O'SENSEI TAKAHASHI KENTSU 1900 -1994

 

To begin with, the information correlated and shared with us through the cooperation of several budo associations and Buyu – budo friends, although this humble biography is not complete. Therefore, we are endeavouring to secure factual references of O'Sensei’s journey through his lifetime of devoted study, this biography will be added to as time goes on thank you.

O'Sensei Takahashi was born in the Meiji period in the year,1900 at Hiroshima Prefecture, which is part of the Chūgoku region situated in the western part of Japan, we knew little about his family, although he did, mentioned that he had never married and his father, Mother and older sister had perished during the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945.

We can only respectfully transliterate his personal life’s journey by what he shared with us over past decades. He began his kenjutsu training at the age of 15 years becoming a disciple of Katori Shinto Ryu, a most comprehensive art and this was the foundation in his budo studies. He then began his training in Ryu Kyu Shuri Te in 1920 under Kentsu Yabu from Okinawa; there are no records how long Takahashi trained under Yabu Sensei, however this would be his Ryukyu inauguration.

His second Ryukyu teacher was Chibana Chosin at the Shuri Dojo, after training with Chibana Chosin for several years Takahashi made his way back to the land of his birth; Japan, although he always mentioned that Okinawa was his “second homeland.” When arriving back on the mainland he visited his friend Mochizuki Minoru Sensei, since they had both shared and trained in Katori Shinto Ryu in the early days. After the end of the Second World War Japan and its people would now face allied occupation from 1945 to 1952, several of the original Dojos of budo, had been destroyed, and many surviving teachers went underground to teach small groups of students, away from public view.

In the year 1953, one year after the founding of the Nippon Seibukan by Suzuki Masafumi Sensei in Kyoto, O'Sensei Takahashi founded his own organization and here he began teaching to small groups of selected senior deshi – students, where he concentrated teaching and emphasizing on the traditional ideology of the spirituality of Koryū bujutsu. During the years from 1958, O'Sensei began travelling outside of Mainland Japan and Okinawa, his travels would take him to China, Tibet and down through Italy, Belgium and across to England, from England he ventured southward to New Zealand.

It would be late in 1962 whilst in New Zealand, he would embark on teaching his New Zealand deshi (Garry O’Connor) and this would be the start of a long association and friendship. Just like the cultural meaning of his family name “Takahashi” meaning “High Bridge,” he joined and shared with others his wealth of knowledge. One of his most notable students was Ito Ichiou Sensei (1947 – 2006”) who achieved the senior Shihan level of 8th Dan – Hachi Dan.

O'Sensei would return to Japan where he would continue teaching, he became unwell in 1990 and this would situate the decline in his well-being for next approaching three and a half years. Ito Ichirou Shihan mentioned that O'Sensei was suffering from cancer of the liver, O'Sensei Takahashi passed away in 1994. He was of the Shinto faith and was cremated. I asked him once, Excuse me Sensei, May I ask what religion are you of, his reply was, “what religion would you want me to be?” His legacy lives on in those he taught. Ito Ichiou Shihan believed the ashes of O'Sensei’s were laid to rest in one of the Shinto Temples in the Chūgoku region. “May your spirit be at rest Sensei, domo arigato for what you have shared with us, your wisdom shared will live in us all.”

Information provided by Garry O'Connor Hanshi

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Takahashi Soke image

Kentsu Takahashi Soke

 

Mon image

The Mon (family crest) of
O'Sensei Takahashi Soke.

© Takahashi-ha no Ryūkyū - Shuri-te Karate-do 2015.
All rights reserved.

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