Legends of the past
The evolution “Tode” or “Chinese Hand” as it was once called, into what we know today as “karate” or “the empty handed way”, has involved the contributions of a great many past Masters, including those of both Chinese and Okinawan lineage.
Some of these Masters are know to us today through their deeds, or in some cases through the deeds of their students. Other Masters, however, are lost to us forever, since they either practiced in solitude and were unknown to the world at large, or they produced no students who went on to greater things.
While always acknowledging in our hearts the contributions made by these unknown Masters, just a few of the well known Masters whose contributions have stood the test of time as as follows:
1683 – 1760
Born in Shuri, Okinawa, the actual dates of Takahara’s birth and death vary depending on the source, but the most commonly held dates covering the span of his life are 1683 – 1760.
As a member of the upper class of Okinawan society Takahara was both well traveled and well educated during his lifetime. He was reputed to be a student of Chatan Yara (1668 – 1756) who was himself a master of Okinawan weapons and whose legacy lives on in katas such as “Chatan Yara no Kon Sho”, “Chatan Yara no Sai Sho”, and “Chatan Yara no Sai Dai”. Takahara’s most famous student was “Tode” Sakugawa.
A Chinese envoy to the island kingdom of Okinawa, Kushanku had a brief but substantial influence on the life of one of the greatest masters of all time “Tode” Sakugawa. It has been said that they first met around 1756 when as a young man Sakugawa attempted to push Kushanku off a bridge, only to find himself bested and on the receiving end of a lecture on the proper Behaviour of young men towards their elders. The meeting was to be a fortuitous one for Sakugawa and it was to change his life forever, as soon after the episode on the bridge he became a student of Kushanku’s.
Shortly after Kushanku’s death Sakugawa developed the kata “Kushanku” and named it in honour of his former teacher, today the kata is known as one of the longest in the Shotokan syllabus and is referred to as “Kanku Dai” or “Looking to the Sky”. There are many versions of this kata in circulation today and it is one of the oldest known katas in existence.
1782 – 1862+
Born in Shuri, Okinawa the actual dates of Sakugawa’s birth and death vary depending on the source. The most commonly held dates covering the span of his life are 1782 – sometime around 1862.
“Tote” Sakugawa was a pupil of a Buddhist monk Takahara Peichin and for a brief period of time studied under the Chinese master Kushanku. During his brief time with Kushanku he travelled with him to study in China returning to Okinawa where he introduced his fighting style to the local community. In time he would become known as the “Father of Okinawan Karate” and amongst his legacy is the concept of the dojo kun, the kata “Kushanku” which he named in honour of his former teacher, which is today known in the Shotokan syllabus as “Kanku Dai” or “Looking to the Sky”.
His proficiency with the Bo is also with us today in the form of the kata “Sakugawa no Kon Sho.” One of Sakugawa’s principal students was Sokon Matsumura, the son of a prominent family Matsumura was himself to go on to became one of Okinawa’s greatest karate teachers, and the founder of the Shuri-te style which was later to evolve into a style known today as Shorin-Ryu.
SOKEN “BUSHI” MATSUMURA
(no known photograph of Matsumura exists )
1809 – 1896+
Born on Okinawa the actual dates of Matsumura’s birth and death vary depending on the source but the most commonly held dates covering the span of his life are 1809 – sometime after 1896, the year in which he celebrated his 88th birthday.
Matsumura was born into the upper class of Okinawan society and first started studying under the great master “Tode” Sakugawa. During Matsumura’s lifetime he like may of the other great masters traveled to China where it is said he studied for a time under Iwah. He was later in life to encounter a man named Chinto after whom he was later to name a kata of his own design.
Amongst his many students was Yasutsune Itosu later to be known as one of the early teachers of Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of the Shotokan who would one day be recognized as the “Father of Modern Karate”. Matsumura is said to have had a hand in formulating the katas Chinto, Wansu, Passai, and Seisan. It was Matsumura who took Shuri-te that extra step and created the style we know today as Shorin-Ryu.
1828 – 1906
Born in the town of Azato, the actual dates of Master Azato’s birth and death vary depending on the source, but the most commonly held dates covering the span of his life are 1828 – 1906.
