Hawaii Karate Seinenkai
Pat Nakata was born in the Palama area of Honolulu on October 14, 1944. He was encouraged to practice martial arts as a child and at the age of 5 began studying a wide range of arts including Judo (under Migita Sensei at the Shobukan Dojo), boxing, Aikijutsu, Tai Chi Chuan, Kung Fu, Kendo and Iaido. He remembered that Okinawan Karate was practiced across the street from his home, but at that time, non-Okinawans were not permitted to learn.
His first Karate teacher was Walter Nishioka, with whom he starting studying in 1957. On a trip with Nishioka to the orient upon his graduation from high school (June 1962), Nakata met and trained under Hironori Ohtsuka, the founder of the Wado-Ryu form of Karate. Ohtsuka was already an expert of Ju Jitsu when he began training in Karate under Gichin Funakoshi. While in Japan, Nakata stayed at the Kodokan Dojo where he also studied Judo. He even practiced at the Goju-Ryu dojo of Gogen Yamaguchi.
From Japan, Nakata went with Nishioka to Okinawa, where they met and trained with Choshin Chibana, a student of Anko Itosu and the founder of the Kobayashi-Ryu form of Shorin-Ryu. Nakata remained in Okinawa and trained almost daily with Chibana for almost a year.
During this time, he also trained in kobudo with Fumio Nagaishi, a Hawaii born man who had lived and worked in Okinawa since 1950. Nagaishi also trained under Chibana. Under Nagaishi's guidance, Nakata practiced bo and sai under Shinei Kyan, a student of Shosei Kina. (For a profile of Kyan, see: The 1940 Karate-Do Special Committee: The Fukyugata "Promotional" Kata, by Charles C. Goodin.) Kyan was a senior member of the dojo of Shoshin Nagamine, the founder of the Matsubayashi-Ryu form of Shorin-Ryu. Nagamine had learned from Ankichi Arakaki, Chotoku Kyan, and Choki Motobu.
Upon returning to Hawaii, Nakata started to teach Karate classes at the University of Hawaii. In 1963, he formed the Okinawan Shorin Ryu Karate Association of Hawaii. In 1965, at the tender age of 20, he was awarded a teaching certificate by Chibana during his second visit to Okinawa.
Nakata teaches the 16 kata that were taught by Chibana: Kihon Shodan, Kihon Nidan, Kihon Sandan, Naihanchi Shodan, Naihanchi Nidan, Naihanchi Sandan, Pinan Shodan, Pinan Nidan, Pinan Sandan, Pinan Yondan, Pinan Godan, Patsai Sho, Patsai Dai, Kusanku Sho, Kusanku Dai, and Chinto. Nakata does not merely teach the kata: he shows the many applications of each movement, including the fine points of the applications of the intermediate movements (the movements between the movements).
In the traditon of Chibana Sensei, Nakata strives to perform 10,000 kata each year!
He also has trained in Ryukyu Kobudo with Fumio Nagaishi, who returned to Hawaii in 1988. Nagaishi was a student of Shinken Taira (1879-1970). Nakata teaches a variety of traditional Okinawan weapon arts, including bo, sai, nunchaku, tonfa, tinbe and tekko.
Over the years, Nakata participated in and helped to support many tournaments and exhibitions in Hawaii. He always kept the fees for his classes very reasonable. At one time, he was urged to raise his tuition in order to keep the fees charged among the various groups in line. Nakata promptly cut his monthly tuition in half! A staunch traditionalist, he preserved the old ways of teaching Karate. Eventually, his students stopped wearing gi tops and belts, wearing a white T-shirt instead. Nakata also stopped giving kyu and dan ranks.
Nakata is a member of the Hawaii Karate Kodanshakai. Although he began as one of the youngest sensei in Hawaii, he has become one of the elders. His recollections of the teachings of Choshin Chibana, one of the last of the truly "old time" Karate sensei, are invaluable, and it is hoped that he will record these in a book. Nakata has also provided a wealth of information to the Hawaii Karate Seinenkai and the Hawaii Karate Museum to help us to identify, locate and study Hawaii's Karate pioneers and seniors.
The Hawaii Karate Seinenkai salutes and thanks Pat Nakata.
Articles by Nakata:
Articles about Nakata:
- All That Matters In Karate: What is it like to study under someone considered last of the original karate masters and a living legend? by Bill Lee. Black Belt. October 1978.
The spirit of Karate is the Aloha spirit
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