Historical Research Article

Dr Tsuyoshi Chitose, Founder of Chito-Ryu
The History Of Chitokai

Chitokai karate traces its ancestry back to the ancient martial arts of the Tang Dynasty in China (618 – 907AD) These martial arts were brought to Okinawa and passed on through the diligence and thoroughness of many past masters.


The founder of modern Chito-Ryu was Doctor Tsuyoshi Chitose, or O’Sensei as he was affectionately known by his students. He was born in Naha City in Okinawa on 18 th October 1898 . O’Sensei studied the various Okinawan martial arts. One discipline, which originated in Shuri City , a town of nobles and samurai, was called Shuri no Te (now known as Shorin-Ryu). The second discipline, which originated in Naha City , a commercial town, was known as Naha no Te ( nown known as Shorei-Ryu). O’Sensei assimilated the essence of these so that he could enhance the spread of Okinawan To-de among the Japanese martial arts. He became the Sixth Master of To-de, or Okinawan martial arts.

O’Sensei’s teachers were among the most famous of the Okinawan masters. They included Aragaki O, the respected 5 th Master of To-de, Choyu Motobu, Chotoku Kyan, Kanryo Higaonna, Chomo Hanagusuku, Kojo and Maezato. Importantly, O’Sensei was a medical practitioner, and he was concerned about some of the negative effects of the older training methods. He therefore based Chito-Ryu on sound medical, physiological and scientific principles in order to foster health in all, especially the young.

In 1921, O’Sensei went to Tokyo to study medicine. While there he assisted Gichin Funakoshi, known as the father of modern karate, at his first Tokyo dojo, and taught many students who went on to become famous heads of their own styles of karate. After World War 11, in March 1946, O’Sensei opned the Yoseikan dojo in Kikuchi , in Kumamoto province in Kyushu . In 1951, O’Sensei bacame the teacher of Karate at the U.S. Army Base in Kumamoto , teaching many foreign students.   In 1968, O’Sensei attained the rank of Hanshi, the highest degree of martial arts recognition, from the All Okinawa Union of Karate-Do and Kobu-Do ( Zen Okinawa Karate Kobudo Rengo Kai) In 1975 he moved his dojo which was known as the SOHONBU (General Headquarters) to Tsoboi, in Kumamoto City . O’Sensei passed away on the 6 th June, 1984 , at the age of 86.


Chitokai karate has been practiced in Australia since the 1970’s. The karate method of Chito-Ryu was introduced to Australia via a student of the Canadian Chito-Ryu Association, Mr Vance Prince. After he retired, Mr Bill Ker was appointed as chief instructor until 1991. In 1991, Mr Brian Hayes was appointed as hombucho, or Chief Instructor, of the Australian Chito-Ryu Karate Association, with the headquarters at the Hunter Valley Martial Arts Centre in Warners Bay . The club was active and very successful in international competitions, and sent large squads to the Soke Cup, or Chito-Ryu International championships, in 1989, 1992, 1995, 1998, 2001 and 2004.The Newcastle Chito-Ryu Karate Association also hosted the Soke Cup in 1992 and 2004, and remains the only club outside of Japan to have done so on two occasions.

Hayes Sensei was awarded the title of Kyoshi, or Master Instructor, in 2019, along with the rank of 7 th Dan, from Hanshi Ken Sakamoto, the first Australian to gain such a rank. Hayes Renshi also holds the rank of Shodan in Iaido (sword drawing) and 6th Dan in Okinawan Kobudo (weapons) in the Matayoshi system.

The Australian Chitokai Karate Association became an autonomous association in 2004, after a special resolution of members voted in favour of pursuing independent study of Dr Chitose’s method and is independent of the International Chito-Ryu Karate Federation. In 2005, after a visit by Kyoshi Ken Sakamoto, Chief Instructor of the Ryusei Karate-Do, the ACKA has agreed to a group affiliation with the Ryusei Karate-Do organization. Kyoshi Sakamoto was one of O’Sensei’s most senior students, and the uchi-deshi, or full time assistant at the international Chito-Ryu headquarters at the time of O’Sensei’s death. He left the organization in 1996, and remains dedicated to research into the Okinawan Todi that was O’Sensei’s philosophy and system.

The Hunter Martial Arts Centre in Warners Bay is the National Headquarters (HONBU) of the Australian Chitokai Karate Association. Chief Instructor is Brian Hayes, Kyoshi and 7 th Dan. He is assisted by Shihan Sandy Hayes, , Shihan Ashley Mckellar , Shihan Abi Lowe and Shihan Nathan Warn. Senior Instructors (Shidoin) include Senseis Romany McGuffog, Anna Hayes Matthew Orr, Chris Dean-Jones, Jack Moran and Liam Talbut.

Hunter Valley Martial Arts centre has 5 full-time dojos teaching over 1400 students at Warners Bay, Waratah, Green Hills, Morisset and Redhead.

Warners Bay Dojo – Kyoshi Brian Hayes and Shihan Sandy Hayes
Morisset Dojo – Sensei Lesley Talbot
Redhed Dojo – Shihan Sandy Hayes
Waratah Dojo – Shihan Abi Lowe
Green Hills Dojo – Sensei Taj Hassan
Cessnock Dojo – Sensei Matthew Orr

Sensei Matthew Orr, Sandan and Shidoin, is the chief instructor at the Cessnock Chitokai dojo. Sensei Matt was the International Chito-Ryu Junior Soke Cup Champion (2001), and won the honour of ACKA tournament champion in 2005.

Chitokai in Australia is affiliated with
Australian Karate Federation,
World Karate Federation,
Ryusei Karate-do
Matayoshi Kobudo Australia.
Okinawa Kobudo – Ishiki Sensei