Chito-Ryu in Canada
Chito-Ryu is the oldest form of karate in Canada. It was introduced by Tsuruoka Sensei in 1958. Tsuruoka Sensei was born in Canada in 1929. At the age of 10, he moved to Japan with his parents and at 17, began studying Chito-Ryu under O’Sensei Chitose. He earned his black belt at the age of 20. He returned to Canada after the Second World War and opened his first dojo in 1958.
Shane Higashi Sensei was one of Tsuruoka Sensei’s first students. In 1969, he organized the first Chito-Ryu club in the Maritimes. Interest in Chito-Ryu in the Maritimes spread fast and thereafter, new clubs were opened in all the provinces.
In 1976, Chito-Ryu spread rapidly across western Canada, particularly in British Columbia and Alberta. This expansion was largely due to the efforts of David Akutagawa Sensei.
Owing to the influence of Shotokan, which had a great impact on his teaching, Tsuruoka Sensei was relieved of his duties as technical director of the Chito-Ryu style in Canada. He was replaced by Shane Higashi Sensei in 1979. This appointment was proposed by O’Sensei Chitose and the board of directors of Chito-Ryu Japan. David Akutagawa Sensei was appointed deputy technical director for Canada at the same time. Akutagawa resigned from the International Chito-kai in December 1996 and founded his own organization. Akutagawa Sensei passed in 2008.
In 2008, Higashi Sensei left the International Chito Ryu Karate Federation. He remains the head of the Canadian Chito Ryu Association however has no ties to Japan. In 2015 the International Chito-Ryu Karate Federation of Canada was officially created for all members across Canada remaining loyal to Soke and the International Chito-Ryu Karate Federation (ICKF).