|E Komo Mai!||Frames on off|
Welcome! The Hawaii Karate Seinenkai was established in 1933 by Karate supporters from Hawaii's Okinawan community. The first instructors of the Seinenkai were Mizuho Mutsu, Kamesuke Higashionna, Seishin Uehara and Thomas Shigeru Miyashiro. Mutsu and Higashionna were visiting from Tokyo. Uehara was an Okinawan immigrant and Miyashiro was an Okinawan nisei.
Miyashiro was originally trained in Karate by Kuniyoshi Sensei. He then trained with Kentsu Yabu (Yabu Gunso) in 1927 and Choki Motobu (Motobu No Saru) in 1932. He had a particularly strong connection to Motobu, who had been detained by Immigration officials in Hawaii and denied entry. Miyashiro trained with Motobu for about one month at the Honolulu detention center. It appears that Motobu had asked Mutsu and Higashionna to continue Miyashiro's training.
Karate classed were established in various locations on Oahu. After Mutsu and Higashionna returned to Japan, Uehara and Miyashiro continued to teach. Members of the Seinenkai also trained with Chojun Miyagi, the founder of Goju-Ryu, during his visit in 1934. Karate classes were discontinued during World War Two. The Seinenkai continued to exist for a few years after the War. It gave a demonstration at the first Okinawan Sumo tournament held after the War. This was in 1948 at the Japanese Consulate in Nuuanu.
For over 50 years, the Seinenaki ceased to exist. As a tribute to its original founders, it was reestablished on January 1, 2001 by Karate instructor and historian Charles C. Goodin of the Hikari Dojo. Goodin had been working on a book about Hawaii's Karate pioneers and had consulted with many of the surviving Karate pioneers and the earliest teacher's relatives. The first Seinenkai president, Mr. Katsumi Hokama, and the wives of Uehara Sensei and Miyashiro Sensei, kindly consented to the reestablishment of the Seinenkai.
Higashionna & Uehara
In the early days, Karate was not separated into styles and dan ranking did not even exisit. The sayings were "Character first" and "There is no first attack in Karate." A student was very fortunate to find a Sensei who was willing to accept him. Usually, a person the Sensei respected would have to vouch for the student. Once training began, it was grueling and lasted many years. If the student eventually satisfied his Sensei, he might be permitted to teach... but not for money. In Hawaii, most of the early Sensei taught for free or a nominal amount to pay for the temple or church where classes were conducted.
Karate Sensei, like their counterparts in Judo, Kendo and other traditional arts, were respected members of the community. And they worked hard in their personal lives to deserve this respect. Quiet, dignified, strict, but kindhearted, these are the traits of the Sensei we remember... and should emulate.
Karate originated in Okinawa, with heavy influences from China (see Okinawa Prefecture's Karate and Kobudo website). The original characters for Karate meant "China Hand" and were pronouced "To-Te" or "Tu-Di". The first Okinawan immigrants to the United States arrived in Hawaii in 1900. This was even before Karate had been introduced to the Okinawan school system. The immigration would continue until by the mid-1920's, there were over 20,000 Okinawans living in Hawaii.
Okinawans naturally brought their martial arts with them. Karate and kobudo experts and students worked on the sugar plantations and occassionally demonstated their arts at cultural events, such a Bon Dances and weddings. Other plantation workers, and even gangs which preyed upon elderly immigrants, soon discovered the Okinawans' "secret" art of self-defense. Early Hawaii immigrants (issei), such as Seio Morikone, Chinzen Kinjo, Seiichi Urasaki, Chonin Sanra Arakaki, Watoku Higa, Kizo Teruya, Seishin Uehara, Shuichi Agena, and Ansei Ueshiro, were students of Itosu, Motobu and Kyan, among others. Many where familiar with the Naihanchi kata, but not the Pinan kata as the Pinan had not yet been introduced by Itosu before they left their homeland.
