About the JKF Wado-Kai


affiliate10Wado kai ( 和道会, Wadō kai) is the name of the organization within the Japan Karate Federation (JKF) which practices the Wadoryu style of karate. According to Ishizuka Akira, a veteran figure in the Japanese karate world, the term “Wado Kai” was in general use as early as the 1940s, but it was only in 1967 that the name was adopted formally. Prior to this the group was known as the “Zen Nihon Karate-do Renmei”. With the formation of the Federation of All Japan Karatedo Organization (FAJKO, later changed to JKF) in the mid 60’s, it was no longer correct to use this name so Wadokai came into formal use.

The Wadokai has some superb technicians. In Japan these include Arakawa Toru (9th Dan JKF), Hakoishi Katsumi, Takagi Hideho, Maeda Toshiaki, Murase Hisao and Nishimura Seiji to name a few. Both Europe and Pan America have several Japanese instructors who have promoted this vision of karate.

The term Wadokai can be broken into three parts: Wa, do and kai. Wa can be read to mean ‘harmony’. It can also be read to mean “original Japan”, as in Wafu (Japanese style), Washoku (Japanese food). it is therefore also a clever pun that could be taken to mean both “harmony” and “intrinsically Japanese”. Do is a Japanese term for ‘way’ (as in karate-do). So Wado means ‘the way of (Japanese) harmony’. Kai simply means ‘association’.


In 1938 Hironori Ohtsuka registered his mixed style of karate-jujutsu with the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai, originally under the name of “Shinshu Wadoryu Karate-Jujutsu.” Not much later this was shortened to Wado-ryu (和道流).

  • In 1952 a Wadoryu Honbu (headquarters) was established in the Meiji University dojo in Tokyo, Japan.
  • In 1964 the Japan Karatedo Federation (JKF) was established as a general organization for all karate styles. The Wado Kai was a founding member of this organization.
  • On 5 June 1967, the Wado organization changed the name to Wadokai.
  • In 1980, as a result of a conflict between Hironori Ohtsuka and the Wadokai organization, Ohtsuka stepped down as head of Wadokai. Eiichi Eriguchi succeeded him within Wadokai at that time and again became Chairman during the 1990s..
  • On 1 April 1981 Hironori Ohtsuka founded Wadoryu Karatedo Renmei. After only a few months Hironori Otsuka retired as head of this organization. His son Jiro Otsuka took his place. Renmei means ‘group’ or ‘federation.’
  • On 29 January 1982 Hironori Ohtsuka died at the age of 89 years .
  • In 1983 Jiro Ohtsuka became Grandmaster of Wado Ryu and changed his name to Hironori Ohtsuka, in honor of his father.   He is now often referred to as Hironori Ohtsuka II.
  • In 1989 Tatsuo Suzuki founded his own organization, the third major Wado organization: Wado Kokusai. Kokusai means ‘international.’ The full name of Wadokai in English is Japan Karatedo Federation Wadokai. In Japanese it is Zen Nihon Karatedo Renmei Wadokai. Nowadays the full name of Wadoryu is Wadoryu Karatedo Renmei.
  • The full name of Wado Kokusai is Wado Kokusai Karatedo Renmei, also known as Wado International Karatedo Federation abbreviated as
  • WIKF.
  • Strictly speaking Hironori Ohtsuka founded and developed Wado Ryu. The people who trained with him became the Wado group or
  • Wadokai. So today, the style that is trained within Wadokai is Wado Ryu.

The JKF Wado Kai Kata List

Pinan ShodanPinan Nidan Pinan SandanPinan YondanPinan Godan
KushankuNaihanchi SeishanChintoNiseishi
Rohai Wanshu Jion

The WKF Wado Ryu Kata List

Pinan ShodanPinan NidanPinan SandanPinan YondanPinan Godan
Kushanku Naihanchi Seishan ChintoBassai Niseishi
Rohai Wanshu Jion Jitte Unsu Superimpei

Kata are predefined, specific patterns of movement that incorporate and encapsulate martial techniques, concepts, and applications. The exact movements of a kata often vary from one organization to another, and even from one school to another within the same organization. The variations can range from gross deviations apparent to the untrained observer to very subtle minutiae.

