Wado Ryu Karate (History, Katas, Techniques)

Do you know that Wado Ryu Karate is a style that combines elements of Shindo Yoshin Ryu Jujutsu as well as Okinawan traditions? Indeed, you are correct since it has progressed throughout the course of time. Beginning in Okinawa and continuing all the way to Japan, it has seen a significant amount of stylistic evolution.

The name of this style of karate, Wado Ryu, literally translates to “Way of Harmony or Peace.” The fact that it places an emphasis, above all else, on fostering harmony is what sets it apart from the other approaches.

In addition, the aspects of this style of karate that interest me the most are its guiding principles, which include things like Maai, Tai Sabaki, and others, as well as specific body moves that are used for self-defense.

What Is Wado Ryu Karate?

Wado Ryu Karate is a traditional form of Karate practised in Japan. Its primary emphasis is on evading or redirecting an opponent’s assault in order to defend oneself from harm. When practising specific karate techniques, rather of relying solely on your own physical power, you should focus on maintaining body discipline instead. However, other schools of karate place a greater emphasis on punching; these schools adhere to the philosophy that retreating is a more successful strategy than using brute force. In addition to this, techniques of the Jiu Jitsu style, such as joints and locks, are performed in shorter, more natural postures.

A Concise Overview of the History of Wado Ryu Karate

Karate was initially created in Okinawa, as you are well aware. But are you aware of how it made its way to Japan?

To put it simply, it may be attributed to the cultural exchanges that take place between China and Japan. Up until this point, it has existed in a wide variety of forms and styles, each of which is taught in a unique karate dojo. One of the schools of Karate is called Wado Ryu.

The Shindo Yoshin-Ryu Jujutsu style is reflective of the foundation upon which the Wado Ryu was built. If we are talking about Jujutsu, then Yoshitoki Akiyama was the one who created it. He went to China in order to study Chinese medical practises and martial arts there. While there, he gained a lot of valuable knowledge.

When he was sitting there one day, he noticed a willow tree in the distance. In spite of the snowstorm, he observed that the willow tree did not have any branches that had been snapped off. As the accumulation of snow causes it to get heavier, the tree bends to allow it to fall off. Because of this discovery, he was inspired to create a new Karate method known as Jujutsu, which later developed into Wado Ryu.


This particular school of karate was established by Hironori Otsuka many years ago. He started learning Shindo Yoshin Ryu Jujutsu under Tatsusaburo Nakayama. In later years, he rose through the ranks to become the head instructor of Shindo Yoshin Ryu Jujutsu.

After beginning his training in karate in 1922 under Master Gichin Funakoshi and continuing it in 1939 under Choki Motobu and Kenwa Mabuni, he went on to create his own school of the martial art known as Wado-Ryu.

Hironori Otsuka felt inspired by Okinawa’s karate. He discovered that Okinawa-style Karate and Jujutsu each have their own unique set of methods, and vice versa. As a result, the idea occurred to him to combine the two styles and incorporate the skills of Jujutsu into Okinawan Karate. Because of this, Wado-Ryu was created by integrating both of these schools of martial arts.

Wado Ryu Karate Techniques:

Wado Ryu Karate Katas

Originally, there were sixteen katas in the Wado Ryu system, but later on, Superimpei Kata was eliminated. At this time, 15 katas are being trained. The most important ones are:

Pinan, which translates to “calm mind,” is the name of this series. Anko Itosu was responsible for the creation of the pinan series in the 1900s. Itosu was able to learn these, and later incorporate them into a set of five katas called Pinan. These include:

  • Pinan Nidan
  • Pinan Shodan
  • Pinan Sandan
  • Pinan Yondan
  • Pinan Godan
  • It is necessary to demonstrate proficiency in Kushanku, which is one of the longest kata forms, in order to advance beyond the brown belt level.
  • It’s also known as’sideway fights,’ but the literal translation of the word is’surreptitious steps.’ It is the one that is the most successful out of all of them.
  • Seishun is the oldest of the katas, and it is known for its emphasis on footwork and footwork-based self-defense methods. It has the meaning of “13 hands.”
  • Chinto: Chinto requires his trainees to acquire a variety of throwing methods in addition to how to stabilise and balance themselves. Gini Funakoshi taught it to Ohtsuka.
  • The martial art known as Wanshu got its name from a Chinese emissary who travelled to Okinawa about the year 1600. He remained there and instructed others in Shaolin White Crane Kempo throughout that time.

