Wado translates to “Way of Harmony” and its kanji is recognized as the symbol of the Japanese way of life. Wado-ryu karate-do was created by Hironori Otsuka.
Otsuka began his lifelong journey with martial arts in Shindo Yoshin Ryu ju-jitsu. In time, he became the fourth Grand Master of that art. His post-collegiate years lead him to train with notable karateka from various philosophies. Blending karate and Japanese ju-jitsu with aiki principles, Otsuka created his own “way of harmony”.
Beginning in his 30s, Otsuka trained substantially with Gichin Funakoshi, founder of Shotokan, becoming his senior student and helping him spread karate throughout Japan.
Master Otsuka trained daily, developing his martial philosophy into his 80s. Over time, he was able to share Wado throughout Japan and beyond. Today it is carried on as one of the four primary styles of karate.
After Otsuka’s death in 1982, Wado was split into three federations and several independent groups. His lineage carried on through his son and grandson as Wado-ryu renmei. His senior student, Tatsuo Suzuki created his own federation, Wado International. Meanwhile, the style continued to be registered through the Japanese Karate Federation as Wado Kai. These karate organizations register black belts from various dojo and offer training opportunities to further martial arts education.