President of the Okinawa Gojuryu Kenshi Kai Karatedo Kobudo Association
Tetsuhiro Hokama was born in Taiwan in 1944 to his parents, both of Okinawan decent. He began training informally under his grandfather, Seiken Tokuyama, in 1952. In 1961 his formal training began at the Naha Commercial High School Karatedo club, which was under the supervision of Mr. Chiyokutani Irashi (Gojuryu), under Seiko Higa. That same year he began training with the legendary Seiko Higa (1898 -1966) a student of Kanryo Higaonna (1853- 1915) and Chojun Miyagi (1888-1953). It was at Higa’s Dojo where he met Shinpo Matayoshi (1922-1997 Kobudo teacher) and began learning Kobudo, Hakutsuru ken (White Crane fist) and Kingai Ryu (a martial art that his father, Shinko Matayoshi 1888- 1945 learned in Manchuria).
Upon the death of Seiko Higa in 1966 Hanshi Hokama continue his training with one of Higa’s top student Seiko Fukuchi (1919-1975) who was Seiko Higa’s assistant instructor. He also trained in Okinawan Kobudo under Shinpo Matayoshi.
In 1974, he became the director of the Okinawan High School Karatedo Association, after establishing several Karatedo clubs, and was awarded the title of Shihan in 1977. He was a technical advisor for the All-Japan Karatedo Ken Yu Kai, and secretary for the All Okinawa Karatedo Association.
Of Hokama Tesuhiro's prominent accomplishments is his book History of Okinawa Karate, published in 1984, followed by Hokama Sensei opening the first ever Karatedo Museum in January of 1987, called the Okinawa Prefecture Karatedo wa Kobudo Museum in Nishihara Okinawa and built a monument in Okinawa to noting it as the birthplace of Karatedo. He currently heads the Okinawan Ken Shi Kai organization.
Tetsuhiro Hokama is a 10th Dan Gojuryu Karatedo Hanshi, President of the Okinawa Gojuryu Kenshi Kai Karatedo Kobudo Association and founder of the first Karatedo museum in the World. Although not as well known in the United States compared to other Okinawan Gojuryu teachers, Hanshi Hokama is one of the most knowledgeable Gojuryu Karatedo masters. He has a deep understanding of the “Old Ways” of Karate.
(Taken with permission from http://www.tetsuhirohokama.net/About_Us.html )
We at GTO hope you enjoy this in our second instalment of our bio series.
A special thanks, out to my friend, Chris Willson at www.travel67.com for the use of his fine photos for our website.