man (old model) was adopted as the specified protective equipment in 1981 for the 20th National Tournament.

Strong Man (old model).

Strong Man (old model).

However, due to its poor fit and other issues, and as the cushioning at the back of the head was thin, in case of a nasty blow or of someone would fall on the back of the head, the Strong Man (old model) still posed potential danger such as accidental deaths that had occured in the past. In fact currently, most of the athletes who are using the old model often insert a towel between the headgear at the back of the head and the jaw.

Most of the organizations other than the Renbukai adopted the “Super-safe”, which was developed around the same time (1981), and also not adopted the Strong Man due to pain during movement, discomfort, its old design etc.pp. In 2004 the Strong Man (new model) was developed with a padding at the back of the head (improved shock resistance), better breathability, and a feeling of correct fit, and moreover, the former range of vision which was previously confined was improved considerably. But there are still pros and cons, such as that the weight problem which has not yet been resolved. Among its characteristics is the iron grid masked viewing window which doesn’t break even at a serious impact. But, there is also the opinion that the danger of injury to the neck remains from the weight of the head gear when receiving a blow.

Strong Man (new model).

Strong Man (new model).

In addition, it has a narrower field of vision than the “Super-safe.” Due to the iron surface there is still the risk of injury during impact when the feet and fists are not trained on a regular basis. In addition, in 2007 a new chest protector ( 胴) model was released. It lost the mounting straps similar to those of the Kendō chest protector used until then, and besides adopted a bellows-kind of form which improved the feeling of correct fit.

Super-safe (Sūpāsēfū スーパーセーフ)

"New Supersafe" von Ryujin.

“New Supersafe” von Ryujin.

Face protector widely adopted in many organizations of Kōshiki Karate and Bōgu Karate. The “Super-safe” is also referred to as the “fishbowl helmet” (金魚鉢メット) and has a form of a kickboxing headguard to which a round transparent plastic face part is added. Besides Kōshiki Karate and Bōgu Karate it has also been adopted in various tournaments, for example at the Hokuto-ki 北斗旗 full contact tournament of the Daidō-juku 大道塾, it is sturdy and rarely cracks. It has a wide field of vision, light injuries are also few, although the plastic part is likely to become fogged. In addition, although the Strong Man absorbs the shock of the impact, since it protrudes to the front and the fighting distance is close, the chance of damage to the neck increases when arced hooks are used. The Super-safe is a product similar to the K-Protector (Kプロテクター) and the Shield-men (シールド面).

Others

The K-Protector is sold by Martial World (マーシャルワールド). In comparison to the Super-safe, its visibility is wider and it has a greater damage-absorption on impact to the head. But because with 750g it is heavier than the Super-safe (500g), in case of penetrating impact the potential damage to the neck is larger.

A prototype Adidas Shield-men at Tōyō Budō-gu.

A prototype Adidas Shield-men at Tōyō Budō-gu.

Shield-men is sold by Tōyō Budō-gu 東洋武道具 and has become the specified protective equipment of the Japan Protector Karate Federation (JPKF, Zenkoku Bōgu Karate-dō Renmei). Compared to the Super-safe (¥16,800) and K-Protector (¥15,540), the Shield-men is cheaper (¥13,650). In addition, the former two are tied with two strings at the back of the head, while the Shield-men is equipped with a velcro fastener which makes it easier to put on. Moreover, to mitigate the impact, a rubber tube is sowed to the jaw portion and it also has a protective padding attached on the top of the head. While the tube of the initial model got easily disconnected, the improved model has a rubber pad protecting the entire circumference of the shield part.