Having been born into the upper class and having family members who were of very high rank within Okinawan society made it much easier for azato to enter into the world martial arts. An expert in many forms of Budo, Master Azato despite his own skill, was to gain fame in a more indirect way, and that was as one of the two primary teachers to the future “Father of Modern Karate”, Sensei Gichin Funakoshi.
(no known photograph of Itosu exists )
1831 – 1915
Born in Shuri, Okinawa in the town of Shuri the actual dates of Itosu’s birth and death vary depending on the source but the most commonly held dates covering the span of his life are 1831 – 1915.
Itosu at an early age was taken to study under “Bushi” Matsumura. It is from Itosu’s and also Yasutsune Azato’s style of Shuri-te that Gichin Funakoshi later developed the style we know today as Shotokan, while another of Itosu’s students Kenwa Mabuni, would later go on to create the style known today as Shito-Ryu. Itosu was said to have given the first public demonstration of karate in Okinawa in 1903 and he was a large factor in karate being introduced into the Okinawan public school system. Various sources credited Itosu with using the kata, “Kushanku” to create the Pinan, or Heian katas as they are known in Shotokan today.
Today, however, there is a widely growing belief that the truest source used by Itosu for the creation of the Pinan and Heian katas were much earlier known katas, more commonly referred to a “root katas”. In addition to his skill, Itosu was said to be noted through out Okinawa for his legendary strength.
November 10, 1868 – April 26, 1957
Sensei Gichin Funakoshi, known world wide as the Founder of Shotokan Karate-Do, was born in Shuri, Okinawa in Yamakawa-cho district on November 10, 1868.
The official district records, however, show that his birth took place in 1870, but he in fact falsified his own records in order to be able to take the Tokyo medical school entrance exam. In spite of passing the exam Sensei Funakoshi never did become a member of the medical profession.
Born a frail child many members of his family felt he was destined for a short life and uneventful life. Little did his family know just how long, and how important his life would be.
It was during his early primary school years in his life he was introduced to the study “Tode” or “Chinese Hand” under Master Yasutsune Azato, as it was thought that the art of karate might strengthen him and improve the quality of his life.
A good student Funakoshi flourished under the tutelage of Master Azato to whose home he travelled each evening to practice karate. Later Master Azato would introduce him to another important teacher under whom he would also study, Master Yasutsune Itosu. It was these two men more than any others, who would have the greatest impact on his life.
No longer interested in entering the medical school it was while studying karate that Gichin Funakoshi decided to become a school teacher, and so after passing the qualifying examination he took charge of his first primary school class in 1888. It was a profession he was to follow for more than thirty years.
A high point in Gichin Funakoshi’s karate took place on March 6, 1921 when he had the honour of demonstrating the art of “Okinawan te” to then Crown Prince Hirohito during a visit he made to Okinawa. Then, in the Spring of 1922, Gichin Funakoshi traveled to Tokyo where he had been invited to present his art of Tode at the First National Athletic Exhibition in Tokyo which had been organized by the Ministry of Education. After the demonstration he was strongly urged by several eminent groups and individuals to remain in Japan, and indeed he never did return to live in Okinawa.
As it had in Okinawa, the educational system of Japan was to become a major factor in the spread of karate. By 1924 Gichin Funakoshi had started to introduce karate to several of the local universities, first at Keio, followed by Chuo, Tokyo, and Waseda to name but a few. It was through these universities that he was able to reach a much larger audience and this contributed greatly to the growing popularity of karate.
Master Funakoshi was finally establish the Shotokan dojo in 1936, a great landmark in the history of karate. Sensei Funakoshi was not only a genius in martial arts, but he was also a literary talent, and he signed all of his works “Shoto” which was his pen name. Hence, the dojo or school where he taught came to be known as “Shoto’s school” or “Shotokan” which ultimately was adopted as the official name for his style of karate. Sensei Funakoshi combined the techniques and katas of the two major Okinawan styles to form his own style of karate. As a result, modern day Shotokan includes the powerful techniques of the Shorei style of karate, as well as the lighter more flexible movements of the Shorin style of karate.
