Bridgwater Bushi Karate Club

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Established 1983

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Hironori Ohtsuka  - Courtesy of British Wadokai


Hironori Ohtsuka

Hironori-Ohtsuka (pictured left) was born in Shimodate City, Ibiragi, Japan on the 1st June 1892.

He was the first son of Tokujiro-Ohtsuka, who was a doctor of medicine. 1892 was also the year that the

Dai-Nippon-Butoku-Kai was established.


He started training under Chojiro-Ebashi, an uncle of his mother, in April 1897 at the age of four, a style of training

he would continue with, even at Waseda University in Tokyo.

In 1905 Ohtsuka-Hironori entered the Shimozuma middle school, where he started Shindo-Yoshin-ryu Ju-jutsu under

Tatsusaburo-Nakayama. In 1910 Ohtsuka-Hironori entered Waseda University to learn commerce. In 1917 he started

work at the Kawasaki bank, at this stage he was learning numerous styles of Ju-jutsu. Ohtsuka-Hironori met, and

became good friends, with the founder of Aikido, Morihei-Ueshiba. In May 1919 he became master of 'bone-setting technique'.

On the 1st of July 1921 he received his Shindo-Yoshin-ryu Ju-jutsu licence from Tatsusaburo-Nakayama, and so became the Highest Authority.

He started his Karate training with the famous Gichin-Funikoshi in July 1922, a style known as Karate-jutsu. Ohtsuka-Hironori met Funikoshi Sensei during a martial-arts demonstration at the Sports Festival organised by the Japanese Educational Department. Funikoshi Sensei agreed to teach Ohtsuka-Hironori all he knew about Okinawan Karate-jutsu, the lessons started that same day.

Within one year Ohtsuka-Hironori had studied all the Kata within the system. Even after this time Ohtsuka-Hironori could see the 'shortfall' in the Kata-only system. It was explained to him that all of the concepts of 'Budo' was within Kata, and that was the only aspect to train.

In 1924 Ohtsuka-Hironori introduced Yakusoku-gumite to the system, this concept of 'partner-work' revolutionised Karate-jutsu. He also developed Idori-no-kata, Tachiai-no-kata, and Shirahatori-no-kata. In 1928 he was 'Shindo-Yoshin-ryu Shihan', the Chief Instructor of his Shindo-Yoshin-ryu, he also set up a 'bone-setting' practice at this time. In 1929 he registered with the 'Nippon-Kobudo-Shinko-Kai', the Japanese Martial-arts Federation. In 1934 Ohtsuka-Hironori was recognised as an independent style, and started teaching full-time. Due to his dedication to Karate he had to close his 'bone-setting' business. In 1938 Ohtsuka-Hironori registered his new style as Shin-Shu-Wado-ryu. In 1939 all Karate styles were asked to register their systems with the 'Dai-Nippon-Butoku-Kai', Ohtsuka-Hironori named his style Wado-ryu. Other styles that registered were Goju-ryu, Shito-ryu, and Shoto-ryu (Shotokan-ryu). In 1940 on May the 5th the 'All Styles Karate Demonstrations' took place at Butoku-Den in Kyoto. All the major styles took part, these included Goju-ryu, Keishi-Kempo, Nippon-Kempo-ryu, Shito-ryu, Shoto-ryu, and Wado-ryu.  In 1944 Ohtsuka-Hironori was promoted to Chief Instructor of all Karate under the Dai-Nippon-Butoku-kai. In 1945 the Americans, at the end of the Second World War, disbanded all martial-arts. In 1951 all martial-arts were reinstated, after the signing of the American peace treaty with Japan. In 1955 the first Karate tournament took place, organised by Ohtsuka-Hironori, it was called the 'First All Japan Wado-ryu Karate Championships'. In 1964 'The All Japan Karate-do Federation' (JKF) was established. This same year Suzuki-Tatsuo, Arakawa-Toru, and Takashima-Hajime introduced Wado-ryu to Great Britain, Europe, and the United States of America. In 1966 Ohtsuka-Hironori was awarded 'Kun-Goto-Soukuo-Kyo-Kuju-jutsu-Sho' (similar to the OBE in Great Britain) from Emperor Hirohito for his dedication to Karate. In 1972 he was awarded the title of Meijin from Higashino-Kunino-Miya (a member of the Japanese royal family) President of the International Martial-arts Federation the 'Kokusai-Budo-Renmei'. Ohtsuka-Hironori was the first man in history to receive this the highest honour in martial-arts. For his services to Japanese martial-arts, and to honour his new position as the highest Karate Authority in Japan, he was awarded the Shiju-Hoosho medal from the Japanese Government, the only man in the history of Karate to be so honoured.


On the 29th of January 1982 Ohtsuka-Hironori Meijin died at the age 89, he had practised martial-arts for 85 years.

"The way to practise martial-arts is not for fighting. Always look for your own inner peace and harmony, search for it." Ohtsuka-Hironori.