Chronology

  • 1922 – Funakoshi Gichin performed Kata at the “First Physical Education Exhibition” (1922).
  • 1927 – The Karate Kenkyūkai of Tōkyō Imperial University independently devised Bōgu-tsuki Karate and introduced Kumite practice with it.
  • 1929 – Funakoshi Gichin resigns as an instructor of Tōkyō Imperial University. It is said that he did so because he was furious about Bōgu-tsuki Kumite. According to his students Ōtsuka Hironori (Wadō-ryū) and Konishi Yasuhiro (Shindō Jinen-ryū), Funakoshi only taught 15 kata and [knew] no applications.
  • Around 1930 – Experiments with the use of protective equipment were carried out at the Karate Kenkyūkai of the Tōkyō Imperial University, by Mabuni Kenwa in Ōsaka, Yamaguchi Gōgen at the Ritsumeikan University in Kyōto, Miyagi Chōjun of Gōjū-ryū and others. In addition, in Okinawa for a period of time matches in protective equipment were carried out under the name of Okinawa Kenpō.
  • 1931 – Tōyama Kanken opens the Shūdōkan in Tōkyō.
  • 1945 – Kanbukan established by Yun Heui-byeong and Kinjō Hiroshi in Tōkyō metropolitan area Chiyoda-ku Kudan. Both were students of Tōyama Kanken.
  • 1946 – Beginning of Bōgu-tsuki Karate using Kendō protective equipment.
  • 1946 – The Yōseikan opens in the Waifu neighbourhood of Kikuchi district in Kumamoto prefecture. It later developed into the Chitōkai.
  • 1949 – Director Yun Heui-byeong returned to Korea, participated in the invention of Taekwondo.
  • 1950 – The Kanbukan closes.
  • 1951 – The Renbukan is established by Nakamura Norio inside the Onko-gakkai in Shibuyaku Hikawa-chō. It inherits and continues the Bōgu-tsuki Karate of the Kanbukan.
  • 1953 – Development of Karate protective equipment was begun to replace the previous Kendō protective equipment.
  • 1954 – The development of the Karate-kūtā as the first Karate-specific protective equipment is finished. 1st Nationwide Karate Championships are held according to armor rules. The tournament is still run and is therefore the national Karate tournament with the longest history.
  • 1955 – The Shōrin-ji-ryū Karate-dō Kenkyūkai Renshinkan is established in the Kōrai neighbourhood of Kagoshima City.
  • 1959 – With Tōyama Kanken’s Shūdōkan as its general headquarter, the (old) Zen Nihon Karate-dō Renmei is established. President Sai Chōkō, vice-presidents Kinjō Hiroshi (Kanbukan) and Konishi Yasuhiro (Shindō Jinen-ryū), advisers Ōtsuka Hironori (Wadō-ryū), Motobu Choki’s student Yamada Tatsuo (Nihon Kenpō), Gima Shinkin (Shōtōkan-ryū) and others. On the board of directors was also Tamotsu Isamu (Renshinkan) and others. Athletes from the Renshinkan and Chitōkai also entered the Bōgu-tsuki competitions.
  • Since the 2nd half of the 1950s – On Okinawa armored sparring matches were carried out apparently with the gear developed by Tamotsu Isamu of Renshinkan Shōrinji-ryū from Kendō protective gear. Tamotsu was the contact for Nakamura Shigeru, Nakazato Jōen, and Shimabukuro Zenryō for both the JKF and for Bōgu-tsuki Karate.
  • 1960 – Establishment of the “Zen Nihon Karate-dō Renmei – Okinawa District Special Headquarters.” President Shimabukuro Zenryō (1908–1969), board member Nakamura Shigeru (Okinawa Kenpō), counselors Kaneshima Shinsuke (Tōzan-ryū) and Yonaha Seiyu (Shōrin-ryū).
  • 1963 – within the western Japan region of the (old) JKF, an internal division occurrs. Factions from western Japan separated and formed the “Western Japan Karate Federation,” with Tamotsu Isamu of the Renshinkan as its president.
  • 1964 – For the sake of the development of the Karate circles, the Renbukan disponed the name “JKF” for the establishment of the current (new) JKF. The Renbukan becomes a cooperation organization. Sundome rules become the mainstream. Bōgu-tsuki Karate is continued in the Renbukai, but without continuation of the National Tournament.
  • 1967 – The Renshikan holds the “1st Shōrinji-ryū National Karate-dō Championship Series” in Kagoshima City.
  • 1967 – The “Zen Nihon Seishinkai” (Seishin-ryū) decides to adopt protective equipment and became a Bōgu-tsuki Karate
  • 1971 – the national Bōgu-tsuki Karate tournament is revived as the “All Japan Protective equipment-Wearing Karate-dō Championship Series.”
  • 1974 – The Renbukan changes its name to JKF Renbukan (Zen Nihon Karate-dō Renmei Renbukan).
  • 1978 – Inauguration of the “Organizing Committee for the Improvement of Armor.” It aims at the development of new protective equipment.