The original Shotokan Dojo Destroyed March 10, 1945 in a bombing raid on Tokyo
In the beginning Sensei Funakoshi taught only sixteen katas, they were: Kankudai, Kankusho, five Heian katas (known in Okinawa as Pinan katas), three Tekki katas (known on Okinawa as Naihfanchi katas), Wanshu, (later to be known as Empi), Chinto, (later to be known as Gankaku), Patsai, (later to be known as Bassai), Jitte, Jion, and Seisan (later to be known as Empi) since he felt that sixteen katas were more than enough for one lifetime.
After the end of the Second World War, karate was slowly revived, and a major step forward took place when the Japan Karate Association (JKA) was established in 1949, with Sensei Funakoshi appointed by the organization as it’s first Chief Instructor due to his advanced skills and leadership capabilities. Although Sensei Funakoshi was famous as a great karate master he was also a very humble man. During his lifetime he emphasized three major aspects of karate-do above all else and that was, basic technique, kata, and the development of spiritual values leading to the perfection of the character of karate’s participants.
Memorial to Master Gichin Funakoshi, in Kamakura, Japan
After training, and teaching the art of karate for more than seventy-five years, Master Gichin Funakoshi passed away in Tokyo, Japan on April 26, 1957 at the age of 88.
Grand Masters associated with Sensei Cayer & ECMA
Grand Master Jim Rodrigues
Sensei Cayer’s first Shotokan Karate instructor.
Since 1978, Grand Master Jim Rodrigues has trained and instructed GM Cayer in the art of Shotokan Karate, Tang Soo Do, Full Contact Kickboxing (undefeated in Amateur competition) Taihojitsu and Moo Duk Kwan (via Sah boo nim, Bob Edmunds). Jim Rodrigues, has been training for 50 years in the arts and was honored at the Hall of Honors with his induction for Platinum Lifetime Dedication to Shotokan Karate. He has also trained and ranked in White Crane Gung Fu, Vietnamese Combat Karate (under Master Fu Duk Thyn) and specializes in the combat tactics of the arts and knife kumite. Creator and owner of the original Red Dragon Karate Studios (in the late sixties) in Ft. Walton Beach, FL, he has also owned and operated his own body guarding business for years and now promotes his security networking through his private business. A prior golden gloves boxer and trainer to many kickboxing champions, he continues to this day to mentor and train Sensei Cayer and many other grand masters throughout the United States.
Ko Sutemi Seiei Kan Karate means: small sacrifice, success by all means, positive thinking, crack troop, the pick of the best; using intuition and perception through empty hand katas and weapon katas training.
Ko Sutemi Seiei Kan Karate is basically a Japanese and Chines style, but also includes Korean and Okinawan styles. The student will be taught “kumite style” fighting techniques that have won Ko Sutemi Seiei Kan respect and notability worldwide. All students are also trained in the art of self control and respect and the secret art of Ko Kyu Ho (mind and breath power) and Siamese Karate.
The first Ko Sutemi Seiei Kan Karate Dojo was formed in the United States in 1959, and has since grown to exceed 200 with a membership of over 8000. The Founder and Grandmaster, Soke Prof. Donald R. Madden, Ph.D. holds the rank of 10th Dan.
Soke Madden began his Martial Arts training in 1942 when his father began teaching him Ju-Jitsu. From these roots evolved one of the largest Karate organizations in the U.S., Ko Sutemi Seiei Kan.
- Founder and Chairman of All AMERICAN KARATE DO UNION, comprised of over 200 clubs across the United States and internationally.
- Founder and Chairman of AKJU TEAM AMERICA which takes competitors in Karate & Ju-jitsu to International competitions.
- National Chairman of Ju-Jitsu for the Amateur Athletic Union. Past
- Lifetime member of A.A.U. and U.S.A.K.F.
- Coached Ju-Jitsu 1994 Goodwill Games in Russia for International Cultural Exchange
- Choreographed the 1994 Goodwill Games Closing Ceremonies Exhibition for karate & Ju-Jitsu in Kiev Stadium with capacity crowd of 85.000 and world-wide television coverage
- Founder of the Irish Cup Karate & Ju-Jitsu – Dublin, Ireland 1997
- Head Coach, U.S.A. Karate & Ju-Jitsu 1981-1996
- First team manager for the U.S.A. Karate Team, November 1980
- Chief of Coaching Staff. U.S.A. Karate, 1990
- Coach for the first U.S.A. Ju-Jitsu team to compete in first ever Ju-Jitsu World Cup, Copenhagen, Denmark, 1993
- Elected 1st Chairman of the W.U.K.O. Technical Congress Cairo Egypt. 1988
- Chief representative of the Pan-American to the W.U.K.O. (Wortd Union Karate Organization).
