Adapted from an open letter by Hironori Ohtsuka I
to all Wado-Ryu students about 2 years before his death.
the age of five years old, I was in very
poor health. It was then that I began my training in Jujitsu at the school of my
uncle, Sensei Chojiro Ehashi, the official martial arts instructor of the
Tsuchiura Clan. Since this time I have trained continuously until my present age
of 88 years. For this, I can heartily thank the traditional Samurai education
which was both gentle and strict. I also thank and pray for my dear mother
without whom I could never have succeeded in my deepest aims, I thank her
sincerely for always being near.
On my thirtieth birthday, Master Nakayama, the
third Grandmaster of Shinto Yoshin-Ryu Jujitsu, allowed me to learn the deepest
and most secret doctrines of our school. It was then that I succeeded him as the
Karate was becoming increasingly popular around
this time, and I began to study it's techniques from several eminent Okinawan
masters who had begun to teach in Tokyo. It occurred tome that there were many
fine attributes in the Okinawan systems, and so decided to blend these with the
finest elements of Shinto Yoshi-ryu Jujitsu and Aikido to create a genuine and original
Japanese martial-art. Through this process I developed KUMITE, GYAKUNAGE, IDORI,
TACHIAI, TANKEN-DORI, AND SHINKEN-SHIRAI-DORI.
Every year, for purposes of promoting the
Japanese martial-arts, the Butokuden in Kyoto held a national festival. In 1938,
the festival focused on the originators of each martial-art, however, no
originator of Japanese Karate had been identified. I named the originator of the
first true Japanese style of Karate-Do as Shiro-Yoshitoki Akiyama (the founder
of Shinto Yoshin-Ryu Jujitsu) and named this new style of Karate-Do, 'Wado-Ryu'
meaning: 'Japanese-way school' or also 'Peaceful-way school' since the Kangi
lettering for 'Wa' can mean both.
The fundamental meaning and original aims of
martial-arts is the promotion of Peace. To bring peace to society and to guard
against it's loss so that human beings can enjoy a happy life. We must strive
for peace in a world where it is increasingly difficult to achieve. We must not
simply rely on God's mercy to achieve it but must strive as individuals, with
all our will, to attain it. Immense spiritual and physical power is required so
we will not surrender to the difficulties and barriers which lie before us on
this journey The hard training in martial-arts aims to foster this dauntless,
indefatigable strength which is why the beauty of martial-arts training is
beyond the vicissitudes of mundane affairs."
In 1972, Hironori Ohtsuka I was awarded the rank
of 10th Dan by the Kokusai Budo-in (International Martial-arts Federation)
making him the first officially recognized 10th Dan master of Karate-Do in
Japan, the same status enjoyed by Kyuzo Mifune of Judo and Hakuko Nakayama of
Before his death at the age of ninety in 1982, he
abdicated his position as Grandmaster and nominated Jiro Ohtsuka, his eldest
son, as the second Grandmaster Hironori Ohtsuka II.