  • 1978 – Kudaka Masayuki develops the “Super-safe” protective gear.
  • 1978 – Renbukan’s Nakamura Norio resigns from his office as the vice president and leaves for the Renbukai.
  • 1980 – Start the “Tōhoku tournament.”
  • 1981 – The “Karate-kūtā” as the specified protective equipment of the Renbukai is replaced by the “Strong Man” protective equipment.
  • 1981 – The “Zen Nihon Kōshiki Karate-dō Renmei” is established and holds the “1st Zen Nihon Kōshiki Karate-dō Championship Series.” The Renbukan honbu dōjō resigns from the Renbukai.
  • 1981 – Start of the “All Japan Women’s Armor Karate Championships.”
  • 1983 – Development of “Strong Man” protective equipment for girls and boys is completed.
  • 1985 – The Renbukai opens its office in It opened an office in Tōkyō Shinjuku-ku, Shinjuku 4-chome.
  • 1985 – At the end of this years‘ “Okinawa Tournament,” Bōgu-tsuki Karate is disconnected from the Inter-High Tournaments.
  • 1985 – Due to the closure of the HQ of the Zen Nihon Seishinkai (Seishin-ryū) disintegration occurs. Each branch turns towards other styles or dissolves, or otherwise becomes a single dōjō
  • 1991 – On occasion of the passing of Suzuki Masafumi (1929–1991), the Zen Nihon Kōshiki Karate-dō Renmei splits up into the Nakamura-ha centered on Nakamura Norio (Renbukan) and the Kudaka-ha centered on Kudaka Masayuki (Shōrinji-ryū Kenkōkan). This dispute developed into a trademark rights issue over the designation “Zen Nihon Kōshiki Karate-dō Renmei.”
  • 1991 – The Chitōkai disjoins and began to walk its own route. The JKF Renbukan changes the tournament name to “National Protective equipment-Wearing Karate-dō Championship Series.”
  • 1999 – Centered around the Bōgu-tsuki Karate-dō federations of Tōkyō and Saitama Prefectures, the International Bōgu-tsuki Karate-dō Federation (Kokusai Bōgu-tsuki Karate-dō Renmei) is established. It branches off from the Renbukai and becomes an independent organization.
  • 2000 – Friendly competition between Renbukai and Kōshiki Karate at the “21st All Tōhoku and Hokkaidō Bōgu-tsuki Karate Tournament,” which was held as a rehearsal for the National Athletic Meet.
  • 2001 – Bōgu-tsuki Karate-dō performed as a demonstration contest under cooperation of the Renbukai during the “New Century Miyagi National Athletic Meet” (the 58th National Athletic Meet).
  • 2002 – Kakutō Dageki Renmei is established..
  • 2003 – Nakamura Norio retires from the Zen Nihon Kōshiki Karate-dō Renmei Nakamura-ha. Chiba Kenjirō (Gōbukan) took office as the second generation president. Since that time it is referred to as Chiba-ha.
  • 2003 – The 1st Kurokawa Cup Karate-dō Championship and Cultural Exchange Tournament is held.
  • 2003 – Nihon Bōgu Karate-dō Renmei is established, centered on Uesugi Katsumi, the deputy secretary-general of the Chiba-ha.
  • 2004 – A new model of the “Strong Man” protective equipment is adopted by the Renbukai.
  • 2006 – Founding of the “Zen Nihon Sēfutī Karate-dō Renmei.
  • 2006 – Founding of the All-Japan Bōgu Karate-dō Federation (Zen Nihon Bōgu Karate-dō Renmei). The “Nihon Bōgu Karate-dō Renmei” joins but their Kantō region branch leaves and joins/merges with the Kakutō Dageki Renmei.
  • 2006 – A symposium of nine organizations of Bōgu-tsuki Karate is held under the auspices of the Nihon Bōgu Karate-dō Renmei.
  • 2007 – The Zen Nihon Bōgu Karate-dō Renmei separates from the Tōkō Kyōkai and is reorganized as the Zenkoku Bōgu Karate-dō Renmei.
  • 2007 – The designation Kakutō Dageki Renmei is changed to Zen Nihon Kakutō Dageki Renmei.
  • 2009 – Among the Seishin-ryū factions that had split, with the Zen Nihon Seishinkai of Hokkaidō at its center the Zen Nihon Seishinkai Karate-dō Renmei is established.
  • 2012 – The 50th Nationwide Bōgu-tsuki Karate-dō Tournament is held. Alongside demonstrations of the JKF Shitō-kai and JKF Wadō-kai were showcased.
  • 2014 – The several sections of the Zen Nihon Kakutō Dageki Renmei are dissolved into the new organization called Zen Nihon Kakutō Dageki Karate-dō Renmei.
  • 2015 – “Prayer for Restoration after the Great East Japan Tōhoku Earthquake – All Japan Protective equipment-Wearing Karate-dō Championship Series” was held under supervision of the Renbukan’s Miyagi Prefecture Bōgu-tsuki Karate-dō Federation. The “Sekai Kōshiki Karate-dō Renmei” and “Kokusai Chitō-ryū Karate-dō Renmei” joined as sponsors.