Wado Ryu Karate Stances

  • Chinto dachi, also known as the Chinto posture, requires that the two heels be aligned along the same line. It takes 1.5 times the width of the shoulders to measure the length from one heel to the other.
  • Free stance, also known as fudo dachi, is achieved by bending the back knee and bringing it in front of the back ankle.
  • Gankaku dachi (or Sagi ashi dachi) – Crane or heron stance: This phrase literally translates to “crane on rock.” It features a lot of swift assaults, but at the same time, it also has some slow postures to restore peace to the situation.
  • In the Gyaku Neko Ashi dachi, also known as the reverse cat stance, the weight is distributed more evenly over both feet, with the back knee pointing inwards.
  • In the gyaku zuki dachi, also known as the reverse punch stance, the weight is distributed more heavily on the front foot, which also points inwards ever-so-slightly.
  • Reverse lunge, also known as gyaku zuki tsukkomi dachi: the front feet are aligned with the rear feet, which are perpendicular to the assault line.
  • Toes are angled outwards slightly while in the Hachiji dachi, or ready posture. Shoulders and feet are separated by the same distance.
  • If your opponent is in front of you, then your toes should be in a position to their centre while you are in the Hangetsu dachi, also known as the half-moon stance.
  • The Hanmi Neko Ashi dachi is also known as the half-turned cat posture. This stance is characterised by the hips being positioned at an angle known as Hanmi, with the rear foot pointing to the side.
  • It is the parallel stance known as heiko dachi, in which the feet are separated by the same distance as the length of one foot.

Wado Ryu Karate Kicks

  • Because of its speed, force, and ability, the Mawashi Geri, also known as the Roundhouse kick, is able to reach a diverse array of targets at varying heights.
  • Hiza Geri, also known as a knee strike, is utilised in situations where the user is unable to fully extend their legs due to the opponent’s proximity.
  • The Mae Geri, also known as the front kick, is a very fundamental kind of kicking used for self-defense.
  • Stomp Kick, also known as FumiKomi, is a technique that targets an opponent’s knee, thigh, and foot.
  • The Kin Geri, also known as the Groin Kick, is a kick that focuses on striking the area around the groyne as well as the inner thighs.
  • The Kansetsu Geri, also known as the Joint Kick, is a technique that aims for the side or the rear of an opponent’s knee.
  • The Ushiro Geri, also known as the rear kick, has a less precise target—the back of the person doing the kicking.
  • The Ashi Bari (Foot Sweep) is a technique that causes the opponent to lose their balance and fall to the ground.
  • The Kakato Otoshi Geri, also known as the “Axe Kick,” is a technique that aims for the skull or the shoulder bone of the opponent.
  • The Mikazuki Geri, also known as the Crescent Kick, aims for the head or collar bone of the opponent.

Karate strikes from the Wado Ryu system

  • Zuki (Tsuki) (punch)
  • Empi (elbow strike)
  • Gyakuzuki (reverse punch)
  • Haishu (back hand)
  • Haito (ridge hand)
  • Hitosashi Ipponken (knuckle strike – 2nd knuckle of index finger)
  • Ippon Nukite (one finger spear hand)
  • Junzuki (forward punch)
  • Koken Uchi (wrist strike with the back of the bent wrist)
  • Maewashi Zuki (roundhouse punch)

Wado Ryu Karate Kumite

  • Ipponme or Kihon 1: Necessary to obtain the orange belt, green belt, and yellow belt, as well as the brown belt for the third kyu.
  • It is necessary to pass Nihonme or Kihon 2 in order to get a blue belt, a brown belt at the 3rd kyu level, a black belt at the 1st dan level.
  • Sanbonme or Kihon 3 must be completed in order to earn the purple belt, brown belt for 2nd Kyu, black belt for 1st Dan.
  • Yonhonme or Kihon 4: Required to attain a brown belt at the 2nd or 3rd Kyu level
  • Gohonme or Kihon 5: To obtain a brown belt at the second kyu level
  • To obtain your first kyu, second kyu brown belt, and black belt, you must pass either Rapponme or Kihon 6. 2nd Dan
  • Kihon 7 (Nanahonme): This is the requirement to earn your first kyu brown belt.
  • The Hachihonme or Kihon 8 test is necessary for her 1st and 2nd Dan belts.
  • Kihonme 9 or Kyuhonme 9: Necessary to Obtain the Third Dan Belt
  • It is necessary to have either Jipponme or Kihon 10 in order to advance to higher Dan belts, starting with the third one.

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