KEIZU (Lineage)

Karate traces its ancestry back to the ancient martial arts of the Tang Dynasty in China (618 – 907AD). This type of martial art was brought to Okinawa and passed on through the diligence and thoroughness of many past masters. To fully understand and appreciate Chito-ryu Karate we must begin with our founder, Dr. Tsuyoshi Chitose, or O-Sensei as he was affectionately known by his students. He was born in Naha City on the island of Okinawa on October 18, 1898. He began his Tode (karate) training when he was seven years old under the tutelage of Arakaki Sensei, who taught him his first kata - Seisan. O-Sensei also had the opportunity to train with other great Karate masters such as Anko Itosu Sensei, Chotoku Kiyan Sensei, Chiyomu Hanagusuku Sensei and Kauryo Higashionna Sensei. In 1922 O-Sensei went off to Tokyo to study medicine, but continued practicing karate in his spare time with Gichen Funakoshi, the "father of modern day karate”. In March of 1946, Dr. Chitose, after having practiced medicine for some years, opened Yoseikan dojo in Kirkuchi City, Kyushu. Since O-Sensei was a medical practitioner, he was concerned about some of the negative effects of the older training methods and therefore based his style of teaching on sound medical, physiological and scientific principles in order to foster health in all his students, especially the young. In 1948 Dr. Chitose, along with Gichen Funakoshi and other great karate masters, helped organize the All Japan Karate-do Federation (Zen Nihon Karate-do Renmei). Around the same time, he decided to name his style of karate Chito-ryu. “Chi” meaning “thousand”, “to” from the Chinese “tang” and “ryu” meaning “way” hence translating Chito-ryu as “The thousand year old Chinese Tang dynasty way”, signifying the ancestry of karate.O-Sensei passed away June 6, 1984. In 1952 a young man by the name of William J. Dometrich, of the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team, began his training of Chito-ryu Karate in Japan. While stationed in Beppu City, Kyushu, he studied under one of O Sensei’s students, Ichiro Shirahama. He soon was granted permission by Shirahama Sensei to meet and train under O Sensei himself. The young Dometrich did not anticipate being refused to study Chito-ryu by O Sensei, but that was the case for some time. With much determination and perseverance, O Sensei accepted the American soldier as his karate student. Having trained with O Sensei for a few years Dometrich Sensei earned his San Dan (third degree black belt) and returned to the U.S. with his unit. Dometrich Sensei established a small dojo in Northern Kentucky in 1962 with the help of Kyoshi Barbara Dometrich, his wife and the first U.S. female Chito-ryu black belt. O-Sensei made a visit to the US in 1967 and requested that a strong Hombu Dojo (headquarters) for Chito-ryu be established in the United States as well as the development of a good organization. With the support and encouragement of O Sensei, The United States Chito-ryu Karate Federation (USCKF) was born and Dometrich Sensei was named Chairman and Chief Instructor. Hanshi Dometrich carried on O-Sensei's legacy until he passed away on March 22, 2012. The Yoseikan Hombu is presently located in Covington, Ky. Written by Sensei Nazanin Tork