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Hisataka, Masayoshi (Kori)

He was born with the name Kudaka Seiki in Shuri (Naha city Okinawa) on April 22,1907. Young Kudaka began his martial arts training at an early age as was common among those of Noble bloodline. Hisataka's great grandfather had changed the family name to Kudaka in honor of the Island which the family had been previously awarded for services rendered to Okinawa.

He begun his training in the family system of Kudaka ryu Kamite (Divine Hand) as well as Kudaka jima Shi shi ryu Bojutsu. Hisataka's first instructor outside the family was to be Anko Azato from whom the young Kudaka would learn a variation of the Kata Niseishi (Nijushiho) based on Master Azato's personal experiences. Upon the untimely death of his father at a young age and perhaps due to his being from a well respected family, Hisataka (Kudaka in the Okinawan dialect) was taught Kobudo by the legendary Sanda Kanagusuku as a favor to his family. Hisataka had the benefit of receiving Martial instruction from some of the truly great Karateka of the day such as Itosu Anko, Hanashiro Chomo,Yabu Kentsu as well as Motobu Choki.

A friend of Nagamine Shoshin since childhood, Hisataka would later also develop a strong and lasting friendship with both Miyagi Chojun as well as Mabuni Kenwa. A major influence in young Hisataka's life would also be Kyan Chotoku, and he became regarded as Kyan's young ward. With Kyan he traveled through Mainland Japan and Taipei, demonstrating, training and fighting in challenge matches (with the young Kudaka often acting as Kyan's second).

In 1930 while in Taipei, Master Kyan was challenged in the presence of Hisataka as well as Ryosei Kuwae by a rather prominent Judo instructor by the name of Ishida Shinzo (Rokudan Kodokan Judo). Kyan stripped down to his undergarments in accepting the Judoka's challenge. According to Hisataka, as the Judoka moved in Kyan foiled his attempt to seize him by dropping back and rather painfully seizing the cheek of the Ishida twisting his head and breaking his balance. Ishida, then chose to submit rather than sustain the blow of the hammer fist which was beneath his ear (indicating the target which would have been struck). Master Kyan thus defeated the Judoka without causing him serious injury, and Ishida asked for and received instruction from Kyan personally for the remainder of his stay.

Hisataka himself upon returning to Mainland Japan undertook the study of Judo from the legendary Sanpo Toku, and eventually obtained the rank of Yondan in Kodokan Judo from him. While many of his peers were establishing their schools, Hisataka was still traveling and training. His martial skill influenced several other prominent martial artists such as Mochizuki Minoru and Doshin So.

Hisataka was an early pioneer of full contact sparring while using protective body armor and established his school of Shorinjiryu Kenkokan Karatedo on mainland Japan in 1945.

His Karate is characterized by light and evasive footwork with an emphasis on mobility and body shifting. Another innovation was the retention of the vertical fist punch (originally taught by Kyan) combined with a powerful full body torque used for striking.

Upon his death on August 14, 1988 the system fragmented. His son Hisataka Masayuki retained the Kenkokan name while Hisataka's top students such as Watanabe Shunji, Shigeru Ishino,Morita minoru, Kashimoto Tamon, Monjiyama Fujio, Yamazaki Hisanobu and Ishigami Yashuhiro carried on their teacher's values in their own ways.

Written by Tom Ross
Unante the secrets of Karate by John Sells
Scientific Karatedo by Masayuki Hisataka
Essential Shorinjiryu by Masayuki Hisataka
Tales of Okinawa's great masters by Nagamine Shoshin
Conversations with
Mr.Watanabe Shunji
Mr.Tom Carmelengo
Mr.Charles Cable
Mr.Fred Marcus
Mr.Myron Lubitsch

To find more articles of interest, search on one of these keywords:

Kudaka Seiki, Kudaka, Kudaka ryu Kamite, Divine Hand, Kudaka jima Shi shi ryu Bojutsu, Anko Azato

Read more articles by Tom Ross

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