As a member of Kodokai Dojo,
Our history is your history.
These is where your martial arts are from.
I'll be your teacher at Kodokai Dojo and I offer you a different type of martial arts experience.
I had the good fortune to learn martial arts in the land where they were created, Okinawa, Japan.
Lessons took place everywhere- on beaches, busy sidewalks, small private dojo's and among castle ruins.
These experiences shaped my perception of what martial arts practice should be and this is why we are different from the commercialized 'tournament' versions of karate you will find in most Rhode Island martial arts schools.
My story continues below...
8th degree black belt- Okinawa Kenpo Karate Kobujutsu from Seikichi Odo.
8th degree black belt in Shorin-ryu Seidokan Karate from Toma Seiki.
5th degree black belt in Motobu Udundi from Ryoshu Taira and Tetsuo Takamiyagi.
US representative of the Gudokan Dojo, Koza, Okinawa.
B.A. in Communications and a B.A. in Anthropology
U.S. Marine Corps- Security experience in the US, Europe, and Asia.
I began my martial arts study in 1978 while serving in the Marine Corps and stationed in Okinawa. My teacher was Seikichi Odo. Born in 1926, his karate and weaponry were a window into the old ways.
Odo visited his students throughout the U.S. over the next twenty or so years and I continued to receive instruction during most of these visits.
Odo was the grandmaster of Okinawa Kenpo (not the same as the kenpo that you find throughout Rhode Island) which is a combination of several martial arts.
Odo's teacher, Shigeru Nakamura, didn't believe that karate should be divided by styles. He also felt strongly that karate needed to retain its' effectiveness as a fighting art.
Rank promotion from Odo.
Odo at Kodokai Dojo
Rhode Island, 2001
Odo and me, 2002, Okinawa.
My teachers and some training pics from the last 40 years.
I was on the island of Okinawa for some training with Master Odo. As was custom, I paid my respects to 84 year old Master Seiki Toma, a friend and teacher of Odo. In his ramshackle home/dojo, Master Toma introduced me to the art of Palace Hand.
Toma, with his crooked walking stick in one hand, demonstrated simple techniques that easily could bring me to the ground. It was so effective, yet relaxed and deceptive.
Palace Hand was the martial art of the Okinawan royal family. It was, and is, a martial art seldom shared with foreigners.
Master Toma, waving goodbye to me outside his home/dojo.
Shuri Castle, headquarters of the royal family for centuries.
He was the teacher to the last king and crown prince of Okinawa.
Master Odo passed away six weeks after my visit. For the first time in 24 years I had no master. I continued to practice karate but I was very intrigued by Palace Hand.
Palace Hand was headed by Uehara Seikichi. He was taught by Motobu Choyu. When the class system was abolished Uehara became the first person of non-royal descent to learn this style.
Uehara passed away in 2004 leaving Taira Ryoshu as grandmaster of Udundi. Taira recieved private lessons from Uehara twice each day for 35 years and his skills were amazing. He had plenty of practical experience as the owner of a nightclub in the village of Koza, once a rowdy party spot for troops coming from, and going to, Vietnam.
Uehara presented Taira with menkyo kaiden,
'certificate of complete transmission'.
Taira sensei & Takamiyagi sensei
With luck, persistence, and the help of many, my students and I were accepted as students under Taira sensei and Takamiyagi sensei.
Takamiyagi sensei also has an incredible background. He is a 10th degree black belt in karate under Seiki Toma, an 8th degree under Eiso Shimabuku, and an 8th degree in Motobu Udundi under Seikichi Uehara.
My teachers immersed me into the culture of Palace Hand and brought me to memorial services, tea ceremonies, and to the dojo's and homes of other masters. We ate together and shared endless conversations on philosophy, tactics, history and anything they felt was helpful. They put great care into ensuring that I understood more than just technique.
With four-hour long private lessons starting at 5:00am almost everyday, and many afternoons, training was exhausting. Evening classes included the usual dojo members from the village and often went from 6:00pm to 11:00pm.
Taira sensei, in handcuffs, teaching fighting
methods for use when your hands are bound.
Each side of Takamiyagi sensie's business card.
Eating in the dojo allowed us to get right back to work. Mrs. Takamiyagi provided delicious food.
Takamiyagi sensei with Toma sensei Inside Toma's home/dojo.
Our teachers were steadfast in supporting our endeavor to bring Udundi to America. Besides teaching us on Okinawa, Takamiyagi sensei has come to our dojo in Rhode Island six times and Taira sensei visited us shortly before his passing at the age of 80.
Kodokai Dojo is the first school dedicated to this art outside of Japan and Okinawa. It was a difficult process and trips to Okinawa made it very costly to bring this art to the U.S.. But, it is here now and we invite you to join us for the most authentic training in the state!
Taira & Takamiyagi at Kodokai Dojo
Taira sensei was proud of the fact that Udundi was an Okinawan martial art and "not Japanese".
He often reminded to me to tell people that...
"We learned Okinawan martial arts, on Okinawa,
from Okinawan people."
We are not affiliated with any
Japanese-based Udundi organization.
As you can see by this brief history the world is losing the older generation of masters and their 'old-school' martial arts are also being lost.
If you understand the value of martial arts that were created for self-protection rather than for winning plastic trophies, we offer you perhaps your only opportunity to learn the real thing.
There is a significant difference between what I was taught and what you might learn in your neighborhood 'karate school'. Come join us.