In his 1977 book on Wadō-ryū (published in English in 1997), Ōtsuka Sensei declared only nine official kata for Wadō-ryū: Pinan Shodan, Pinan Nidan, Pinan Sandan, Pinan Yondan, Pinan Godan, Kūsankū, Naihanchi, Chintō, and Seishan. Within his text, Ōtsuka Sensei provides detailed notes on the performance of these kata, which has resulted in less deviation across organizations on their performance. However, Ōtsuka Sensei did teach other kata. Perhaps because Ōtsuka Sensei did not provide specific notes for the performance of these other kata in his text, there is greater variation in these other kata across organizations and schools. Kata associated with Wadō-ryū include:

* Ten-No: basic drills first invented by Gigō Funakoshi (son of Gichin Funakoshi).

* Taikyoku series: developed by Gichin Funakoshi as a preliminary exercise before the Pinan series; many Wadō-ryū schools teach these basic kata, particularly Taikyoku Shodan (太極初段).

* Pinan kata: created by Ankō Itosu, and consisting of Pinan Shodan (平安初段), Pinan Nidan (平安二段), Pinan Sandan (平安三段), Pinan Yodan (平安四段), and Pinan Godan (平安五段).

* Kushanku: “Sky Viewing”. Kūsankū was the Okinawan name for Kwang Shang Fu, a Sapposhi (emissary of China’s ruling class) sent to Okinawa in the 18th century. This kata uses stances and attacks comprising of the five previous Pinan kata.

* Naihanchi ( 内畔戦; also known as Naifanchi): this was the original name for the three Tekki kata, but was changed by Funakoshi. This is a lateral kata learned from Chōki Motobu. Wadō-ryū practices only the first Naihanchi kata.

* Seishan: the name means “13 hands.” This kata was named after a well-known Chinese martial artist who lived in or near Shuri c. 1700. The movements are repeated in sets of three, and has pivots and turning of the head.

* Passai (披塞; also known as Bassai): a Tomari-te kata that uses dynamic stances and hip rotation.

* Chintō: formulated by Matsumura Sōkon from the teachings of a sailor or pirate named Chintō (or Annan, depending on the source). Crane stance occurs many times, and the flying kicks differentiate Chintō from other kata.

* Rōhai: Rōhai has three variation invented by Itosu. Wadō-ryū practices Rōhai Shodan.

* Niseishi (二十四步): the name means “24 steps.” Transmitted by Ankichi Aragaki, this kata is also known in Japanese as Nijūshiho.

* Wanshu: the name means “flying swallow.” This is a Tomari-te kata based on movements brought to Okinawa in 1683 by a Chinese envoy of the same name. The metaphorical name, “Flying Swallows,” comes from the soft blocking sequences near the end of this kata.

* Jion: A Tomari-te kata; part of the Jion kata group.

* Jitte: another Tomari-te kata of the Jion kata group; the name means “10 hands.”

* Suparinpei: known as “108 hands,” representing the 108 evil spirits of man. This kata is also said to have represented a band of 108 warriors that travelled the Chinese countryside in the 17th century, performing ‘Robin Hood’-type tasks of doing good deeds, giving to the poor, and so on. It is also known by its Chinese name of Pechurrin, and occasionally referred to as Haiku Hachi Ho (a name given by Funakoshi). Suparinpei was originally listed as a Wadō-ryū kata with the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai by Hironori Ōtsuka, but he eventually discarded it. Some Wadō-ryū instructors and schools still teach this kata.

In addition to the solo kata listed above, many Wadō-ryū schools also practice paired kata, which reflects its jujutsu heritage. These paired kata are performed by two people (one as the attacker and one as the defender), demonstrating a range of self-defense techniques. The paired kata of Wadō- ryū often vary from one organization from another, because Ōtsuka did not standardize them. The paired kata are:

* Yakusoku Kihon Kumite: consists of 10 fundamental techniques of attack against combination attacks (combinations of kicks and punches), influenced by jujutsu body movements.

* Kumite Gata: consists of 10 – 24 varietal techniques (depending on the organization) of attack emphasizing Katamae (pinning) and Kuzushi (breaking balance) and multiple strikes.

* Ohyo Kumite: consists of various techniques of attack, incorporating Karate blocks, kicks and strikes with jujutsu throws and body movements. This is a specialty of Tatsuo Suzuki Hanshi’s W.I.K.F organization.

* Idori no Kata: consists of 5–10 techniques (depending on the organization) of seated self-defense, influenced by jujutsu throwing and joint- locking techniques.

* Tantodori no Kata: consists of 7–10 techniques (depending on the organization) of defenses against knife attacks, influenced by jujutsu body movements, throwing, and joint-locking techniques.

* Shinken Shirahadori (真剣白刃取り): consists of 5-10 (depending on organization) techniques of defenses against sword attacks, influenced by jujutsu body movements, throwing, and joint-locking techniques.