Wado Ryu Karate



Utsukushī keshiki no karate

We are delighted to welcome you to our club. This introduction is intended to give you a brief insight into Karate and Wado Ryu.

Karate translated in to English means “empty hand” and is a system of fighting which uses parts of the body as weapons: Hands, feet, elbows and knees etc.

Karate originates from an island called Okinawa, which is the largest of the Ryukyu group of islands off the southern tip of Japan. Three towns within the island had particular forms of ‘Okinawan te’ or ‘To-de’, an indigenous form of unarmed combat; these were Shuri, Tomoha and Naha. They gave their names to the main styles of To-de, Shuri-te, Tomaha-te and Naha-te (Te meaning hand).

Naha-te and Tomoha-te later became Shorei-Ryu teaching hard, strong and powerful techniques, whilst Shuri-te became Shorin-Ryu, emphasising speed rather than strength. Hence, through centuries of influence from various travelers and visitors, Okinawan Tode evolved in a fighting art resembling modern Karate.

The Belvoir Karate Group train in the style of Wado Ryu, which literally translated means “way of peace or harmony school”. The founder of Wado Ryu is Master – Hironori Ohtsuka (1892-1982).

Ohtsuka Sensei studied martial arts from the age of six by training in Ju-Jitsu with his uncle, later training in Okinawan Karate or To-de with several of the leading masters of the day notably Choki Motobu, Kenwa Mabuni and Gichin Funakoshi who is credited as being the father of modern Karate. Funakoshi Sensei developed a style of Karate which was later named Shotokan.

Ohtsuka Sensei trained with Funakoshi Sensei for some time and during this time incorporated many Ju-jitsu techniques into his teaching and although this was popular with his students Funakoshi Sensei’s concepts of Karate differed and so they parted company.

The following years saw Ohtsuka Sensei integrate his knowledge of Ju-jitsu into his ‘Karate jutsu’ creating many aspects unique to his style of Karate. He taught a more upright stance giving greater mobility and an emphasis was placed on hip twist and evasion (Tai-sabaki), with immediate counter attacks used rather than pure strength to intercept an attack. He introduced throws and locks and the use of the ‘hip twist’ in both attacking and defense techniques. This, along with the relaxation of the body and the snapping back technique combined to create a truly unique style.

In 1938 the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai awarded Ohtsuka Sensei the title of ‘Shodai Karate Do Meijin Judan’, which  at the time was unprecedented.

The style of wado ryu karate is fast and fluid and involves quick and swift body movements. The students of this form are taught how to keep their mind active and alert and react promptly in any situation in addition with helping them enhance their physical strength and self defense skills. Apart from the training that is provided, the students are required to put in a lot of effort in order to ensure that they maintain good levels of self control, humility and respect for fellow human beings.

The main basic techniques that form an integral part of wado ryu karate are blocking, kicking, striking, punching, trapping and joint twisting.


To differentiate one technique from the other is quite a difficult task when it comes to this style of martial art. Most of the movements involve blocking as well as attacking at the same time. The practitioners are also taught about various body positions which are essential in order to ensure that their body is at a minimal risk of injury. Simplicity is another important part of this style. The practitioners are advised against using unnecessary force, unnecessary techniques as well as unnecessary movements in order to avoid major casualties.


There are a few qualities that are a must for a student of Wado Ryu karate to possess if he intends to master this martial art form. The first and foremost requirement is for the student to have an open mind. He should be open to new techniques and challenges so that he does not limit the scope of his learning and can grasp as much as possible from his teacher. A calm mind is also necessary in order to be able to think and act in every possible situation, so as to make sure that you do not cause any serious injury to the opponent. The theory of the available techniques should be studied carefully and then put to practice in order to excel.