Grandmaster Motokatsu Inoue

Motokatsu Inoue was the Grandmaster of Yui Shin Kai and Ryukyu Kobujutsu. Born in Tokyo in 1918, his Father was a general in the Army, and his mother was the Grandaughter of Inoue Kaoru, a former Prime Minister of Japan. The noble status of the family granted access to doors closed to the majority and Motokatsu Inoue began the customary indoctrination into Budo at a very young age.

His first teacher was Seiko Fujita, his father's body guard and 14th Head Master of the Koga Ninja Ryu. Fujita was a true master, capable of many strange feats including the ability to disregard pain.

Fujita thought Karate was too linear and Aikido too circular for practical use in close fighting. His style was a very aggressive form of Jujitsu and Aiki with particular emphasis on attacking the eyes, throat and groin using open hand techniques and low kicks.

He also taught weapons, a skilled exponent of anything he picked up, but his preference was those peculiar to Ninjitsu, especially the Shuriken. He taught the young Inoue to throw anything, but the basis was always from the straight iron darts, around 8 inches in length.

By the age of 18, Inoue Sensei had obtained a good understanding of Jujitsu, Shuriken Jutsu and the learning of Jo Bo Jutsu, as well as Sumo (learned at Keio university). Fujita wanted him to become adept at all martial arts, so ordered him to study under Sensei Yasuhiro Konishi

Grandmaster Motokatsu Inoue

Shinken Taira
Motokatsu Inoue seated right of Shinken Taira

Although there are many practitioners who testify to being Shinken Taira's direct student and heir to the system, it is well recorded on Sensei Motokatsu Inoue's diploma from Sensei Taira the words 'The first Hanshi Diploma awarded'. The diploma is shown on the right. It is also recorded that Sensei Motokatsu Inoue just prior to Shinken Taira's death carried out the last grading undertaken for Sensei Taira in the summer of 1970.

The right-hand photograph shows the grading group from that year. It is interesting to note Sensei Akamine (back row, second from right), Sensei Kinjo (back row, centre) and Sensei Nakamoto (back row, far right). Sensei Inoue is seated in the centre of the picture, front row, between Sensei's Matsumoto and Taira. The photograph provides a clear picture of status at that time as seating arrangements were always in accordance with seniority.

Through politics and a desire to retain control of the Ryukyu Kobudo Association in Okinawa by an Okinawan, Akimine Sensei became the next president of the Association instead of Sensei Motokatsu Inoue, the rightful heir at the time of Shinken Taira's death.


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Konishi was founder of the Shindo Shizen Ryu, and studied with many of the great Okinawan Masters including Funakoshi, Motobu, Mabuni and Ohtsuka. His emphasis on Kata and free fighting gave Inoue Sensei a new outlook on his already extensive knowledge of Bujutsu. He was a strict teacher and introduced Inoue to Shinken Taira, probably the greatest weapons genius of his time. Taira was a formidable man, and would regularly journey to Japan from Okinawa, carrying 20 bo and 10 sai, plus a rucksack on his back - even at the age of 60.

The first Menkyo Kaiden awarded by Sensei Shinken Taira to Sensei Motokatsu Inoue




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