top of page

Wado Kai

Wado is a Japanese karate style founded in 1939 by Master Hironori Otsuka.


It combines Master Otsuka's early experience with classical jujutsu (also known as jujitsu) with the shotokan karate he learned as a student of Gichin Funakoshi's.


Wado, meaning the "way of peace/harmony", is one of the four major styles of karate in Japan.  It, perhaps, is the purest form of karate-do (the way of the empty hands).  Trained in classical bujutsu (the techniques of the samurai), Master Otsuka applied this outlook and experience to his teachings.


Some of the harsher resistive or hard contact elements of sparring technique, typical of many karate styles, are not present in Wado.  Master Otsuka rejected hardening certain parts of the body, such as hand conditioning, as useless preparation.


Hanshi Masaru Shintani was one of Master Otsuka's senior students.  At the time of his death, he was the head of Wado Kai karate for North America.

The aim of Wado karate is not merely perfection of the physical techniques of self-defense, but the development of a mind that is tranquil yet alive, able to react intuitively to any situation.

In Wado, as skill and knowledge are acquired through training and concentrated effort, the student is expected to develop inner strength

and calmness of character, as well as the virtues of self-control, respect for others, and true humility.  Karate-do for Master Otsuka was primarily a spiritual discipline.

Basic techniques - punching, kicking, blocking, striking with open hand, joint twisting, and trapping techniques - kata (a sequence of techniques done in certain order against imaginary opponents), and prearranged and free style sparring comprise the training foundation of this style.


Equally fundamental to Wado is taisabaki, body shifting to avoid the full brunt of an attack, a technique derived from Japanese swordsmanship.  Kumite (sparring) is usually judged on a point system.


One referee and four corner judges determine which techniques are given a point.  In free sparring, there is no contact allowed to the head, below the waist except for foot sweeps, or to the spine.


Only light to medium contact is allowed to the torso.  Attacks to the head and torso can all score points in a tournament.  Therefore, Wado karate-ka tend to fight with explosive, close movements with an emphasis on well-controlled techniques.

bottom of page