(1898 to1984) left a legacy in a karate method that
he named Chito-Ryu. The name itself implies O-Sensei’s
own historical view of the origins of Okinawan karate
being rooted in Chinese kempo. The most notable feature
of this karate method, though, is its claim to be a
synthesis of the two main foundation Okinawan self-defence
methods, Naha-te and Shuri-te.
just claim to derive his curriculum from these two
methods, but he made note that his style, Chito-Ryu,
was unique in that it emphasized that 70% of one’s
power needed to be utilized in karate practice. Not
80%, like Naha-te, or 50%, like Shorin-ryu, but specifically
70%. This direction suggests a new understanding, and
if it is truly derived from a synthesis of the two
foundation Okinawan styles of te, then it also implies
a very deep knowledge of both.
Here, then, lies the dilemma for the karateka who seeks mastery in Chito-Ryu.
Firstly, to arrive at such mastery, one needs to show a deep understanding of
the principles of both Shorin- and Shorei-Ryu. And then, one needs to understand
clearly where the points of synthesis are. On top of that, the master of Chito-Ryu
needs to be able to do it, and also to teach it.
For this author, that is the
very dilemma. I have said to Sakamoto-Sensei many times, “Sukoshi
wakarimasu, demo, dekimasen.” My Japanese
is poor, but I try to convey that although I have
a glimmer of understanding of what he shows and describes,
I can do very little of it to my own satisfaction.
So this essay is an attempt to describe what I think
I know, and what I would greatly desire to be able