Our organization, the Ryusei Karate-Do Federation,
is now simply called Ryusei Karate-Do. (So the
style and the association have the same name.) This
means, for example, the Ryusei Karate-Do Federation
Canada has become Ryusei Karate-Do Canada.
Why the change?
Last fall, Sakamoto-Sensei had a split with some of
the Ryusei sensei in Japan. From Sakamoto-Sensei's point
of view, the split came about because he felt that a
lot of the sensei were not striving to understand and
practise the original Okinawan (tode) and Chinese kempo
technique that are the basis Ryusei karate.
The split means that there are now two Ryusei organizations:
Ryusei Karate-Do (ours) and the Ryusei Karate-Do Federation
While I can't presume to say what will happen with
the old Ryusei Karate-Do Federation, they seem to be
very tournament-oriented and not so interested in Sakamoto-Sensei's
investigations into the roots of traditional karate.
Last November, Sakamoto-Sensei wrote a document outlining
the organization and purposes of the new Ryusei Karate-Do.
In his opening he writes:
I am following in the footsteps of
O-Sensei (Tsuyoshi Chitose) and his philosophy, and
am striving to master the techniques of todi. Recently,
however, I have encountered some high-ranking instructors,
who do not agree with our karate philosophy. . . .
To avoid such conflicts down the road, I will now
clarify my position on what our affiliation and organization
should be, and what should be changed.
Ryusei Karate-Do is martial arts
organization whose members strive to master the techniques
and philosophy of traditional budo arts. My philosophy
and beliefs about Ryusei Karate-Do will never be changed
by threats or harassments. If you are shihan or sensei
who value organizational structure and roles more
than the history and mastery of such traditional techniques,
I ask you to leave from Ryusei Karate-Do. In the past,
I experienced the stupidity of an organization corrupting
a master's style during my years in Chito-Ryu. I do
not wish to repeat the same mistake again.
After stating the purpose of the new Ryusei organization
and sounding his warning, Sakamoto-Sensei outlines the
set-up of the new organization.
The highest division is the Todi Keishoshitsu (Todi
Preservation Division), whose objective "is to
pass on our techniques and philosophy to future generations."
Under this is the Gijitsukyoku (International Technical
Committee), followed by the Gijitsubu (each country's
As the founder of Ryusei Karate-Do and our most skilled
practitioner, Sakamoto-Sensei is head of both the Todi
Preservation Division and the International Technical
Committee. He is also, temporarily, the organization's
secretary. Finally as a special consultant (Komon),
he has appointed Tsuyoshi Hiroshige-Sensei, one of Japan's
most famous Kyokushinkai leaders (head of the Tokyo-based
Jomon division) and his closest friend.
A chart of the new organization looks like this:
In the new organization, the Todi Keishoshitsu is responsible
for issuing dan certificates and is currently preparing
new ones. In the Canada and U.S. we will continue to
issue our own kyu (colored belt) certificates, though
once we run out of our current supply, we will have
to revise the wording of any new kyu certificates.
A new fee structure will also be implemented over the
next couple of years, but more on this on another date.
While the changes to our organization are mildly upsetting
(it's tough to see a small organization grow smaller),
they are for the best. Rather than having a lot of warring
personalities pulling in different directions we now
have an international group that is determined to work
together for a common purpose.
And that is good news.