"I was born in 1965, the first son of the
present Grand Master Jiro Otsuka and grandson of Grand Master Hironori Otsuka
– Founder of Wado Ryu Karate.
My first experience of practicing Wado Ryu Karate was when I
was five years old, but it did not last long. It was difficult for a five year
old boy to accept the learning of a family business, particularly to study a
subject under my father, who had to treat me as one of his students and not to
give anyone special treatment during his karate class. Moreover, my father had
a belief in the saying that the father lion let his own children fall into the
unfathomable ravine and only the child who climbed up to the top would
succeed. Then he put the theory into practice on me.
I refused to practice karate when I turned six years old.
But, in order to quit the karate training, my father gave me a bargaining
point, which was that I had to start practicing the other martial arts. He
then put me into the Iai-do training (swordsmanship) and I practiced that for
eleven years. During those eleven years, I also practiced other martial arts
parallel with Iai-do such as Judo, Aiki-do, Ken-do and wrestling.
When I was admitted to the Tokai University, I joined the
Iaido Club at the University, and the club was well known as promoting
champions at the university level. Even then, I was chosen to be a regular
member of championship from the first year. My second time of the unfathomable
ravine was there.
About the same time, the members of the Wado-Ryu committee
began to be concerned about the Wado Ryu successor of the third generation not
being nominated. So, I had to start practicing Wado Ryu Karate again to submit
to my fate. There was a Wado Ryu Karate Club in the same university and it
made it easy to transfer to the karate world, except the Iai-do club did not
want me to part from them. The members of the karate club gave me a warm
welcome, because the son of the Grand Master of Wado Ryu was going to practice
with them, but I was not congenial with part of the alumnus of the club.
In 1981, the Wado Kai separated from the main body of Wado
Ryu. After that happened, there were still some dojos that had not
determined yet to which group they should belong.
Around 1983, the part of the alumnus from Tokai University
Karate Club had a scheme to take sides with Wado Kai. During the same period
of time, I participated in the club without knowing the facts. So, the four
years of my college life got into a mess. They tried to encourage me to drop
of the club quickly. For these reasons, I experienced a variety of hazing and
torment, but I did not give up by the halfway. Since then, thirteen years and
still the club does not belong to either side.
After graduating from Tokai University, I studied in America
where I met my wife Marie-Caroline from France. I currently hold the position
of Director of the Wado Ryu Honbu Dojo (headquarters) in Tokyo. Three times a
week, my father and I teach children and adults the finer points of Kata and
Kumite at the Honbu Dojo. Many people from all over Japan train with us here
and because we also teach in English, several international students have also
Written by Kazutaka Otsuka