Some of the many senior Karate instructors who have visited Hawaii over the years include Kentsu Yabu (1927), Choki Motobu (1932), Mizuho Mutsu and Kamesuke Higashionna (1933), Chojun Miyagi (1934), Mas Oyama (1952), Hirokazu Kanazawa (1961), Tsuyoshi Chitose (1961), Kanki Izumigawa (1961), Akio Nozoe (1961), Shigenobu Nakano (1961), Hironori Otsuka (1962), Masataka Mori (1963), Gogen Yamaguchi (1966, 1969), Tetsuhiko Asai (1966), Shoshin Nagamine (1969, 1978, 1984, 1996), Seigi Nakamura (1978), Seikichi Odo (1982 - 2002), Chokei Kishaba (1985), Chosei Motobu (2001), Katsuhiko Shinzato (1985, 2003, 2005), Chosei Motobu (2001), Morio Higaonna (2004), and many others.
from Karate Kenpo, 1933
Polynesian Boxing, circa
1795. A Boxing-Match in
Hapaee, by John Webber
Other Martial Arts. Of course, Karate was not the first martial art to be practiced in Hawaii. Upon their arrival in Hawaii in 1885, a large group of Japanese contract workers gathered at Iolani Palace where they gave demonstrations of Kendo and Sumo! Ju Jitsu was taught in Hawaii before 1900. There was a strong Ju Jitsu group in Hilo, Hawaii. It was there that Henry Seishiro Okazaki (founder of Danzan-Ryu) learned Ju Jitsu and other arts, including Ryukyu Karate. He later taught on Maui and eventually settled on Oahu. Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo, came to Hawaii in 1913 and September, 1932. See the History of Judo in Hawaii at the Judo Black Belt Association of Hawaii website. Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido, came to Hawaii in February, 1961. Koichi Tohei (founder of the Ki Society), who had come to Hawaii to teach in the 1950s, accompanied Ueshiba Sensei. See Aikido in Hawaii at the Aikido Hawaii website. One of their students in Hawaii was Sadao Yoshioka.
And Hawaiian warriors had their own armed and unarmed martial arts for hundreds of years. The Hawaiian art of hand-to-hand combat was known as Lua and continues to be taught in the Hawaiian community. See LUA: A Fighting Chance, by Betty Fullard-Leo, at the Coffee Times website.
The goals of the new Hawaii Karate Seinenkai are as follows:
Kuniyoshi & Miyashiro
Kapiolani Park, late 1920's
Most Recent Karate Thoughts Blog Posts:
Added April 6, 2015. We are very happy to add the following article by Stan Henning. Please take the time to review all of Stan's excellent articles at his Chinese Martial Studies Research page.
- East Asian Martial Arts Cultures of China, Japan and Korea, by Stanley E. Henning, March 31, 2015.
Added October 19, 2014. We are very happy to add the following article by Stan Henning. Please take the time to review all of Stan's excellent articles at his Chinese Martial Studies Research page.
- Viewing The Origins of Taijiquan From Another Angle, by Stanley E. Henning, October 16, 2014.
Added December 23, 2013. We are very happy to add the following translation by Mark Tankosich to our Articles Section:
- The Karate-do That Began with Chinmochi: Breaking Boards and Tiles is Not the Essence of this Art, by Gichin Funakoshi.
Translation by Mark Tankosich.
Added January 21, 2012. Upcoming Lecture at the Univerity of Hawaii. Please let your friends know.
Karate in the Ryukyu Kingdom, Okinawa Prefecture, and Hawaii
How is Okinawan Culture Spread through Karate?
Click here for pdf version.
- Speakers: Sensei Pat Nakata (Okinawa Shorin-Ryu Karate Association) &
Charles C. Goodin (Hawaii Karate Museum)
- Date: February 9, 2012 (Thursday)
- Time: 3:00 - 4:30 pm
- Location: Moore Hall 319 (Tokioka Room)
The Hawaii Karate Seinenkai salutes the many Karateka who have come to Hawaii since the turn of the century (1900) to help establish and spread the art.
Hawaii's own Karateka also deserve recognition for their contributions to the art, as do their students, families and supporters. We are what we are because of all of them!
