Hironori Ohtsuka was born  on June 1st 1892 in Shimodate City, Ibaraki Prefecture in Japan. He was one of 4 children, his father was a medical doctor and also a martial artist. 

He started training in martial arts of at the age of 5 years old with his uncle, who was a Samurai, learning jujutsu which consists of locks and throws and is a forerunner of modern day judo. By the age of 13 he was studying Shindo- Yoshin Ryu under Shinzaburo Nakayama, a style which emphasises graceful and easy movement, which is also a trait of today's Wado Ryu.

On June 1st 1921 he was awarded the highest certificate of mastery (menkyo kaiden)  in Shindo- Yoshin Ryu.

In 1922 he began training Shotokan karate under Gichin Funakoshi, who is widely regarded as the modern father of karate.

In 1927 he  established a medical practice becoming a 'bone setter' and he specialised in dealing with martial art injuries

By 1928 Hironori Ohtsuka was an assistant instructor to Funakoshi. He was also training with Kenwa Mabuni (founder of Shito-Ryu karate) and Choki Motobo. Motobu was a famous fighter from Okinawa, who is thought to have perfected the kata Naifanchi to the extent he was near unbeatable.

Ohtsuka and Funakoshi parted ways in the early 1930's possibly due to their differing views on sparring, Funakoshi believing it was unnecessary while Ohtsuka believed it was a fundamental part of training.

in 1934 Ohtsuka started his own school of karate called Dai Nippon Karate Shinko Kai in Tokyo. It blended Shindo-Yoshin Ryu jujutsu and Shotokan karate and would later become Wado Ryu Karate.

Wado Ryu was officially recognised in 1940 along with the other main styles Shotokan, Goju-Ryu and Shito-Ryu.

In 1942 he began training Tatsuo Suzuki who would become his greatest student. 

Wado Ryu began growing and in 1964 was spreading across Europe and the USA as his students toured giving karate demonstrations.

In 1966 he was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, 5th class by the Emperor for promotion of Japanese Culture and then awarded the Soko Kyokujitsu-Sho medal for his contributions to karate.

He wrote two books on karate, one on kata and one on kumite.

In 1972 he was the first karateka to be awarded the title Shodai Karate-do Meijin Judan, 10th Dan Grand-master by the International Martial Arts Federation.

He continued to teach into the 1980's and finally passed on January 29th, 1982.

Please look at the page 'Kata Videos' to see Sensei Ohtsuka demonstrate.





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