- Instructed martial arts/combat training al NATO Base. Iceland, 1990
- Consultant in martial arts/combat training for many military bases
- Had personally taught over 115 All Americans
- Instructed seminars world-wide Including Sweden, Ireland, Germany, Japan and many countries in South America
- Had more students on the U.S.A. Karate & Ju-Jitsu Team than any other Federation in the U.S.A.
Contributions to the Martial Arts
- Author of two books on Ju-Jitsu
- Wrote the original papers on The Two Man Referee System and took it to England and France in 1969. From this. I believe, the mirror system was developed and was used by all International competitions
- Instrumental in equal rights for women competitors in Karate. Formed the first Women’s fighting competition in Curacao N.A. in 1981. There was only Kata for women at this time. We took a full team of both men and women. I talked to the other coaches and pushed the idea that women should have the same right to fight as men. That same year, I pushed for women to be included in the 1st Wor1d Games in California. We put on a demonstration match which convinced them to begin to include women in the World Games the following year in Taiwan.
Awards & Honors
- In the book of Who’s Who and the book Masters and Founders
- Inducted into the International Martial Arts Hall of Fame. 1998
- Most Outstanding Community Affairs Volunteer. 1990-99
- International Instructors Award from the 1Oth Annual International Sports Medicine Symposium. 1990
- Wrote the speech “Who am I” given at the Flint/Canadian Olympic: Games 1986, which has been published in several magazines
- 22 proclamations from State Senators and Governors
- Given Key to two cities
- Proclamation by Mayor Joe Sulzer, of Chillicothe, Ohio-Don Madden Week, July. 1989
- Received Philosophies Doctor Diploma from College of Yudansha, 1986
- U.S.A.K.F. Man of the Year (under the United States Olympic Committee). 1985
- Inducted into the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame. 1980
- Special Guest of Honor at Morning Colors, Parris Island. South Carolina, Marine Base. 1990
Notable Students * = International Hall of Fame
- Tokey Hill-the first American to win a W.U,K.O. Wortd Championship (Madrid. Spain, 1980)
- * Mike Rivers – My first fighting Champion
- * Chris Nickolas – Pan American, North American and 7 time all American winner
- * Heather Madden – -“All American” who competed in U.S.A., Denmark, Russia, Ireland winning the gold in most Countries. Coach for AKJU Team America ®
- * Traylon Smith – “All American” competed in U.S.A., Pan American Champion In South America, Ireland, winning the gold in most countries. Coach for AKJU TEAM AMERICA
- Darlene Karr – the first lady to win the first All Women’s International Fighting Championship in Guadeloupe, 1983
- Joe Minney – first man to receive the Most Outstanding Athlete of the Year in Karate, awarded by the United State Olympic Committee
- Kim and Jenny White – first mother and daughter to ever get the All American Award on the same day
- * Larry Zahand – Pan America, North American Champion. Many times “All American.” Won many Gold’s at International competition
- * Paul Franks – “All American” Many gold medal winner at International competitions and coach for the AKJU Team America ®
- * Tina Franks – “All American” Many gold medal winner at International competitions and coach for the AKJU Team America ®
- Billy Blanks (of Tae-Bo fame) – coached him in several International competitions (Not my student)
- Kentucky Colonel since 1975
- Committee of Sister Cities. Chillicothe, Ohio
- Honorary Chairman of March of Dimes, Ross County, 1993
- In 1984 Don Madden gave an inspirational speech that continues to ring true and right to the point. This file is a bit large but well worth the wait.
- How to Play the Game by Don Madden is an excellent view not just on sports but life in general.
Shihan K. Yokota
Yokota Sensei has extensive martial arts experience. Not only does he have 50 years of Shotokan Karate experience, he has also studied other styles of Karate such as Goju-Ryu and Kyokushinkai, Judo and Ki. He has experience with weapons as well, and has studied the ways of Nunchaku and Sai to deepen and supplement his knowledge and experience in Karate-do.
