May 20, 2024

Last month (April 2020), Andreas Quast Sensei in Germany told me that some photos of Kyan Chōtoku’s kumite have been uploaded to Facebook.

Source: Karate e Kobudo Tradizionali di Okinawa — Okinawa Dento Karate-do

I had seen pictures of Kyan Sensei’s students’ kumite before, but I think this is the first time I have seen pictures of his own kumite. I was asked about the source, so I looked it up but didn’t know. I have not seen any of these photos in any published books in Japan. The above photos appear to have been taken from a foreign book.

The images are blurred, and there are not many of them, but they are valuable as kumite photos of Kyan Sensei himself.

When I saw these pictures, I thought it was similar to Motobu Chōki’s kumite. There is a suggestion that Motobu Chōki plays the role of Kyan’s counterpart, but I don’t know. The vibe is similar, but I think it’s different. Of course, they were relatives and had practiced karate together since childhood, so I think they also practiced kumite.

The other day, I wrote about the characteristics of the old-style kumite: “irimi (moving forward on the body),” “tai sabaki (body shifting)”, and “hazushi (removing, dodging and deflecting etc.).” It can be seen that the above kumite also applies to those principles. The last photo is a holding technique (osae waza) after a throwing technique (nage wazatuitī), isn’t it? Of course, Kyan Sensei’s ingenuity may have contributed to this, but the above photos are valuable for confirming the principles of the old-style kumite.

Postscript (September 7, 2023)
As mentioned above, the photos in this article were shared from a Facebook post. It later turned out that these photos were from a kumite book by Kyan Chōtoku. I was told that these photos were published in a book by a foreign branch of a Kyan lineage dojo in Okinawa, but I have not checked that book.

The original Japanese article and English translation were posted on Ameblo on May 10, 2020.

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Written by:

Motobu Naoki  

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Shihan, Motobu Kenpō 7th dan, Motobu Udundī 7th dan. Discusses the history of karate and martial arts, and introduces Japanese culture and history.