Karate is a system of weaponless self-defense training for the mind and body that was developed in China over one thousand years ago. Shaolin monks used the techniques as a way to prepare for their rigorous meditative practice. It was later popularized on the Japanese island of Okinawa when feudal lords banned the use of military weapons. In Japanese, the word Karate translates as open hand. Karate is now an integral activity in Japanese culture and continues to grow in popularity around the world.
The founder of Chito-Ryu karate, Dr. Tsuyoshi Chintose, was instrumental to the introduction of karate from Okinawa to mainland Japan. It was developed from two ancient styles of Okinawa karate: Shorei Ryu from Naha city and Shorin Ryu from the city of Shuri. In 1948, Dr. Chitose, also known as O'Sensei, became the founding director of the Kempo Karatedo Fukkyu Kai, All Japan Karate Federation. Around this time, Dr. Chitose started teaching karate to American soldiers stationed on Kumamoto Island in Southern Japan. It is largely because of this teaching that Chito-Ryu karate has spread throughout the world. William Dometrich, one of Dr. Chintose's first American students, brought Chito-Ryu with him to America when he returned after WW2. One of Mr. Dometrich's more famous students was Elvis Presley who received his black belt in Chito-Ryu.
Chito-Ryu in Canada
In Canada, Chito-Ryu karate was introduced by Masami Tsuruoka who visited Kumamoto and trained under Dr. Chintose in 1961. Mr. Tsuruoka is often referred to as the Father of Karate in Canada. One of Mr. Tsuruoka's star pupils was Yukio Shane Higashi. Mr. Higashi achieved his 1st dan black belt in only 1 year. In April of 1963, Mr. Higashi opened his own dojo and in 1964 and in that same year was the Grand Champion of the Open Karate Tournament improving on his second place finish from the previous year. In 1966, Mr. Higashi went to Japan to train directly under Dr. Chintose. By 1972, Mr. Higashi had progressed all the way up to 6th dan. In 1979 he was awarded the title of Kyoshi or Elite Master Instructor and earned his 7th dan by Dr. Chintose. When Mr. Tsuruoka moved on and started his own organization that same year, Mr. Higashi was designated Saikoshihan, Supreme Instructor for Canada and soon after formed the Canadian Chito-Ryu Karate do Association. In 1997, Mr. Higashi received his 8th dan from Soke Chintose, Dr. Chintose's son and successor. In 2009, Mr. Higashi received his 9th dan and the title of Hanshi, 10th dan in October 2017 (retoactive to Jan 1, 2013), Principal Leader, from Mr. Tsuruoka and in 2010 he received his 9th dan from Karate Canada. Today, Mr. Higashi continues to travel home and abroad conducting clinics and gradings as well as operating his own dojo, The Higashi School of Karate in Toronto. As such he has played a significant role in the spreading of Chito-Ryu in Canada and throughout the world.
Chito-Ryu in New Brunswick
In New Brunswick, Chito-Ryu karate was introduced by Robert McInnes, the current Chief Instructor and Technical Director for Chito-Ryu New Brunswick in 1971. Mr. McInnes moved to New Brunswick from Scotland, where he had studied Shotokan Karate, in 1968. He immediately resumed karate training and is considered to be one of the first to do so in the province. Seeking to find a mentor in Canada and after hearing about his reputation, Mr. McInnes discovered Mr. Higashi, who he has trained under ever since. Under the guidance and leadership of Mr. McInnes, Chito-Ryu karate has grown significantly in New Brunswick and the organization has produced many successful national and international athletes, coaches and officials. Mr. McInnes continues to teach karate in his own dojo in Rothesay as well as other dojos throughout the province. He is a senior member of Mr. Higashi's national team of Kyoshi (Teacher of the Way) and as such is a member of the national Chito-Ryu Technical Committee.