Choki Motobu

Choki Motobu sensei was born in 1870 and started his formal training in karate at the age of 12 under the Shuri-te master Itosu Anko sensei, who was invited to the home of the Motobu Udun to teach. Because of Choki sensei’s status as a descendant of Ryukyuan royalty, he was able to study under most of the greatkarate masters of that time. As a result of his natural talents, extensive training, and--unusually for karate-ka then--experience in street fights known askakedameshi, by his mid-20s he had already gained a reputation as the greatest karate-ka in Okinawa.  Motobu’s karate always seemed to bear his own instinctive style, from his independent nature and his fighting experiences.  He always emphasized practicality, and in time many people came to regard him as the best fighter on Okinawa.

He taught Naihanchi Shodan, which he said was imported from China, his version included  included Okinawan te  which predates Karate and includes grappling and throwing techniques.    Beginner karate students would spend the the first two to three years doing nothing but Naihanchi.

It was only after he moved to Osaka, mainland Japan, in 1921 that he became known in Japanese martial art circles. What brought Motobu to the attention of the Japanese was his victory over a Western boxer in a kind of all-comers challenge match in Kyoto, Japan. For the record, the story states that Motobu knocked the boxer unconscious. Choki Motobu was over 50 years old when he defeated the Western boxer!

Choki Motobu wrote one of the first books on Kenpo available outside of Okinawa in 1926 called "Okinawa Kenpo Karate-jutsu Kumite-hen".