The Hawaii Karate Seinenkai salutes (click here for Alphabetical Listing):
Visitors to Hawaii Before WWII:
An historic gathering of Okinawan Karate masters, 1937. Three of these masters came to Hawaii. Can you identify them?
|Visitors to Hawaii After WWII:|
|Hawaii Karateka (and Supporters):|
The Hawaii Karate Seinenkai has supporters in Hawaii and around the world. We use the term "supporters" rather than members, because because it better describes the role of those who "support" our goals. Our supporters are not only Karate instructors and students. Writers, translators, artists, designers, investors, contractors, actors, physicians, priests and parents... support can take many forms.
|Hawaii Karate in the Media|
History is only history when someone writes it down! Remarkably, very little was ever written in English about the early days of Karate in Hawaii. The groundbreaking work in documenting the subject was undertaken by Bruce A. Haines in his 1962 University of Hawaii master's thesis, Karate and Its Development in Hawaii to 1959. Haines later wrote Karate's History and Traditions (Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1968), a broader text which includes a chapter on Karate in the United States, including Hawaii.
The general lack of literature, however, has led many people to incorrectly assume that Karate was not present in Hawaii until after World War Two (when returning GIs brought back the art with them). This is incorrect. Karate students and teachers were present in Hawaii from the earliest days of Okinawan immigration (1900). In fact, one of the original twenty-six immigrants was a Karate student (and his son would later sponsor the visit of Miyagi Sensei in 1934)!
|Click above for this article|
The Hawaii Karate Seinenkai will work to encourage Karate journalism, particularly articles and features in various media about the history of Karate in Hawaii. See:
- From Bento to Mixed Plate: Americans of Japanese Ancestry in Multicultural Hawai`i, Japanese National Museum. Charles C. Goodin and two of his sons were included in a large photograph demonstrating Karate in this exhibition about Japanese immigration to Hawaii. After its debut at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. Hawaii, the exhibition traveled to various locations, including Los Angeles, Washington. D.C., and the Okinawa Prefectural Museum, Naha, Okinawa .
In connection with fund raising efforts to send the exhibit to Okinawa, Goodin gave a lecture about the History of Karate in Hawaii. Members of the Hikari Dojo also gave a public demonstration at the Ward Warehouse, in Honolulu, Hawaii. The lecture and demonstration were in December 1999.
- Annual Okinawan Festival. In 2001 and 2003, the Hawaii Karate Seinenkai presented an exhibition of historic Karate photographs at the annual Okinawan Festival held in Kapiolani Park. The exhibit was in the Hui O Laulima cultural tent. We will try to participate in this event every other year.
In The Schools:
- A Teaching Unit on Okinawan Culture, Farrington Community School for Adults in cooperation with the Hawaii United Okinawa Association, February 2003. This resource booklet will be provided to the public schools in Hawaii. Goodin was a consultant on The Okinawan Martial Arts section, which included his articles The Roots of Okinawan Karate in Hawaii and Karate and Okinawan Sumo.
- Children's Okinawan Cultural Day Camp, Hawaii United Okinawa Association, 2002 and 2003. Goodin gave classes on Okinawan Karate to children participating in this program. In 2004, Goodin taught with Sensei Terry Higa. Dexter Chun assisted.
- Hawaii Okinawa Today, Fall, 1999. This locally produced video featured Goodin's research on the history of Karate in Hawaii.
- Goodin was also a consultant on Matsubayashi-Ryu Shorin Ryu Karate, a video about the history of Matsubayashi-Ryu (Shorin-Ryu) Karate-Do, produced by Dragon Associates. Published in April 2000, it includes historic footage of Shoshin and Takayoshi Nagamine and their senior students from the 1960's and 1970's performing kata, bunkai, and weapon arts combined with a finely detailed illustrated history of Matsubayashi Ryu from its founding to the present. Running time 35mins. Stereo sound, restored footage and a large number of rare historic photographs.
Karate's roots in Hawaii should be preserved. By learning about our forefathers, we gain a better appreciation of this peaceful art and the rich Okinawan culture from which is arose. When we practice Karate, we can feel their eyes reaching across time to observe our technique and composure. If you believe this is worthwhile, please help us to accomplish our goals.
The Hawaii Karate Seinenkai can be contacted as follows:
Charles C. Goodin, President
Hawaii Karate Seinenkai
4253 Halupa Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96818 USA
tel/cel: (808) 488-5773
The spirit of Karate is the Aloha spirit
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