The Renbukan with its Bōgu-tsuki Karate is still today one of 6 “Cooperation groups” of the JKF – together with JKF Gōjū-kai, JKF Shitō-kai, JKF Wadō-kai, JKA, and Nihon Karate Rengōkai.

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May I introduce myself? My name is Kanō Jigorō.

Out of personal interest I regularly surf the internet and also read, participate in and contribute in discussions in social media groups. One of the stereotypes found almost everywhere is what I would paraphrase as follows:

Gichin Funakoshi introduced and popularized karate on the main islands of Japan.

Needless to say, it is true that Funakoshi’s move to the mainland and his activities and publications were a milestone of Karate’s development. But did he really introduce Karate to mainland Japan?

In a broader sense, it is hard to argue against it, and why would I anyway? Yet, the verb “introduce” is often understood such as if he was the first to do so. The surrounding stories also imply that he made a deliberate decision to do so. In the end, we want an image of an autarkic person as positive and important as possible.

Yet, Funakoshi was not the first to introduce Karate to the mainland. Neither was it an individual undertaking detached from societal developments of the time, and this is true for Karate as a whole.

In fact, Karate circles — while showing respect at any time — partly appear to completely underestimate the influence of one person. This person is Kanō Jigorō (嘉納治五郎, 1860–1938). Without going into much detail about the sky-high influence and authority of Kanō — not only in comparison to Okinawan Karate persons of the time, but for Japanese Budō and sports in general — in the following I will just list some events which were important for Karate and which are directly or indirectly related to Kanō.

As regards the (first) introduction of Karate to the mainland, already in 1908 six students of the Middle School in Shuri participated in the 10th Youth Martial Demonstrations Meeting (Dai-jū-kai Seinen Daienbu Taikai). There they performed Karate in front of — guess who — Kanō Jigorō, as well as other visitors. This demonstration took place just a few years after Karate had become a compulsory subject at the Middle School in Shuri and in the same year when Itosu Ankō forwarded his “10 Precepts of Karate” to draw the attention of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of War. Kanō at that time was the director of Tōkyō Higher Normal School (Tōkyō Kōtō Shihan Gakkō) under exactly the same Ministry of Education, and this school was the national level pendant of the prefectural Shuri Normal School.

