Sensei History



Sensei History

1683 Wang Ji — A Chinese envoy who taught Kempo in Tomari, Okinawa. The Wanshu

kata is still practiced in Tomari-te.

1756 Kusanku — A Chinese who taught Kempo in Shuri, Okinawa. He was originally

from the Fukien province.

Peichin Takahara (1683-1760)– Taught Kempo in Akata, Okinawa (near Shuri).

1762 “Karate” or “To-Te” or “Todei” Shungo Sakugawa (1733-1815) — Completed

training in Akata. He also studied for years in China, and later established the

Dojo Etiquette.

1816 “Bushi” Sokon Matsumura (1792-1893) — Completed training in Shuri. He was

the first to systemize Karate, and to name his style (Shuri-te) after something other

than his own name. He is also accredited as having formulated Basai Dai.

“Tonochi” Yasutsune Azato (1828-1906)– Trained in shuri with Itosu.

1846 “Ankoh” Yasutsune Itosu (1830-1915) — Trained in Shuri. Completed training

between 1890-1900, and in 1901 he opened the first school of Karate to the public,

in the Okinwawa Middle School. He was close friends with Azato. (Ankoh=Iron



Arakaki Sokon Matsumura

Gichin Funakoshi (1868-1957) — Trained in Shuri, introduced Shotokan (lit.

“House of little Tiger”) to Japan in 1922. Father of Japanese Karate.


1910 “Saru” Choki Motobu (1871-1944)– Received shodan in Shuri. Accredited as being the first to systemize kata. (Saru=Monkey)

Woo Lu Chin — China

Kanryo Higashionna (1845-1915) — Studied in China for 5-18 years. Close friend

of Itosu Sensei.

Chojun Miyagi (1888-1953) — Founded and taught (with Gogen Yamaguchi)

Gojuryu, after learning Chinese Shorei from 1902-1915.

Gogen “The Cat” Yamaguchi (1909-1989) — Taught Gojuryu with Miyagi.

Sonei Chu — Japan

Masutatsu Oyama (1923-1994) — Teacher of Shotokan and author of several books,

including “What is Karate” and “This is Karate.” He is also the founder of


1930 Tung Gee Hsiang — Received shodan in Canton, China. Possible nephew of

Choki Motobu.


1942 Robert A. Trias (1922-1989) — Received shodan in Tulagi. Known as the father of

American Karate, as he introduced the art to the U.S. in 1946. He subsequently

formed the USKA.


Dr. James Mitose (1916-1981) — Studied from 1921-36 in Kyushu, Japan. He

studied Kempo in Bodhidharma’s Shaolin Kung Fu.

William K. S. Chow (1914-1987) — One of the first to teach Kempo in 1944, in

Honolulu. He was one of only five of Mitose’s students ever to reach shodan.

Adriano Emperado (1926- ) — Originally learned Kempo, and received

shodan sometime after 1949. He also founded, with four others (Walter

Choo-Karate; Joseph Holke-Judo; Frank Ordonez-Jujitsu; Clarence Chang-Chinese

Boxing) Kajukenbo, in 1947.

Chao Hsu Lai

Kentsu Yabu (1866-1937) — A student of Itosu’s, and the only known master ever to defeat Motobu in a shiai. He aided Itosu to open Karate to the public.

Ankichi Arakiki (1899-1927) — Born in Shuri. Around 1921, he trained with

Chotoku Kyan, and later taught Soshin Nagamine, who was predominant in


Richard Kim (1917-2001) — Aside from Karate, Kim studied T’ai ChiCh’uan in China,

along with Pa-kua. He is known as the foremost historian of the martial arts in the

U.S., and has written many books, including “The Weaponless Warriors.”

1960 Phillip Koeppel (1938- ) — Received shodan from Master Trias in Peoria (through

the mail). There, he taught with Master William Foster. He began his training with

Kim and Yahito Kauaguchi in 1956 in the Japanese Islands, where he was fighting

in the U.S. Navy. He then continued with Emperado in Hawaii. He was one of the

co-promoters of the first World Karate Tournament, held in Chicago, in 1963.

Lo Wei Doun — Shanghai, 1930’s

1963 Reverend William H. Foster (1913-1994) — Received shodan from Master Koeppel.

He began studying the martial arts with Lo Wei Doun in 1937, after boxing for

several years. Later, in 1960, he met Master Koeppel in Peoria, where they

opened a school. He subsequently founded the Yin Yang Do Karate Association,

and taught in Kenosha, Wisconsin.