As the World of Kojo-ryu Turns

Kojo-ryu, Vancouvr, BC, Kitsilano, Goju-ryu, Martial Arts, Lessons
Kojo Shigeru & Yamada Michio

In all honesty, I must be “a few bricks short of a load” as my Irish father would say to be talking about Kojo-ryu as it seems to bring out the worst of Karateka who supposedly practice or support the style. But maybe that is exactly the reason why I write about it because it pulls the internet Karate trolls from the woodwork and into the daylight. 

At any rate, it seems the drama in Kojo-ryu is never ending. As readers of this blog are probably well aware, a video was released earlier this year by Okinawa BBTV showing the main kata of Kojo-ryu featuring Hayashi Shingo and his students. The “phantom” Karate style was no longer hidden in the shadows after the video was released. It caused a bit of an uproar among Karateka outside of Japan who quickly denounced it as not ‘true’ Kojo-ryu; whatever that means.

Well, it seems that this video also struck a nerve in Yamada Michio. So much so to write about it in his blog. From what I can piece together, Yamada, 8th dan, was a senior student of the 6th Soke Kojo Kafu, and appears to be in contact with the Kojo family to this day (more on that in a later blog post). Ironically, he also lives in Tottori prefecture where Hayashi Shingo resides. There he has a dojo and teaches a handful of students. Below you can find a rough translation of his thoughts on the video and althought he does not mention Hayashi Shingo by name, its obvious his comments are directed towards him.

Childish Technique – Pathetic! 

By Yamada Michio, November 10, 2015

A video has come onto the net in Japan and over the world which has erroneously described itself as Kojo-ryu Karate. What a huge annoyance and a pity. What this tells me is that that they have no shame to put out such an abomination using the illustrious Kojo family name. The techniques of Kojo-ryu are not some kind of performance. This “web Kojo” is not even a performance, it’s a dance.

First, let’s talk about technique. The reality is that they don’t have the ability to apply their technique, but even then, they don’t have any technique. It’s pathetic! Looking at the Kojo-ryu postures, they look deformed. Are their heads and bodies alright? They have absolutely no speed at all. In budo and combat, speed is the most important thing; aren’t they practicing? Their line of sight is odd. I just don’t understand.

Short staff techniques. He doesn’t know how to hold a staff! He’d be killed by a Kendo yudansha, but they could be used in general. Perhaps its just splitting hairs, but anyone can impersonate a yudansha, but you cannot impersonate the essence of a yudansha. Putting that into practice, you would simply get yourself hurt.

I was firmly told by the Kojo family that, “You do not speak about technique, even when you become a black belt.You do not use the Kojo family name. Do not use it! You do not teach [Karate] techniques or short staff techniques. Silence is golden.” I have to wonder if  this is some kind of self-advertisement.

Here are the facts.

About 30 years ago, the 6th Soke traveled to Tottori along with his third son who was a green belt. He did free fighting with the sensei and his other black belts. They were put on their backsides over and over. I did the same. Soke said in amazement, “He’s completely forgotten everything” and returned to Okinawa. It is clear he has abandoned the techniques he learned from the 6th Soke on Okinawa. What a waste. Some one who doesn’t know better might be tricked by what he saw, but a person who understands will understand. Of course, its better that I don’t use the person’s name without permission.