Yokota Sensei started his martial arts training in 1960 when he was just 13 years old. He began his training in Judo by taking lessons at the Hyogo Prefecture Police station. At this Judo dojo, there was a student who also practiced Karate – he was practicing Judo to further improve his fighting skills. This practitioner impressed Yokota Sensei so much that even though he had been training in Judo for two years, Yokota Sensei switched his martial arts training to Karate. He joined the JKA affiliated Kobe YMCA Karate Club. In 1973, he moved to Philadelphia, PA and became a full time instructor at the ISKF headquarters as well as a personal assistant to Master Okazaki, 10th dan, ISKF Chairman.
Yokota Sensei was one of the top competitors in the East Coast Regional tournaments in the 1970’s. He returned to his hometown Kobe in 1981 to complete his instructor’s training under the late Master Sugano, 9th dan, JKA Vice Chairman. As soon as he returned to Japan, he entered the Prefecture tournament and became the champion that year, and again in the following year. He also represented his prefecture in the JKA All National Championship in Tokyo in 1981 and 1982.
Yokota Sensei returned to Tokyo in 1997 and trained in Ki under Master Nishino, Grand Master of Nishinoryu Kokyuho for two and a half years. Currently, he is Chief Instructor at Byakkokan Dojo in San Jose California. In 2013 Shihan Yokota decided to put down his position within the WJKA as technical director to form his own federations ASAI (Asai Shotokan Association International). Sensei Yokota is an 8th dan.
Yokota sensei has published several books; Shotokan Myths, Kata Kyohon Junro and Kata Kyohon Joko. His articles have been published in the major martial arts magazines including Shotokan Karate Magazine, Masters, Shotokan way and Classical Fighting Arts.
Master Moshe Katz
Moshe has taught:
Members of the FBI, SWAT teams, U.S. Special Forces, Sheriffs Departments, State Police, Maximum security Prison guards, Israeli and American soldiers, ROTC, Canadian Royal Mounted police and Path Finders, Vancouver PD, Ukrainian Elite Guards, Ukrainian Presidential guards, German Navy Commandos, Dutch Security professionals, Israeli Elite Guards, Israeli police, Italian Police, South African police, Puerto Rican police, Netherlands police, Slovakian police, The Guardian Angels, Woman’s self defense groups, civilians and school children of all ages.
“From all my students I have learned”
Ranks and Certification
The following are some of the ranks I have been awarded.
5th dan Black belt, Godan Goshinjutsu – Satokan honbu dojo, Japan. May 2011
5th dan Black Belt, “Martial Arts Israel”, World Martial Arts Group – Academy of Black Belts, November 10, 2010
5th dan Shaolin Kung Fu, Black Dragon Sekai, November 2010,
5th dan Black Belt, Jujitsu, United Black Belt Federation, November 11, 2008.
4th dan Black Belt, Krav Maga, Sensei Itay Gil, September 25, 2005
4th dan Black Belt, Free Style kickboxing, Mixed martial arts, Sensei Itay Gil, September 25, 2005
4th dan Black Belt, Israeli Martial Arts, World Martial Arts Masters, Academy of Black Belts, October 24, 2007
4th dan Black Belt, United States Fighting Arts Institute, January 8, 2005
Teacher Certification, ISC Control Points, Professor Arthur Cohen, Dr. Les Knight, July 13, 2004
3rd dan Black Belt, Jujitsu, World Black Belt Bureau, June 24, 2002
3rd dan black belt, Itay Gil, Jerusalem,March 12, 2002
2nd dan black belt, March 16, 1999 – Krav Maga Sensei Itay Gil, Jerusalem.
Teacher Certification, Wingate Institute of Sports and Martial Arts, Israel, Kancho Roni Kluger 8th dan, September 1998
First dan black belt, Krav Maga, Kickboxing, Itay Gil, Jerusalem. November 4, 1997
Certification License Combat Shooting/Hand Gun, Krav Israel Shooting Club, 1993,
Israel Defense Forces,(IDF) Discharged August, 1993
3rd kyu, Oyama Kyokushin Karate, 1989.
Moshe Katz is a university graduate
BA – UCLA; Los Angeles, California. Political Science, Economics, June,1983
MBA – Bernard Baruch, College, New York, International Finance, December 1989
Rabbinical College – Mercaz HaRav Kook, Bet El, and other institutions, Israel and the USA.