In 1910, on invitation by none else than Kanō Jigorō — ! — six students of the Shuri Middle School and their leading teachers visited Kanō’s Kōdōkan in Tōkyō. For about two hours they gave explanations of Karate, performed Kata, and broke boards in front of Kanō and other high-ranking masters.

May I introduce myself? My name is Kanō Jigorō.

May I introduce myself? My name is Kanō Jigorō.

In the following year, in June 1911, a “red vs white jūdō contest” took place at the Shuri Normal School. This “red vs white jūdō contest” (kōhaku-shiai 紅白試合) had been invented by Kanō Jigorō and by 1911 it was already a traditional tournament at the Kōdōkan in Tōkyō. Here it was adopted at the Shuri Normal School in 1911 and this was still during the lifetime of Itosu Ankō.

Motobu Chōki (1870 – 1944) moved to Ōsaka in 1921 and Funakoshi moved to Tōkyō in 1922. It was again none less than Kanō Jigorō who helped Funakoshi on various occasions and in various matters.

A few years later, in 1927, Kanō Jigorō visited Okinawa where he carried out an exchange with Karate persons and also gave a lecture about Jūdō. Among the persons who demonstrated in front of Kanō were Miyagi Chōjun and Mabuni Kenwa, and both performers received Kanō’s praise. It is therefore assumed that Mabuni’s move to the mainland might have been motivated by this meeting with and praise by Kanō.

I believe the above examples should give sufficient reason to reassess the roles of various individuals, as well as the role of institutions, in the process of the spread of Karate to the mainland – and particularly the role of Kanō Jigorō. To give you another incentive to do so: The first jūdō dōjō in Okinawa opened already in 1899 and was thus probably the first martial arts dōjō in a modern sense on Okinawa…

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The First Uniform and Black Belt in Karate

In the board-game of Go, Hon’inbō Dōsaku 本因坊道策 (1645-1702) created the first rank system. It had three ranks only: Meijin (9th dan), Jun-meijin (8th dan), and Jōzu (7th dan). Later this classification was enhanced to include nine dan 段 ranks. At that time there were was no distinction between professional players and amateurs, and there were no kyū ranks – the kyū ranks were only added during the Meiji era. Today beginners in Go who have just learned the game are usually placed at 30th kyū.

BTW, in 1682, the Ryūkyūan Go-player Hama Higa Pēchin played against above mentioned Hon’inbō Dōsaku, and if I am not mistaken, he was awarded rank for his good skill. Since this Hama Higa Pēchin is also considered the creator of Hama Higa no Sai, he would have been the first Okinawan martial artist with a dan rank… albeit in Go.

In August 1883 Kanō, in reference to the game of Go, conferred shodan (1st dan) on two of his disciples, Tomita Tsunejirō and Saigō Shirō, and it was decided that a dan-grade was to be represented by the color of the belt.

The kyū-grades in martial arts, on the other hand, originated the Metropolitan Police Department of Tōkyō, which introduced a kyū-system for Gekken (the predecessor-name of Kendō), ranging from 8th to 1st kyū.

From the above two, the Dai Nippon Butokukai adopted a combined dan-kyū-system, which it used for jūdō, kendō, and kyūdō.

Kanō Jigorō supported Funakoshi and invited him to present Karate at the Kōdōkan in 1922. Since it was a formal occasion, Funakoshi wore a suit tailored by himself in the fashion of a jūdō suit. Since Funakoshi had no rank at all, on personal instruction by Kanō he was bestowed a black belt from the stock of the Kōdōkan. And this can be considered the beginning of both karate-gi and the dan-kyū-system in Karate.

So the first person in Karate who was given — or awarded — a black belt was in fact Funakoshi Gichin. In the picture below, from Funakoshi’s 1925 book, you see the long self-sewn suit with short sleeves. Even the knot of the belt might point to jūdō, since it might have been a fashion at the Kōdōkan at the time – knots in the middle can simply be painful during ukemi and randori, as everybody knows. Anyway, after the demo at the Kōdōkan, Funakoshi used a black waistband instead of the black jūdō belt. Such a waistband can also be seen in the photo below.

