Hawaii Karate Seinenkai
Robert Igarashi was born in Ewa on November 14, 1914. He worked as a pharmacist for most of his life.
Igarashi practiced Judo at the Fort Street Hongwanji under Yukiso Yamamoto. He eventually became a nidan in Judo. Later, he became a student of and assistant instructor for Carlton Shimomi (student of Akio Nozoe and Shigenobu Nakano) and Winfred Ho (student of Masaichi Oshiro). Iragrashi was training with Ho during the 1961 visit to Hawaii of Tsuyoshi Chitose, the founder of Chito-Ryu (student of several prominent instructors, including Seisho Aragaki, Kanryo Higashionna, Chomo Hanashiro, and Chotoku Kyan).
Robert Igarashi, Robert Igarashi (back row), Winfred Ho, Tsuyoshi
Chitose, & Tommy Morita (front row), at the Yamashiro Hotel.
Igarashi kept detailed notes about the kata movements. He donated these to the Hawaii Karate Museum. The notes give a glimpse at a time when kata were not filmed or put onto DVDs.
Igarashi was a founding member of the Hawaii Karate Congress. In his later years, he was also a very active boxing coach and "cut man." He noted the similarities between Karate and boxing.
Early members of the Hawaii Karate Congress. Front: Robert Igarashi,
Kenneth Murakami, Robert Igarashi, Winfred Ho. Back: Mitsugi
Kobayashi, unknown, unknown, Walter Nishioka, Carlton Shimomi.
Charles C. Goodin interviewed Igarashi and asked him whether he ever had to use his martial arts skills. Igarashi promptly answered that his martial arts had saved his life twice. The first time, he had climbed high up on a ladder at the pharmacy when he lost his balance and fell flat on his back on the hard linoleum floor. Because he had studied Judo, he tucked his chin and slapped the floor to break his fall. Miraculously, he was uninjured. Goodin asked about the second episode and Igarashi answered that at another time he fell off a ladder again!
The Hawaii Karate Seinenkai salutes Robert Igarashi.
The spirit of Karate is the Aloha spirit
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