What's Wado Karate?

The Origins of Karate

The martial art of Karate comes from Okinawa which is one of the Ryukyu Islands at the southern tip of Japan. Karate is thought to have developed from Chinese martial arts imported into Okinawa combined with local fighting techniques. Okinawa had been occupied by mainland Japanese forces for many years. Occupying forces banned the islanders from possessing weapons. However, the Islanders remained fiercely independent and developed unarmed fighting techniques as well as learning to use common farming tools against swords and spears (for example, Nunchaku were small flails used to beat rice straw which were transformed into weapons by the Islanders and were made famous in modern times by Bruce Lee in his martial arts movies of the 1970's).

Karate Introduced to Mainland Japan

Karate was little known outside of Okinawa until as recently as the 1920's. In 1921 the Japanese Ministry of Education arranged a demonstration of ancient Japanese martial arts in Tokyo. An Okinawan school teacher, Gichin Funakoshi (1868 - 1957), was asked to travel to Tokyo to demonstrate the art of Karate. Funakoshi's demonstration was a great success and he was asked by Kano Jigoro (1860 - 1938), founder of modern Judo, to give another demonstration at the revered Kodokan judo centre. Funakoshi was subsequently pursuaded by a local painter, Kosugi Hoan, to remain in Tokyo and give lessons to members of his painters club. So, at the age of fifty-three Funakoshi began teaching Karate in Tokyo. Funakoshi's style of karate became known as Shotokan.

Hironori Ohtsuka's Way of Peace and Harmony

Hironori Ohtsuka (pictured left) founded Wado Ryu and was born in June, 1892. He started to practice Ju-Jitsu at the age of five and at the age of thirteen he joined the dojo of Tatsusaburo Nakayama, the third grandmaster of Shinto Yoshin Ryu Ju-Jitsu. After many years training he became the fourth grandmaster of Shinto Yoshin Ryu at the age of 29.

In the 1920's Master Ohtsuka began training in Okinawan Karate ("Tode") under Sensei's Gichin Funakoshi, Mabuni and Motobu. Master Ohtsuka combined Okinawan Karate with Ju-Jitsu to create Wado Ryu Karate Jitsu. Wado consists of two words 'Wa' meaning harmony or Japan and 'Do' meaning the way or path. 'Wado-Ryu Karate Jitsu' was official recognised and registered in Japan in 1934.

Master Ohtsuka also studied Yagyu Shinkage Ryu Kenjitsu - use of the sword (using: Tachi - long sword; Kodachi - short sword; and Tanto - knife). Master Ohtsuka passed away in 1982 at the age of 89.

The Wado Karate Federation

The Wado Karate Federation is headed by Sensei George Grimes 8th Dan Kyoshi Shihan (pictured left). Sensei Grimes started training in Wado Karate in Bristol in 1966. He formed the Wado Karate Federation in 1990. Sensei Grimes is one of the most widely respected Wado practitioners in the UK.

The Fudoshin Karate Club

The Fudoshin Karate Club was founded by Sensei Rob Windsor (3rd Dan). Rob started Karate in 1985 and passed his Black belt (1st Dan) examination in 1989. Rob passed his 2nd Dan in 1991 and his 3rd Dan in 2005.

Assistant Instructors at the club include: Phil Sears (1st Dan in 2005, 2nd Dan in 2012); and Jim Croucher (1st Dan in 2012).