It was in this way that Funkoshi established the practice uniform of karate based on the fashion of a jūdō suit, and he also established the ranking system by adopting the black belt from jūdō. Two years later he awarded the first black belts to his students.

The first black belt and dogi in Karate.

The first black belt and dogi in Karate.

BTW, one characteristic of post-1945 traditional Karate appears to be the lack of patches.

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The Charter of Karate-dō (inofficial translation)

The Charter of Karate-dō

Karate-dō developed in Okinawa as an original empty-handed martial art of Japan. Within the process of its dissemination inside Japan, and while it inherited the original spirit of the ancient Japanese martial ways (budō), it developed from combat techniques (jutsu) into a way of self-development ().

Besides for learning the martial skills and advancing one’s technical proficiency, budō developed into ways of spiritual development and methods of physical training, encourage a respectful and courteous demeanour, and strive to unify mind, technique and body.

These traditional values and spirit of budō were also inherited in karate-dō and play a considerable role in the formation of the personality of many Japanese who learn karate-dō.

Moreover, with karate-dō presently having spread throughout Japan as well as in countries all over the world, through international exchange it contributed significantly to the realization of world peace, and for nurturing a healthy and promising youth.

Not infatuated in mere technical ability only, and without forgetting that the essence of Karate-dō is based on the spirit of the budō, with high ethical standards we must strive to contribute to the maintenance and development of Japan‘s traditional culture, to emphasize courtesy and notable characteristics as Japanese people, to protect the rules of society, to contribute to society, and to nurture promising human resources who are respected by society.

It is with this hope that we here publish the “Karate Charter of the All Japan Karate Federation” as a basic guideline for the further development of karate-dō.

ARTICLE 1: Objective of Karate-dō

The objective of karate-dō is to forge a strong body, to cultivate one’s character, and to develop promising personalities both physically and mentally through the daily training of mind and body.

ARTICLE 2: Mental Attitude

Those who aspire to practice of karate-dō, in order to maintain its quality and dignity shall endeavor to cultivate the ethical norms that consists of courtesy, sense of justice, morality, self control, and courage.

ARTICLE 3: Practice

When training in karate-dō, practitioners must always act in accordance with the teaching that it “begins with courtesy, and ends with courtesy,” adhere to the prescribed fundamentals of the art, and strive towards the perfect unity of mind, body and technique in accordance to one’s technical proficiency.

ARTICLE 4: Competition

Whether competing in a kumite competition or a kata demonstration, exponents must fully exhibit the three qualities of heart, technique, physique (shin-gi-tai) as resulting from the regular practice. In kumite competitions one must always pay attention to safety, comply with the rules, win with modesty and accept defeat gracefully, and constantly exhibit self-control.

ARTICLE 5: The Practice Place

Do not forget that the practice place (dōjō, gymnasium, etc.) is a place of physical and mental discipline. Practitioners must strive to observe proper etiquette, maintain strict discipline, and maintain a quiet, clean, safe, and solemn environment.

ARTICLE 6: Teaching and Promotion

Teachers should always encourage others to strive to better themselves and diligently train their minds and bodies, while continuing to further their understanding of the technical principles. Teachers must consistently polish their personality with high ethical standards and must be persons respected by society.

In addition, when it comes to teaching, together with building a moderate teacher-student relationship based on a lot of respect and affection, teachers shall endeavor to harmonize strict practice and observation of safety.

When it comes to promotion, promoters shall endeavor to work on developing human resources that are respected by society, irrespective of age, gender, or the presence or absence of a disability, without being biased on technical skill, in a spirit of self-responsibility and fair play, with compassion and kindness for others, always complying with the norms and rules of society, and with a high sense of ethics.

(June 5, 2010)

Japan Karate Federation, Public Interest Incorporated Foundation

(Note: The original text can be found here on the webiste of the JKF)


karate_charter

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