Up until now, the Masters profiled in “Respect Tradition, Embrace Innovation” all had one thing in common – they are no longer with us to share and preserve our time-honored traditions in the Art of Karate.
This segment’s profile is Karate’s only living relic who provides us the bridge of Karate’s past and helps us understand the present and future state of the Art. This master is Hanshi Tetsuhiro Hokama.
Hanshi Hokama, who is of Okinawan decent, was born in Taiwan in 1944. He began his formal training in Shorin-Ryu with his uncle in 1952 but his more intensive formal training came in 1961 when he trained with Seiko Higa – a direct student of Goju-Ryu founder, Chojun Miyagi. Not only did Hokama learn the style of Goju-Ryu, it was through Higa that Hokama learned Kobudo through Shinpo Matayoshi, White Crane fist (Hakutsuru Ken) and an obscure style called Kingai-Ryu.
Hanshi Hokama’s resume boasts many accomplishments. In 1984, he published a book called “History of Okinawa” and is one of North America’s best selling books on the history of Karate. His most prominent accomplishment occurred in 1987 when he established and opened the World’s first ever Karate Museum in Nishihara and built a monument in Okinawa noting it as the official birthplace of Karate. Any serious karateka embarking on a Karate pilgrimage must add this on their “to do” list and Hanshi Hokama is readily available to give guided tours of both his Museum and various historical Karate landmarks in Okinawa. Check out this video tour of Hanshi Hokama’s Karate Museum in Nishihara featuring narration from Master Hokama himself. (Click Here to Watch)
Hanshi Hokama is a 10th Dan Goju-Ryu Hanshi and the President of the Okinawa Goju-Ryu Kenshi Kai Karate-Do and Kobudo Association. Its membership boasts many members worldwide. Hanshi Hokama is a “living encyclopedia” and his knowledge of the roots and history of Karate is second to none.
Check out this video of Hanshi Hokama performing Goju-Ryu’s most advanced kata “Suparinpei” (CHECK OUT HIS CRAZY FAST HAND SPEED)