View Full Version : American student of Kanryo Hogashionna

Steven Malanosk
26th January 2004, 16:08
There is a person whose name I will not mention right now, who claims that his grandfather studied in Okinawa with Kanryo Higashionna. This person is quite occidental.

In my 38 years in the martial arts, I have never heard of such a thing.

Do any of our serious martial arts research colleagues have any commentary on this subject?

I think you already know what I think, but as Dennis Miller says " Thats just my opinion, and I could be wrong.";)

Patrick? Harry? Joe? etc.?

Harry Cook
26th January 2004, 23:12
I've never heard of any non-oriental students of Kanryo Higaonna, but in theory it is not totally impossible. There were American scholars and missionaries who visited Okinawa; in 1904 an American scholar visited Kumemura to do some research on the old Okinawan teachers and students of the old Chinese-based tradition of scholarship, and the Rev. Henry Schwartz, a Methodist missionary, was appointed as an English teacher at the Shuri Middle School in 1906. He was succeeded by the Rev. E. R. Ball, who also taught in Naha for part of the year.
There are vague references to one American soldier or marine (a negro) who was a member of chojun Miyagi's group in th 1950s (source is T. Chinen) but I have found no confirmation for this. Apart from these one of the first Westerners I know of to study Chinese systems was W. E. Fairbairn who studied Chinese Boxing in the 1920s in Shanghai.
I would be suspicious of claims about any Westerner being a student of Kanryo Higaonna; if there was someone I would have expected to find some mention of it is Miyagi's writings, or for Morio Higaonnq sensei to have referred to such a thing in his history of Goju Ryu.
Harry Cook

Steven Malanosk
27th January 2004, 00:51
Thanks for the input Harry.

The black gentleman would be Joe White, who is seen in Toguchi's 2nd book.

Harry Cook
28th January 2004, 17:59
Has anyone interviewed Mr. White? He appears to be a dan grade in the Toguchi book and the photo is dated to 1956, ie three years or so after Miyagi's death, so he may have been the first foreign student to obtain a dan grade in Goju Ryu (and if not the first then he must be among the first generation). His comments, observations etc would be invaluable to understand the way that Goju ryu has developed.
Does anyone have any information on Mr. White? I would love to try and interview him, assuming of course that he is still alive.
Harry Cook

Joseph Svinth
29th January 2004, 02:17
I don't have an address for Mr. White, but John Roseberry has a story. See http://sabaki.8m.com/articles5.htm .

Joseph Svinth
29th January 2004, 02:29
As for the other, there were individual Okinawan karateka in the US since at least the 1890s. See History of the Okinawans in North America, translation of Hokubei Okinawajin shi, translated by Ben Kobashigawa (1988).

However, the earliest public demos of karate of which I am aware are the ones given by Kentsu Yabu in Honolulu in 1927. For details, try http://seinenkai.com/salute-yabu.html and http://ejmas.com/jcs/jcsart_svinth_0603.htm .

Steven Malanosk
29th January 2004, 04:35
Hello Harry,

I spoke with my "older brother" Kow Loon Ong, formerly of the ShoreiKan, now head of Chi I Do, about Mr. White.

Here's the skinny:

Unfortunately he gave his life for his country during the war.

Anthony Mirakian was a classmate of his during his Toguchi tenior.

Hank Irwin
29th January 2004, 16:01
Heck, I just received an email about an ex-marine living in Fla. who trained with an old traveling companion of Soken Matsumura himself. This man received his shodan in Shorin Ryu Royal Te from him in 1938!!! He says that most lineage charts are somewhat incorrect. This man, because of his military carreer, has only trained 2 students in his whole life. The name of his most honored teacher is Sabu Mota?? who left Okinawa and ended up in Africa of all places. When I hear more I can be more thorough on updates. For us that have Shorinryu roots this is more suspicious than intriguing no?? We'll see I guess.:D

Joseph Svinth
30th January 2004, 02:53
Anybody know Joe White's government name?

The reason I ask is that the only Joe White listed on the lists of Vietnam casualties was a white guy from New York who was about 10 years too young to be this fellow.

FWIW, 44 Vietnam War casualties listed as Negro had the surname White, and none of them have Joe, Joel, or Joseph anywhere in their government names.

And no, I'm not doubting anybody's story, I'm just trying to pin it down.

