1 Birth of a Budoka
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
At the age of six,
under the tutelage of his father, Ohtsuka Sensei began training in basic jiu
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
the style's Chief Instructor.
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
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.