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Sakagami, Ryusho (1915 - 1993)

Sakagami was born in Hyugo Prefecture, Kawanishi City of Japan, the son of a very prosperous Saki businessman. He began practicing Kendo around the age of ten, and in his later years began to study Iaido. By 1935, he was enrolled at the prestigeous Tokyo University, the Kokushinkan, which specialized in producing the top Kendo instructors in Japan. At this time, he became interested in Karate-Do and Kobudo and began to learn them from Moden Yabiku.

Over the next few years Ryusho Sakagami continued his education and intense training in various martial arts and around 1937, after repeated visits to Okinawa to train in Karate-do and Kobudo, he was encouraged by some of the great masters to return to mainland Japan and continue his studies with Kenwa Mabuni in Osaka.

After graduating from the university, Ryusho Sakagami returned to Osaka to become a dedicated disciple of Master Mabuni. By 1941, he was given a Shihan certificate from Master Mabuni and a short while later, returned to his home prefecture to establish Gembukan Karate-Do Dojo.

As a result of his efforts to promote the art of Karate-Do, he was awarded the honorary title of Renshi (man of discipline) in 1942 from the Dai Nippon Butoku-Kai, the most prestigious martial arts organization in Japan at the time.

Prior to the death of Kenwa Mabuni on May 23, 1952, Ryusho Sakagami was directed by the Grandmaster to accept the honorific position of "Third Generation Leader of Itosu-ha" (Itosu's Orthodox Style) in early 1952. After his death, Sakagami Sensei moved to Tokyo where he taught for a short time, and finally settled in the town of Tsurumi (between Kawasaki and Yokohoma).

By 1955, he had firmly established the "Zen Nippon Karate-Do Itosu-Kai" headquarters for instruction in Kendo, Karate-Do, Kobudo, and Jodo. Over the next few years, he continued the study of Ryukyu Kobudo under Shinken Taira who awarded him a Shihan license in 1959, and promoted him to 8th Dan (Kobudo) in 1963.

Master Sakagami's reputation became legendary throughout the martial art world. By this time, he had distinguished himself to 5th Dan in Aikido, 5th Dan in Judo, and 7th Dan in Jukendo. In 1962, he was honoured by being awarded 7th Dan Kendo, Kyoshi.

Besides serving as a director for the "Protection and Promotion of the Ancient Martial Arts of the Ryukyu Islands", he was one of the founding fathers of the "Federation of All-Japan Karate-Do Origanizations" and served as its chief technical judge. By 1977, he received the 7th Dan Jodo, Kyoshi level of distinction.

Among his disciples were Shihan Sakaaki Sakagami (Chief Instructor), Shihan Kei Tsumura (Shito-Ryu Itosu-Kai Canada), Shihan Seiko Suzuki (Seiko-Kai Shito-Ryu) and Shihan Fumio Demura (Shito-Ryu Itosu-Kai USA).

In 1980, Master Sakagami was awarded the 8th Dan Karate-Do, Hanshi, by FAJKO (Federation of All-Japan Karate-Do Organizations), and in 1987 was an 8th Dan Iaido, Hanshi in Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Iai. He was also elevated to the 10th Dan Karate-Do (Grandmaster) level by Nippon Karatedo Rengokai (Japan Karate-Do, All Styles Organizations).

Grandmaster Ryusho Sakagami died on Tuesday, December 28, 1993.

Excerpted with permission from (Edited for punctuation and clarity)

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

Shito-ryu,Moden Yabiku, Kenwa Mabuni, Itosu-ha, Zen Nippon Karate-Do Itosu-Kai,Shinken Taira

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