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Wado-Ryu Karate

Wado-Ryu Karate

Grand Master Hironori OtsukaWado-Ryu Karate was founded by Hironori Otsuka who was born June 1, 1892 in Shimodate, Japan.  After first training with his father, he started formal training in Shinto Yoshin Ryu Jiu-Jitsu under Shinzaburo Nakayama at age thirteen. On his 29th birthday, Otsuka Sensei was presented a certificate of Full Proficiency, or, Menkyo Kaiden, in Shinto Yoshin Ryu art, and took over the mastership from Nakayama Sensei.

In 1922 Master Otsuka attended a demonstration by Okinawan karate master, Gichin Funakoshi. Funakoshi Sensei decided to stay in Japan to teach karate and Master Otsuka started training with him. He saw advantages of combining Funakoshi’s Shotokan karate, particularly the kata (formal exercises), with the techniques of Shinto Yoshin jiu-jitsu.

In the fall of 1934 Master Otsuka introduced his own style of karate. In 1940 at the request of the Butokakai, a martial arts governing body, the name Wado-Ryu Karate-Do (Way Of Peace) was officially recognized.

Master Otsuka’s was the Vice Chairman of the All Japan Karate-Do Federation and the director of the Japan Classical Martial Arts Promotion Society. In 1966, the Japanese government honored him with the Fifth Order of Merit, The Cordon of the Rising Sun, for his contributions to karate and in 1972, Master Otsuka was honored by Emperor Hirohito with the title of “Hanshi”, Master Instructor of Instructors.

Jiro Otsuka and father, Hironori Otsuka. Nashville, TN 1975Before his death on January 29, 1982, at age 89, he bequeathed his position as head of the Wado-Ryu system to his son Jiro Otsuka, who is the current Grand Master of Wado-Ryu Karate-Do.

In the United States, Wado-Ryu Karate was introduced by Cecil Patterson who trained in Iwakuni, Japan, while stationed there in the Navy in 1955. By the end of his tour Mr. Patterson had achieved the rank of Ni-Dan (2nd degree black belt). He returned to his home of Sevierville, Tennessee, became a police officer and taught self-defense to law enforcement officers and served as a criminal investigator.

In 1957 Mr. Patterson opened the first Wado-Ryu school in the eastern United States under the supervision of Master Hironori Otsuka who encouraged him to establish the United States Eastern Wado-Kai Federation. Today it is the United States Eastern Wado-Ryu Karate- Do Federation.

Mr. Patterson was named the “Father Of Karate for the state of Tennessee” in 1978 by the nineteenth general assembly of the state of Tennessee and held the rank of eighth dan under Master Otsuka, the highest rank ever awarded a non-Japanese practitioner. Since his death in 2002, Mr. Patterson’s oldest son, John, has headed the United States Eastern Wado-Ryu Karate Federation.  John Patterson oversees all activities of the U.S. Eastern Wado-Ryu Karate Federation and its dojos in thirteen states.

"A good soldier is not violent. A good fighter is not angry. A good winner is not vengeful."

-Lao Tzu

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