Shukokai Founder Chojiro Tani

Master Chojiro Tani

The following article is from No. 41 (Vol 7 No. 5) issue of Fighting Arts International published in 1986. It features a brief interview with Master Chojiro Tani.
Tani 9th Dan Hanshi

Tani-Ha Shito Ryu Karate

A legend in his own lifetime, Master Tani is a humble man whose youth was spent during the most harrowing period in his countries history. He founded and leads the Tani-Ha Shito-Ryu organization of Shukokai Karate. It was a great honor to meet and speak with him.

Sensei, where were you born?

Kobe Japan, I have been studying Karate for fifty years.

Does anyone in your family train in karate?

No, only me.

Who has the greatest influence upon your karate?

Mr. Mabuni Kenwa - the most famous Karate teacher.

How has karate changed since you started training?

Karate has changed. Previously, students adhered to the code of ancient budo - no fighting. Nowadays, with the advent of sports Karate, championships predominate. I can't say that it is a bad thing - previously, there was a small, elite group doing Karate. Now, sport karate is for everyone. This may be a good or bad thing, but some of the serious meaning of Karate has been lost. Previously, Karate was used in real fighting, to defend oneself, now it is used for competition.

Do you train in weapons?

My senior students train in weapons but I do not train with them a lot myself. I put more importance on kata then weapon practice.

Do you have a favorite technique or kata?

I always demonstrate the Kata "Suparimpai", one hundred and eight techniques.

Do you have many ladies and children amongst your students?

Yes. Karate is excellent for health; everyone can benefit

What sort of qualities do you aim to foster in your students?

In Japan, especially the children, I teach to become strong in character and to have good control over the self - not violence. I never advocate violent behavior.

Sensei, have you ever wanted to give up Karate?

Before and during the second World War, the Karate training was very, very hard. At that stage I thought to give up, but did not.

Is there any thought on Karate which you would wish to share with your students?

Karate is not just punching, kicking and blocking - that is technique. Karate is an art. Everyone should have a high goal and ideal. Strive for achievement; not low level but high level.

The interviewer would wish to thank Ken Johnson for arranging the meeting with Tani Sensei, and Tomiyama Sensei for acting as interpreter.

Shukokai Karate has a long lineage. This Kimura Shukokai Lineage chart shows a history of over 300 hundred years.