Monday, November 18, 2019

Styles, Systems, and Ryu Ha. A look at the development and metamorphosis of KenShiKai KaraTeDo.

There are many styles and organizations of KaraTe these days. Far too many to list here. However, I thought it may be interesting to take a look at the development and metamorphosis of one of the newer ones...

This is far from a complete history of this style. If anything, this is the abridged version.

Having recently featured our own Shihan Russell Bianca here on That's My Satori, I thought it apropos to write a piece about the fine group that he comes out of, and how it began.

When KaraTe was originally practiced in Okinawa, it was referred to as Te, meaning Hand.

Okinawa Te consisted of 3 separate entities, which were named after the location that they were practiced, Naha Te, Shuri Te, and Tomari Te.

Later, when KaraTe became more established, and was being introduced to Mainland Japan, these 3 types of KaraTe were given more distinct and descriptive names. Naha Te became GoJu Ryu, Toon Ryu, and Ueichi Ryu. Shuri Te became ShoRin Ryu, and Tomari Te became Okinawa Kenpo.

Once introduced to Japan through College KaraTe Clubs, Naha Te / GoJu Ryu was promoted by Gogen Yamaguchi and the GoJu Kai, while Shuri Te / ShoRin Ryu was promoted by Gichin Funakoshi and the ShoToKai.

The RitsumeiKan University KaraTe Club "GoJu Ryu" Captain, was Nei Chu So, a native of Korea, who became a Japanese national.

The Waseda University KaraTe Club "ShoToKai" Captain was Geiko Funakoshi, son of Gichin Funakoshi.

This was the beginning of the popularization of KaraTe in Mainland Japan.

Having been recognized by BuTokuKai as a legitimate Japanese Martial Art, KaraTe was thriving now in Mainland Japan, and being promoted through competition between the College KaraTe Teams.

A Korean born, now Japanese national, named Masutatsu Oyama studied KaraTe under these two afore mentioned Team Captains, first under Geiko Funakoshi of ShotoKai and later under his fellow Korean expatriate Nei Chu So.

After years of training in both ShoToKai and GoJu Ryu, Masutatsu Oyama formed his own brand of KaraTe that he named KyokuShinKai.

Proving his new style through many challenge matches, and demonstrations, Oyama's KyokuShinKai became very popular all over the world.

Oyama had two champion students, Shigeru Oyama, and Tadashi Nakamura, that he later sent to the United States to teach, spread, and promote his KyokuShinKai. They developed many champion students of their own, often bringing them back to Japan to fight in their teacher's tournament.

After many years of serving as Oyama's representatives, these two men made the decision to branch off on their own, respectively. Nakamura forming his own SeiDo Juku Organization in 1985, and Oyama forming USA Oyama KaraTe.

Both Organizations and teachers became quite successful in the West.

Nakamura had a student named William Oliver, who became a very well know champion of both the Oyama events, and on the New York tournament scene. He was also Nakamura's Chief Instructor.

Many will remember him being showcased in the movie Fighting Black Kings, which was a vehicle for Oyama's KyokuShinKai, and tournament.

After many years, serving as Chief Instructor at Nakamura's DoJo, William Oliver decided that it was time for him to do as his teacher did, and as his teacher's teacher did, and in 2001, moved on to form his own organization, KenShiKai KaraTeDo, with the help of his classmates / students, Monte Allen, Leighton Barker, Leroy Bennett, and Paul Sookdar.

On November 20, 2004 William Oliver passed away in his DoJo.

KenShiKai KaraTe Do is now prospering in the various DoJo in New York, and South Africa, that belong to this organization.

One of these DoJo, is The Brooklyn KenShiKai DoJo, headed by Shihan Russell Bianca.