As stated in a post from January 2022, I recall a weekend that I once spent with Chinen Teruo Sensei of Judokan Goju-Ryu. Due to the fact that he knew (my at that time previous instructor) Sensei Narumi Hidetada, I had a unique opportunity to have deep conversations with him. I learned that they had a close relationship with the Yoyogi dojo in Tokyo.
I did not know about Yoyogi as a young Karateka. I sincerely wish that I did as it is woven into the very fabric of my Karate. So, co-incidentally for my lineage, Gima Makoto Sensei and his students also used the Yoyogi Dojo as their base where both ‘Shoto’ and ‘Goju’ were being taught.
The internet will tell us that the famous Goju-Ryu Sensei, Higaonna Morio moved from Okinawa to Tokyo both to study at Taku-Dai (Takushoku University) and whilst in Japan he made huge efforts to propagate Karate-do both in Japan and overseas. Higaonna sensei was to become a feature in the notorious Yoyogi Dojo. A dojo legendary for its arduous training sessions.
In his book Karate do History and Philosophy, Takao Nakaya, JSS Publishing. P. 176-177. 6th edition, 2018 writes:
“SHOTO-RYU – 松涛流 – 1968
He supported the Karatedo society for a long time. After Gima passed away, this style was no longer practiced openly. I have a personal interest in Gima’s Karatedo life, so I tried to find his students, which resulted in locating Ikuo Higuchi (11/2/1941 – ), Mitsunori Kobayashi (2/25/1944), and Hidetada Narumi (4/27/1944). Kobayashi – Sensei (Mitsunori Kobayashi) related the following story. A few years after Gima’s death, they created Gima-Ha Shoto-Ryu. Then five or six years later they changed the name to Gima-Ha Shotokan-Ryu”. So, it was around 1996 that they used the style, “Gima-Ha (Gima-sect) Shotokan-Ryu = 儀間派松涛館流.” Currently, they have organised a group “Gima-Ha Shotokan-Ryu Karatedo Association), and Higuchi is the chief instructor.
Higuchi-Sensei related that one Okinawan schoolteacher, Ryujo Arakaki, wanted to popularise Karatedo. After he retired, he moved to Tokyo and bought some property in the metropolitan area (Yoyogi) of Tokyo to use as a Karatedo dojo.
Arakaki was not a Karatedoka, so he asked Seiken Shukumine to teach. Shukumine agreed to teach there, but later quit.
Afterwards, Arakaki contacted Gima, and Gima began teaching in the 1950s, but Gima did not teach every day. So later, Seikichi Toguchi, who was a Goju-Ryu instructor, taught the other days at the same time. Toguchi moved to Tokyo in 1960 and stayed for a decade. After Toguchi left, several other people taught at the dojo.
The following names came from Kobayashi-Sensei, but some are not certain:
Mitsuhiro Tsuchiya 2/26/1933 – ),
Hideharu Ogawa (7/24/1932- ),
Teruo Chinen (6/8/1941 – 9/9/2015), and
After Gima retired, his student Ikuo Higuchi taught.
Kobayashi -Sensei told me that Gima’s first son, Hideo, and Hideo’s first son, Katsuhiko were not known as Karatedoka. They might never have learned Karatedo. Gima’s wife was Yaeko. I must thank Gima-Sensei who left an invaluable book “Kindai Karatedo no Rekiushi wo Kataru” with Ryozo Fujiwara to help me research Karatedo’s history. There are so many valuable materials in this book.”
One of my senior instructors, Higuchi Ikuo Sensei , wrote in Gima Sensei Beiju Celebration booklet:
“Because at this time I was very young, I was much more interested in kumite than kata. It seemed more important to me to actually practice my form than to understand it. At that time doing 1000 practice punches and 1000 practice kicks was like nothing; I would do 10,000. At this time, we had a senior instructor called T. Kobayashi; he was very uncompromising and strict.
The training was so severe that today’s young karate students would probably give up in less than three days. This training was designed to enable us to take on and defeat 10-15 enemies at a time. Only people with great physical and spiritual strength could handle this training. Throughout all this training, Master M. Gima’s calm theoretical training gave us the spirit to continue in spite of the severity. As I rose through the ranks (perhaps because I was very enthusiastic), Master Gima taught me all that he knew. One day he told me “Higuchi, I’m going to teach you all I know”, which he did. Also, he taught me Sensei Funakoshi’s karate throwing techniques. I was the first student to get a qualification in Gima Style Karate. For this reason, I decided to make karate my career, and have continued polishing my style and gathering disciples over the years. Among the many katas that Master Gima taught me, Gojushiho is my favourite kata and I often show it at karate tournaments and displays. I call it “Gima-ha Gojushiho” because of my appreciation to him and the forte of his karate.”
Another note (I cannot find the author), in the booklet wrote:
“The All Japan Shisei-Kai Federation was founded in Showa 46 (1972) with Higuchi Ikuo Sensei as its centre, who instructed. Higuchi Sensei was a master of the Shotokan-Ryu karate, which was winning fame at the time as a prominent dojo even in Japan. In fact, the dojo was in Yoyogi Dojo of the Okinawa Karatedo Association.
At the time, for that reason, with Yoyogi Dojo disciples forming the core, we went from Ikebukuro’s parks Blue Sky Dojo we used Suginamiku’s Myoheiji gymnasium as a place to train.”
Yet another of my senior instructors, Kobayashi Mitsunori Sensei, recently wrote to me stating:
Then I know (knew) Gojyu Master Mr. Higaonnna , Mr. Chinen and Mr. Suzuki well.
Especially I was taught important technique by Mr. Suzuki when I was in Kyoto.”
And I had a chance of studying Shito Ryu by Mr. Ryushou Sakagami ( Itosu-kai). I think It is important to study the movement of circle. And we must not rely on my (our) power. We must study how to reduce the power of the opponent”.
So, Yoyogi, Goju-Ryu, Shito-Ryu, Shoto-Ryu (Shotokan-Ryu) all have major connections to my lineage (and therefore Gima-Ha UK) and experience. This I find to be fascinating and still research and study as much as I can on the subject and the styles.