Maxims and Memoires by Masters

Master MIKAMI recollects the first meeting with Grand Master Ohtsuka of WADO

My first meeting with the Grand Master was after the 4 greats-Masters Nakayama, Yamaguchi, Nishiyama, Iwata-got together once to get acquainted in a casual setting. Later the Grand Master visited Baton Rouge in Louisiana and I accompanied him to the destination as I teach close to where he visited.

On the way, the Grand Master shared a part of his experience in Karate with me. The Grand Master said, “I was teaching Karate as Budo at Tokyo University as Shihan-dai (Deputy Shihan) and was asked by a student on techniques in Karate. In answering to him, I explained some wisdom and understanding of other Budo techniques. I was not critical of Grand Master Funakoshi. No I never intended to criticize Master Funakoshi.”

The unintended animosity developed between the Grand Master (later he established WADO), and Grand Master Funakoshi, resulted Grand Master Ohtsuka to be expelled, in practice, from Grand Master Funakoshi's School. Grand Master mentioned to Master Mikami, “ I did not have any intention to be competing again Grand Master Funakoshi. I felt I can offer more understand of Budo to Karate that was emerging in mainland Japan as a Budo.”

Master Mikami still remember the words by Grand Master Ohtsuka. Grand Master Ohtsuka was a very open and free spirited Master and he would just tell his thoughts without hesitation.



 

Comments

Maxims & Memoirs

Unfortunately this has been a continuing history through martial arts. It is similar to having to let the kids leave home after many years of caring for them. It is too easy to treat a former student setting up on his own as a competitor and then to deride & exclude them. To me this is not Budo?

Look at the different associations for Wado that now exist for example. They fight between them as to who is "genuine" Wado. They all have their own nuances developed over the years. As a Wado Karate-ka from London originally I also trained in Shotokan briefly and in Kyukushinkai. Being 6 foot tall and 200lbs some features from both of these styles suit me maybe better than Wado.

The Katas in Shotokan and Wado are almost identical but some aspects are different such as a knife hand block in Wado maybe in a catstance and close in and in a back stance with a wider position in Shotokan - which is right? Both depending on the circumstance.

When I add in my training in Chi Kung, other Karate styles, some Judo, self defence training in the Royal Marines my influences on how I interpret Wado Ryu are bound to be different and labelled as "not Wado" - Miyamoto Musashi says the fundamental is the spirit.

As Funahoshi said sporting contest is not real so how would we measure whose style is "best". Most of us are never in a situation to test this unlike Musashi and his fellow Samurai.

Maxims & Memoirs

Unfortunately this has been a continuing history through martial arts. It is similar to having to let the kids leave home after many years of caring for them. It is too easy to treat a former student setting up on his own as a competitor and then to deride & exclude them. To me this is not Budo?

Look at the different associations for Wado that now exist for example. They fight between them as to who is "genuine" Wado. They all have their own nuances developed over the years. As a Wado Karate-ka from London originally I also trained in Shotokan briefly and in Kyukushinkai. Being 6 foot tall and 200lbs some features from both of these styles suit me maybe better than Wado.

The Katas in Shotokan and Wado are almost identical but some aspects are different such as a knife hand block in Wado maybe in a catstance and close in and in a back stance with a wider position in Shotokan - which is right? Both depending on the circumstance.

When I add in my training in Chi Kung, other Karate styles, some Judo, self defence training in the Royal Marines my influences on how I interpret Wado Ryu are bound to be different and labelled as "not Wado" - Miyamoto Musashi says the fundamental is the spirit.

As Funahoshi said sporting contest is not real so how would we measure whose style is "best". Most of us are never in a situation to test this unlike Musashi and his fellow Samurai.

Sword training - Iaido

Please bear in mind I only practised some Iaido back in 1974 for about a year so pardon my ignorance. I am now practising some kata and exercises with the help of Master Shimbukuro's Flashing Steel, some video and my experience in Karate-do and Tai Chi.

1. OK, in Karate we practise equally left and right handed but not apparently in Iaido?

2. Miyamoto said that using both hands for the long sword was the waste of a hand. He was famous for using the Wazashiki in the left hand and Daisho in the right? But there seem to be no kata for 2 swords.

3. The seiza kata - the long sword does not make sense as at meetings or in another's house the long sword would have been left at the gate so the Wazashiki would have been the weapon available - also a lot more practical from the seiza position and in a close combat situation.

4. In combat pistol and rifle (a modern martial art) we train left and right handed for the reason that if you lose the use of the right hand you can stay in the fight.

Another reason for me not liking the Seiza kata is arthritis in the knees!

Opinions and expert advice please?

Iai

Many more things are obscure; until one starts practicing Iai. Hanshi Shimabukuro would have a very clear explanation to each technique and most time in class he would give us such information. Flashing Steel is a good guide as well as both sets of DVD he was able to record with Black Belt Magazine. In regards to Seiza, his understanding was as well, very clear. All Seiza waza can be modified and done while standing. Of course much needs to be practiced in the dojo, to get the correct information on the subject.

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