Karatedo Then & Now

Karatedo, Karate, Goju, Lesson, Martial Arts, Kitsilano, Vancouver, BC
Itosu Anko

I’m finally getting around to translating some of the newspaper articles I have on Karate and Kobudo. I really have too many and I doubt I’ll ever get through them all. That said, here is a short translation of an article entitled “Karatedo: Then and Now – Part I” written by Nakakichi Choboku that appeared on February 25, 1956 in the Ryukyu Shimpo. I think that some readers may enjoy reading. Please note that I didn’t bother translating the second half of the article as it relates the story of Matsumuara Sokon versus the shop keeper in their duel at the cemetery.

Recognizing the educational value of karatedo, I recall that it was adopted into school education system around 1904. At that time the school principal, Mr. Nishimura, stated” We must consider not only moral education for youth, but physical education as well. With that being the case the staff and pupils endeavored to include karatedo along with kendo, judo, baseball, and tennis.

Once a week Itosu sensei came to instruct, but usually Yabu Kentsu sensei was the person directly responsible for instruction. From there after, gradually the educational value of karatedo became more widely known in the education field and it had reached a point where civilians and others became interested [in it]. Before then, it goes without saying that people did not think of karatedo as a course for school education. Instead karatedo was something either the leisured person did as a hobby or those wanting to fight strove to study.

This is how karatedo was viewed and it seemed that people in general did not understand [karatedo]. However after being adopted by the Teachers College, it was decided that each secondary school and the like should focus their attention on it. As a result, Hanashiro Chomo became the instructor at the First Junior High School and Miyagi Chojun became the instructor at Naha Commercial High School.

After gaining a taste for karatedo, each school reached the point where it endeavored to improve and train seriously. In some secondary schools it was not possible to find an instructor so they would invite a suitable teacher or wait for a time. Well, this is how karatedo was promoted during the Meiji period and has reached a point where people in general understand this wonderful art.