Toon Ryu

Toon Ryu (東恩流), is a style of Okinawan Karate taught and named by Kyoda Juhatsu. Kyoda Juhatsu ( Juhatsu Kyoda December 5, 1887 – August 31, 1968 )) entered the dojo of Higaonna Kanryo in 1902 and continued studying with Higaonna until his death in 1915.

One month after Kyoda started, Miyagi Chojun (founder of Goju-ryu) entered the dojo. In 1908, Kenwa Mabuni ( founder of Shito-ryu ) also joined the dojo of Higaonna Kanryo.

Kyoda knew two versions of Seisan: one from Higaonna Kanryo and one from Higaonna Kanryu. He learned Jion from Kentsu Yabu.

By far Higaonna Kanryo had the most profound impact on him as Kyoda devoted well over a decade of his life to learning Higaonna’s karate. He ultimately named his style after him: To-on-ryu (literally ‘Higaon[na] style’). Kyoda’s tradition was carried on by Iraha Choko, Kanzaki Shigekazu and Murakami Katsumi.

Tou’on-ryu, the style of Okinawan Karate taught and named by Kyoda Juhatsu Sensei. Kyoda Juhatsu was born on December 5, 1887 (Meiji 20). Although Kyoda had several instructors, he credited Higashionna Kanryo as his primary teacher. By far Higashionna had the most profound impact on him.

Indeed, Kyoda devoted well over a decade of his life to learning Higashionna’s karate-do. So loyal was Kyoda to his teacher, that he named the style of karatedo that he taught after him; Tou’on-ryu (literally ‘Higashion[na] style’). Kyoda Juhatsu died on August 31, 1968 (Showa 43) at the age of 81.

Kyoda’s tradition was carried on by Iraha Choko, Kanzaki Shigekazu and Murakami Katsumi. The current headmaster of Tou’on-ryu todaay is Kanzaki Shigekazu.

To’on Goju-ryu: The founder of Naha-te, Higashionna Kanryo, had many students who became teachers themselves such as Kyoda Juhatsu, Shiroma Shimpan and Miyagi Chojun. Kyoda Juhatsu traveled to the Japanese mainland and opened a dojo, while Miyagi Chojun strove to promote Naha-te on Okinawa.

Higahionna Kanryo lived a simple and poor life and after his wife passed away Miyagi sensei brought Higashionna sensei to his home and cared for him in his later years like a son. When Higashionna sensei passed away, Miyagi sensei, while preserving the traditional kata, developed new kata and in due time named his art “Goju-ryu” after the phrase “goju tonto” or “[All is] breathing hard and soft”. Thus through Miyagi Chojun’s fervent desire in his Goju-ryu Karate came to be known. It is through these stories that I fondly remember both teachers.

After Miyagi sensei passed away, I went to Oita Prefecture accompanied by Mr. Toguchi to visit Kyoda Juhatsu sensei who was one year older than Miyagi Chojun. I had heard from Miyagi sensei that while he was away serving in the army, that Kyoda sensei had learned the kata Sanseru. With this in mind we asked Kyoda sensei to correct our Sanseru kata and after we performed it for him, Kyoda replied that it was not wrong. Kyoda sensei had instructed Iraha Choko and was now instructing his son (Kyoda’s third son, Kyoda Juko).

We talked about many different things including the passing of Miyagi sensei and that I had become the representative of Goju-ryu. However since Miyagi Chojun’s passing, only Kyoda sensei remained as the most senior student of Higashionna Kanryo and therefore I asked Kyoda sensei to be the Chairman of the Goju-ryu association for its future development and progress. Kyoda sensei responded by saying, “You did not consult me about Higashionna sensei’s kata. I do not think that the name “Goju-ryu” is particularly appropriate and also I am not disciple of Miyagi Chojun’s…”. After a while Kyoda sensei replied, “Even if after consulting with each other I doubt you would consider changing the name “Goju-ryu”, however if you agree to adding “To’on” in front of it to “To’on Goju-ryu” in order to preserve the name of Higashionna sensei, I would consider your request.”

When I returned to Okinawa I consulted the board of directors who weighted the possibility of changing the name Goju-ryu, however “To’on Goju-ryu” never came to light.