Author Topic: Hironori Ohtsuka  (Read 5937 times)


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Hironori Ohtsuka
« on: October 13, 2009, 03:27:59 am »

Hironori Ohtsuka (1892-1982) was the creator and first Grand Master of the Japanese karate style Wado Ryu.

Ohtsuka was born on June 1 1892 in Shimodate City, Ibaraki, Japan. He began training in the martial art of Jujutsu under the tutelage of his great-uncle Chojiro Ebashi. In 1897 Ohtsuka's martial arts education was taken over by his father and he began studying Shindo Yoshin Ryu Jujutsu. At age thirteen Ohtsuka became the student of Shinzaburo Nakayama, at that point the third 'Grand Master' of Shindo Yoshin Ryu.

In 1922 Ohtsuka was first exposed to karate when he met and began training with Gichin Funakoshi, an Okinawan karate teacher who had learned the art of karate under Anko Itosu. Funakoshi was to become regarded as the "father of modern karate" and he is the founder of Shotokan. At this time Ohtsuka held the position of Chief Instructor in Shindo Yoshin Ryu Jujutsu. He also established a medical practice and specialized in treating injuries incurred while training in the martial arts.

Between 1922 and 1929, Ohtsuka became an assistant instructor in Gichin Funakoshi's school of karate, and also became a registered member of the Japan Martial Arts Federation.

At this time, Ohtsuka began to have philosophical disagreements with Funakoshi. This may have come, in part, from his decision to train with Motobu Choki, another Okinawan teaching karate in Japan at this time. The style of Okinawan karate taught by Funakoshi emphasized kata, a series of movements and techniques, linked together by the fighting principles that the kata expresses, represented as a set sequence of movements performed against an imagined opponent or group of opponents. Funakoshi did not believe that sparring and simulated combat between students was necessary for realistic training. However, Motobu emphasized the necessity for free application, and created a series of two man kumite (sparring) drills to accomplish this. Ohtsuka disagreed with Funakoshi, feeling that the spirit of realistic training demanded a more dynamic mix of training exercises. Ohtsuka began using kumite drills, inspired directly by Motobu sensei, as part of his karate instruction.

Ohtsuka followed through in his belief that karate needed to be more dynamic and fluid, and less rigid and strength-based. He stopped training with Gichin Funakoshi and in 1934 Ohtsuka's Wado Karate was recognized as an independent style.

In 1938 Wado-ryu Karate was officially registered with the Japan Martial Arts Federation, and Ohtsuka was awarded the rank of Renshi-go. in 1944, Ohtsuka was appointed "Chief Karate Instructor" of Japan. Through the years that followed, Ohtsuka continued to gain recognition as he expanded the teaching of Wado-ryu Karate throughout Japan and, in 1963, to the Americas and Europe.

In 1972, Ohtsuka received a historic award when he was given the title of Meijin and the rank of 10th Dan by the Royal Family's Higashi No Kuni no Miya, President of the prestigious Kokusai Budo Renmei (International Martial Arts Federation). It was the first such honor ever bestowed upon a karate teacher in Japan.

Hironori Ohtsuka, Meijin, first Grand Master of Wado-ryu Karate, continued to teach and lead the world of Wado-ryu Karate into the 1980s. He died peacefully on January 29, 1982. His son Jiro Ohtsuka became the second Grand Master of Wado Karate and honored his father by taking the name Hironori Ohtsuka II.
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Hironori Ohtsuka
« on: October 13, 2009, 03:27:59 am »
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