What is Wado Ryu Karate ?
Wado Ryu Karate was founded by Hironori Ohtsuka (pictured below left and far right) during the 1920s and 1930s. Ohtsuka was born on 1st June 1892 in Shimodate City, Japan. At the age of 6 years he began to study 'Ju-Jitsu' with his Uncle, and at the age of 13 he started to study 'Shindo Yoshin Ryu Ju-Jitsu'.
In 1922, Ohtsuka went to Tokyo to visit Gichin Funakoshi, who introduced a new style of unarmed combat, called Karate (from Okinawa). In 1924, at the age of 31, Ohtsuka received the rank of Shodan (1st Dan black-belt).
Over the next decade or so, Ohtsuka experimented with incorporating all his martial-arts skills and introduced the concept of pre-arranged sparring, where both participants know in advance what attacks and defences are to be carried out, and free-fighting practice. In 1938, Ohtsuka's new style was accepted by the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai under the name of 'Wado Ryu Karate'.
The development of Wado Ryu was continued after the second world war, and in 1982, shortly before his 90th birthday, Hironori Ohtsuka died. Today, Wado Ryu is practised all over the world and is the second most popular style of Karate in Great Britain.
The name Wado Ryu means the "Way of Peace and Harmony". Wado is a light, fast style that uses natural movements. The style is build around nine basic katas: Pinan 1-5, Kushanku, Naihanchi, Seishan, and Chinto.