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History & Lineage

Wado is, in essence, a primary combination of both Gichin Funakoshi’s teaching of Shotokan and Tasusaburo Nakayama’s teaching of Shindo Yoshinryu jujutsu.Wado-Ryu Karate was officially recognized as an independent style of karate in 1934. 

 

Wado Ryu means “School/ The Way to Peace/Harmony”. Wa = peace/harmony, Do = The way, and Ryu = School.

After Hironori Otsuka's death, the Wado Karate-do community split into four separate worldwide organizations. This was triggered by differences in teaching style and leadership. The four organizations were Wado-Kai, Japan Karate-do Federation, based in Japan; Wado-Ryu under Jiro Otsuka in Japan; Wado-Ryu under Tatsuo Suzuki in Europe; and Wado-Kai under Masaru Shintani in North America.

The deeper story and lineage of Wado Karate is explored through the biographies below.

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Grand Master Hironori Otsuka
1892-1982

Grand Master Hironori Otsuka, the founder of Wado Karate, dedicated 85 years of his life to martial arts and achieved the highest rank of 10th Dan. He was born on June 1, 1892, in Shimodate City, Japan, and began his training in jujutsu at the age of five under his great uncle, a samurai warrior. He later studied various martial arts styles, including Shindo Yoshinryu jujutsu and Toshin-Kenpo.

In 1922, Otsuka Sensei started training in karate under Funakoshi Gichin, the founder of Shotokan Ryu. He also trained with Kenwa Mabuni, the founder of Shito-Ryu, and worked with Choki Motobu on kata development. Otsuka Sensei combined Okinawan karate with traditional Japanese jujutsu, creating Wado-Ryu Karate-Jutsu.

Wado-Ryu emphasized atemi techniques, throwing, grappling, and free-falls, and Otsuka introduced jiu-kumite (free fighting) for competitive purposes. He believed in the importance of realistic fighting situations and competitive sparring to complement kata techniques. Otsuka's teaching style differed from Funakoshi's, leading to their parting ways in the 1930s.

In 1934, Otsuka founded the Dai Nippon Karate Shinko Club, which later became Wado Ryu. Wado Ryu incorporated hard punches and kicks from Okinawan karate, as well as body movement, joint locks, and pins from jujutsu and kendo. Otsuka emphasized that Wado-Ryu was a spiritual discipline and represented a harmonious union of heaven, earth, and man.

Otsuka Sensei dedicated his life to promoting Wado-Ryu Karate, becoming a full-time martial artist after leaving his medical practice. He received numerous awards and recognition, including the title of First Generation Karate-do Master of the Tenth Dan from the International Martial Arts Federation.

After Otsuka's passing in 1982, the Wado Karate-do community split into four separate worldwide organizations due to differences in teaching style and leadership. These organizations were Wado-Kai, Japan Karate-do Federation, Wado-Ryu under Jiro Otsuka, Wado-Ryu under Tatsuo Suzuki in Europe, and Wado-Kai under Masaru Shintani in North America.

Grand Master Hironori Otsuka's legacy continues through the various Wado-Ryu organizations, including Wado Canada, and his teachings emphasized the path of martial arts as a means of peace and harmony for all human beings.

The difference between the possible and the impossible is one's will.

Hironori Otsuka, founder of Wado

Our Mission

Top Master Masaru Shintani
1927-2000

Top Master Masaru Shintani was born in Vancouver, BC on February 3, 1927, and was the eldest son of Japanese immigrants. During World War II, his family was interned, and it was during this time that he first encountered martial arts like judo, aikido, and kendo.

 

In 1947, the family settled in Ontario, where Shintani began studying karate under Akira Kitegawa, whose lineage traced back to prominent karate masters.

Shintani's passion for karate led him to establish his first dojo in the early 1950s. After the passing of his instructor, he sought to expand his knowledge of karate and eventually met Takeshi Ishiguro, a Wado-Ryu practitioner who taught him the Wado curriculum.

 

Shintani went on to achieve success in karate tournaments in Japan, winning championships and training under Grand Master Hironori Otsuka.

In 1968, Otsuka appointed Shintani as the head of Wado Karate in North America and bestowed upon him the title of supreme instructor. Their close relationship was evident in the numerous letters Otsuka wrote to Shintani and his mother. Shintani traveled extensively, spreading Wado Karate and establishing over 200 centers in Canada and the United States, with thousands of practitioners and black belts. As a 9th Dan, he held the highest rank for Wado Karate in North America.

Despite health challenges, including a stroke that confined him to a wheelchair, Shintani remained dedicated to teaching karate until his passing on May 7, 2000.  In 1996, he named Shihan Greg Reid as his successor and co-authored a book on Wado kata. Karate was Shintani's lifelong passion, and he took pride in sharing its philosophy of peace and harmony with others.

Masaru Shintani's legacy as a karate master and his contributions to the Wado Karate community continue to be cherished. His dedication and commitment to the martial art left a lasting impact, and his teachings are still followed by many practitioners today.

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Saiko Shihan Greg Reid
1959-

Saiko Shihan Gregory Reid, the technical director of Wado Canada, has dedicated his life to the practice and teaching of karate. He was chosen as the successor to Top Master Masaru Shintani and became the supreme instructor of Wado-Kai Karate worldwide in 1996, following Shintani Sensei's appointment by Grand Master Hironori Otsuka in 1968.

Born on September 15, 1959, in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Saiko Shihan Reid began his martial arts journey as a young boy, training in various Japanese martial arts, including Kodokan Judo. In the early 1970s, he started his karate training under Shotokan Masters Anthony and Stephan Parris and also delved into Wado Karate and Japanese Kobudo, specializing in the Bo, Sai, and Sword.

Throughout his karate career, Saiko Shihan Reid traveled extensively, competing, studying, and teaching karate. He achieved remarkable success in regional, international, and world-class tournaments across the Caribbean, North America, Europe, and Japan. He trained under renowned karate teachers such as Hironori Otsuka, Nakayama, Kanazawa, Miakami, Tabata, Miyazaki, Suzuki, Maeda, Nakazato, Akamine, Takeda, and Shiroma.

After immigrating to Canada in 1976, Saiko Shihan Reid trained under Top Master Shintani and devoted himself to promoting Wado Karate. In 1981, he retired from competition and relocated to Victoria, British Columbia, to establish Wado Karate in the province. He also trained and coached the Canadian National Wado-Kai Team for the 1994 Wado-Kai Nationals and the Wado-Kai World Karate-do Cup held in Tokyo, Japan.

In 1997, Saiko Shihan Reid was appointed as the technical director for the Wado Karate Association of Canada, a position he still holds.

Together with Top Master Shintani, he co-authored the definitive text on Wado kata, titled "Wado-Kai Karate Kata," which was published by the Wado Karate Association of Canada in 1998.

In 2007, Shihan Reid relocated to the Cayman Islands to open a school and develop the national team training program for that country.
 

Saiko Shihan Reid embraces the philosophy of harmony in karate and believes that all practitioners are part of the karate family. He is passionate about teaching and assisting anyone genuinely interested in learning karate.

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