Hank Irwin
30th January 2004, 13:45
Come to find out through a good friend of mine the person who sent that email is less than trustworthy. Seems he is/was involved with "Master"Chuck Chandler. I am perparing an interview with one of Chandler's closest students about Chandlers KohoKan Association and the dealings involved. I myself was a member of his association until I found out Chandler was misrepresenting everything we hold dear about Okinawan Karate. Many of you will find answers, many will be shocked, many will be pissed!! Hahaha! Truth in training, is a motto with us.

There were many high ranking people involved within this association, and unfortunately most of what happened was just mouth wars, but, now we will see the real side of what went on and who was responsible. This interview started out just as a biography, as I try to do with all my interviews, but, it turned almost ugly. I feel I have a duty to those that have gone before me and those that follow, know what happens with the business end of our world. It's hard enough to find a good teacher, and as Teachers, we are responsible with handing down what we know. Humility, being one of those lessons.

1st February 2004, 23:27

When will this interview be posted and where??? I"d really be interested in reading it.


Hank Irwin
2nd February 2004, 13:19
I am working on it now. It will be at me site soon. I have an interview with my Sensei there now. It started off with Shipes Sensei of KenshinKan doing this. He states now that it isn't an interview, but, that he was going to have James Coffman Sensei, and Gary Stanfield Sensei participate. He said he would compile the 3 together and make an "article" from it, for either publication or in some way make it available to students. This didn't seem so bad at first, but, when I noticed how "above the law" the KenshinKan folks were I thought, not!! They beratted Osborne Sensei's son when he asked questions about O'Sensei Soken, since he was an outsider? he was scrutinized about his questions. The KenshinKan folks even went so far as to say Kise Sensei said if you aren't a member of KenshinKan you have no right to hang a picture of Kise Sensei on your wall!!??

Kise Sensei is the Grandfather of my KarateDo. I can't believe he would say this. I was angry to say the least. Warrner Sensei(who was longtime KenshinKan) told them, try and come take my picture of Sensei down,Hahaha!!! Go SteveSan!! Either way truth in training always comes out. Hell, I've even been thinking about going back to the circuit for a little fun and meet some more new folks in person. But, back to matters at hand, I hope these interviews I do will serve to provide many answers to many questions, not just with ShuriTe, but TomariTe & NahaTe. Since my Sensei studied within all 3, I wish to try to cover all 3. :cool:

Hank Irwin
2nd February 2004, 13:23
Osborne Sensei's son has a site that is very good. You can find it at www.seamatic.com (http://www.seamatic.com)

It is turning out to be a very good site!

2nd February 2004, 22:24
Thanks Hank.

Please let us know when your interview has been posted on your site


Patrick McCarthy
7th February 2004, 07:34
Hi Steve, Harry et al,

Have never heard anything about Higaonna Kanryo ever teaching foreign (i.e. European/North American etc.) students, and, IMO, doubt there's much truth to it.

BTW, Hank san, I tried telling folks several years ago about Chandler (and that charalatan Yabiku) and the remarkable misrepresentation he/they're committing...no one listened! Instead, I was attacked.

I'd appreciate a copy of the article when it's complete and wish you luck.

Patrick McCarthy

Steven Malanosk
7th February 2004, 21:26
Thanks for the replys Patrick, Joe and Harry.

I am more than suspicious, but wanted to get some extra input so as to not pass final judgement relying souley on my own "infinate" wizdom.........

No idea of a "Govt." name for Joe White, Joe.

Hank Irwin
8th February 2004, 01:52
Pat Sensei, you would not believe. There are still quite a few that are under Chuckchans influence. They are quick to defend him. From what I understand Chuck is staying on an Indian reservation in N.C.? I got involved with Chuck in 96?97? maybe. Oz Sensei too, and some of my brother students. Lindsey Sensei was there too, teaching at Chucks seminars. Goninan is stuck in the middle also with Yabiku lurking, saying "Dumbass Gaijins, got 'em agin!" Didn't Yabiku learn Nepai from you Pat Sensei? Wait till this interview comes out. Oh boy.:D

8th February 2004, 21:27

Just for the record I have no association with Yabiku having left him some years ago now! And I definately have no association with the regrettable Chuck Chandler!

Best wishes

Steven Malanosk
9th February 2004, 02:39
Hey fellas,

Not for nothing, as I realize that the subject matter of this thread is questionable authenticity of leniage, however:

This thread has a title and purpose.

Please start another thread of your own.

You will catch the eye of those who may have info. for you, and also will not be sidetracking the point of this particular thread.


Hank Irwin
9th February 2004, 02:45
No problem Stevensan.

Steven Malanosk
9th February 2004, 02:52
Thanks again.:smilejapa