Seisho Itokazu

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Seisho Itokazu

Postby Glenn » Wed May 16, 2012 6:50 pm

The current issue of Classical Fighting Arts (Volume 2 #22, Issue #45, Summer 2012) contains an interview with Seisho Itokazu, 9th Dan in Konan Ryu (an offshoot of Uechi Ryu formed in 1978 (initially as Pangainoon Ryu) by his father Seiki Itokazu).

Seisho began training under his father in 1956 and then kobudo under Shinpo Matayoshi around 1965. The article provides some insight into the history of Uechi Ryu and training then versus now. One statement that caught my attention, given the history of the terms/translations for 'karate' used in Uechi Ryu which we have discussed at times before:
I started under the Uechi Ryu Kenkyu Sho organization in the Itokazu Karate Dojo in Mihara on Naha's east side. This was my father's dojo, and at that time he was still using the old Chinese character to write karate (Tang 唐) and we called karate todi.

So Seiki Itokazu was still using the character for 'China' hand decades after it had fallen out of favor on Okinawa. Was this common in Uechi dojo at the time? I can see them possibly wanting to continue using 'China' hand given Uechi Ryu's direct connection to the Chinese martial arts.
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Re: Seisho Itokazu

Postby Stevie B » Thu May 17, 2012 4:05 am

K Glenn... I'll give this one a stab.. Todi is an Okinawan Hogan term.. The decintigration of Okinawan Hogan is more from Government Sponsorship than actual preference... I'll leave the rest of it to you to figure out..




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Re: Seisho Itokazu

Postby Bill Glasheen » Thu May 17, 2012 12:01 pm

Practitioners of Kanbun's style were still using the characters for "China Hand" (to-de in Japanese or to-di in Hogen) in the 1950s when George was studying there. George in fact has related a story where his teacher (Tomoyose Ryuko) and others were touring to investigate the origins of their style. Some Chinese saw the characters for "China Hand" on a uniform and it was a bit of an ice breaker in their communication.

You can also read stories in Dragon Times where Gushi Shinyu talks about Uechi Ryu's first black belt tests, which he was a part of. The elders were busy watching Gushi san and his partner beating the &*@#!!! out of each other, and let time get away from them. Testing is a bit more organized these days, or so I hear. ;)

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Re: Seisho Itokazu

Postby Glenn » Fri May 18, 2012 5:09 am

So when did Uechi teachers finally switch to the Japanese characters for "empty" hand? And was the change due to pressure to conform or due to a generational shift?
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Re: Seisho Itokazu

Postby GIESECK » Fri May 18, 2012 11:11 am

Many never did switch. I still have the chinese charecter on my belt as does a number of the black belts at Nago Shubukan.
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Re: Seisho Itokazu

Postby Glenn » Fri May 18, 2012 12:43 pm

Interesting, thanks Gieseck! This all turns on its head the notion that Okinawan karate masters all uniformly adopted "empty hand" in the 1920s.
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Re: Seisho Itokazu

Postby Joe Graziano » Fri May 18, 2012 9:08 pm

Grandmasters Takara and Gushi also use the todi characters in their respective associations.
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