The History of Chito-Ryu Karate

     The history of the Japanese karate system of Chito-Ryu karate starts with it's founder, Dr. Tsuyoshi Chitose.  His first learning experience, before becoming a Japanese karate master, was the learning of the kate Seisan, which he is said to have practiced for seven years before being taught another at the age of 14.  Prior to World War II, Chitose was regarded as one of the most outstanding kata masters in the Japanese empire.  He studied Kobo-jutsu (art of weapons) with Gichin Funakoshi and another unspecified instructor at the Okinawan Engineering School.  He studied Goju-ryu (hard-soft school) with Chojun Miyagi and Shorin-ryu with Choki Motobu.  Dr. Chitose began teaching karate in Japan while still a student at the Tokyo Medical Center.  He utilized concepts of both Shorin-ryu and Goju-ryu to formulate his own system of Chito-ryu.  It is not considered a major style, but none-the-less, it has a reported membership of apx. 42,000 in the southernmost portion of Kyushu.  In North America, the major players of this style are Mas Tsuroka and Shane Higashi of Canada and William Dometrich.  Mr. Dometrich begain his training in Japan in 1951 and when returning in December 1954 to the United States, made his home in Kentucky.


     Chito-ryu emphasizes conditioning of mind and body before the actual practice of self-defense.  It is structured according to medical principles.  It's moral code stresses fairness, tolerance, patience, diligence, courtesy, sincerity and constant striving to better oneself spiritually, mentally and physically.    The style's supervisory body is the All Japan Karate-Do Federation Chito-Kai., headquartered in  Kunamoto City, Japan.  Promotion within the system is by examination and emphasis is placed on technical skill rather than fighting ability.  They believe that fighting ability decreases with age, but that technical skill improves.


     A note of uniqueness, is the fact that in 1960, Elvis Presley acquired a black-belt in Chito-Ryu.  He qualified for this in Memphis Tennessee, under the late Hank Slemansky.  One other thing concerning Elvis Presley was that he was one of the first to use karate in American films.