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Chapter 1   Birth of a Budoka

It would be virtually impossible to discuss and trace the history and origins of Wado Ryu Karatedo without discussing and tracing the life and martial art of its founder, O'Sensei Hironori Ohtsuka. The two cannot be separated, nor should they viewed apart. Like the cloth of a finely sewn scroll or dogi, the two are inexorably woven together -- Ohtsuka Sensei is Wado; Wado is Ohtsuka Sensei.

At the age of six, under the tutelage of his father, Ohtsuka Sensei began training in basic jiu jitsu. As his studies progressed, his seemingly natural abilities grew commensurately, eventually bringing his father to the realization that there was nothing further he could teach the boy. If he was to continue, he must do so under the instruction of someone with abilities that surpassed his own. That someone was Yokiyoshi Tatsusaburo Nakayama; a renowned master of Shindo Yoshin Ryu Jiujutsu, and the style's Chief Instructor.

And so, at the age of thirteen, Ohtsuka Sensei began his formal training in earnest. Sixteen years later -- sixteen years spent in rigorous, austere training and complete devotion to the art that had become so much a part of Hironori Ohtsuka's life -- Nakayama Sensei presented him with the Menkyo Kaiden, or certificate, of Full Proficiency in the art of Shindo Yoshin Ryu Jujutsu, naming him at the same time as his successor. It was an auspicious date; June 1st, 1921, Ohtsuka's 29th birthday. 

It was clear now that the path of his life had been chosen -- the path of Budo. But within months, that path would take its first turn; a turn that would bring the young Jujutsuka face to face with a man from the Island of Okinawa who would later earn the title of the Father of Modern Karate; Gichin Funakoshi.

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