I studied under the Guidance of my Master Ichikawa Sosui from 1972 to his passing in 2005.
I received first dan in July 1977. Ichikawa sensei advised me to practice and teach people who wanted to learn karate in England. That way I could practice on them. After receiving 5th Dan and Bubishi from Ichikawa sensei I was given his official permission to open my own dojo. It was at this time that sensei Ichikawa explained to me that as a Bubishi recipient I should open the door to teaching the general public, not just friends and people I knew. It was something I did not want to do but Ichikawa sensei said I would come to understand, as time passed, people came to study Karate, it became clear why Grand Master Ichikawa’s dojo only had a few students even after his lifetime of teaching. I wrote the magazine articles about my experiences with Ichikawa sensei, the then Unknown Master. I also wrote the article about sensei Yonemoto, who was my close friend and sempai since I had met him in 1977. He had been my guest, visiting the UK in most years. The articles brought many people to my home dojo. Kiyoshi Yonemoto met and trained with them all, mostly teachers and their students.
Ichikawa sensei passed away 2005. My son Cody and I traveled to Japan for the funeral. Cody and I had the privilege of being part of the traditional Buddhist ceremony and I had the honor to be one of the pallbearers for my Master. Cody and I were requested to place my Masters remains in the family urn before it would be positioned in its final resting place at Takashima-daira Cemetery in Misono Japan.
After the funeral, those in attendance were requested to return to the home of Ichikawa Sosui and the hombu dojo. Some members gave speeches. Some of the older members had left years before, and some were running their own dojos. I knew with the passing of my Master that there was no one who had truly inherited his vast knowledge. I thought that I would continue my friendship with Kiyoshi Yonemoto, visiting Japan and him visiting the UK, which he very much enjoyed. He had made his decision to leave Ichikawa Sosui many years before, which was a sad time.
I returned to the UK after the funeral in March 2005, and continued making normal phone calls to Kiyoshi Yonemoto in Japan. Just before Christmas 2005 I received a phone call from a student who told me that Kiyoshi Yonemoto was teaching ex students of mine who had been dismissed or left my school.
They had gone to Japan, and behind my back had gone to Yonemoto Sensei who accepted them as direct students. I was more than surprised, and so were all my loyal students / disciples who had supported Kiyoshi Yonemoto Sensei for many years. By unethically accepting those students, which was something he said he would never do, Yonemoto sensei ended a 28 year friendship. With the passing of Ichikawa Sosui sensei and the end of my long friendship with Kiyoshi Yonemoto sensei, I also found myself with personal problems in the UK. It was now clear that I needed to make changes in my life.
I made the decision to leave the UK and make a fresh start in Thailand where my good friend and sometimes training partner Brian Jacks lived. He was an Olympic bronze and two times silver Judo champion, and world Superstar champion for many years. He kindly invited me to stay with him.
My disciple William Stone was to take over the running of my dojo commitments in the UK in a new dojo at Brian’s Judo club in Kent. For the next 15 years I dedicated myself to continuing my studies and practice of teachings I had already received though the previous decades.
I had previously received not only the Bubishi in 1992 but also through the late 80’s to 1992 the five complete and extensive documents written by Ichikawa Sosui. These also contained the original Koshudo document. Only one of these documents had been translated by Ono Sensei of Sosui Kan, The other papers were placed in my dojo cupboard untranslated.
When Ichikawa gave to me, he said I had been receiving the teachings of what he had written. Until recently I never felt the need to have them translated. The only one I had seen over the next 15 years fired my self- determination to understand the lessons I had received. It is very important to know that these documents were given to me in 1992 and reflected his study and research up to that time. The documents also indicated the directions that his future studies would take him. Over the following years up to his passing, he continued his studies and research, and these later learnings were not included in these documents. He taught all his studies and development of Goju Ryu only personally, his teachings were transmitted in the ultimate way by communion of mind-to-mind, but in no other way esoterically to disciples of senior grades.
To my knowledge there were no further documents written. Ichikawa sensei developed his karate through these years by practicing his discoveries on his senior disciples. Students and visitors came and went during these later years. Because of the esoteric nature of his teachings and inclusion of metaphysical aspects, these people were unable to comprehend and appreciate what they had experienced. These later students and visitors had only a fleeting experience of Ichikawa’s karate. Because of the difficulty people experienced training with Ichikawa over the years many disciples left (many without saying a word), yet continue today to claim lineage to Sosui Kan and quote his name as a revered source of their karate. Many of these people ceased training or joined other karate schools.
Today some of these people meet to discuss his teachings to try to understand what he taught. Sadly, although they conscientiously try, and give the impression of understanding, they do not. They lack the understanding of Ichikawa’s teachings.
I consider my self extremely fortunate to have become his longest practicing disciple of a period of more than three decades and received his teachings watching, being a part of his diligent discoveries with out a break or mixing my karate studies.
I continue to physically practice and study Ichikawa sensei’s esoteric philosophical, metaphysical, spiritual alchemy principles and continue to faithfully pass on his true skills and knowledge to those of a sincere heart.
I had been keeping in touch with my students and disciples and they had also diligently continued their studies. In 2020, after talking with them I began to understand just how Ichikawa Sosui’s name was being misused. I was determined to set the record straight about Ichikawa Sensei as I know it. I decided to make the truth known so that people studying karate today, and in the future, understand the lies, mistruths and rewriting of history which has taken place. People with tenuous or non-existent contact with Ichikawa and Sosuikan have twisted the truth with lies and stretching of the truth to elevate themselves in the eyes of the broader karate community worldwide. False claims of training with Sosui Kan, claims about having information that they never received and claims of dan grades and Bubishi which were not given or authorised. Also, the writing of books and articles claiming to contain Ichikawa’s teachings.
Following are the specific instances of claims and falsehoods.
It is planned to release further instances in the future.
Tsubamoto Kazunobu false claims.
As you can see,
Point 2 (2) Chiba did not make a recommendation.
Point 2.3(ii) Kenjiro Chiba did not provide signature, seal or Inkan on his certificate.
Point 2.3 (iii) Kenjiro Chiba did not donate the certificate.
Tsubamoto did not meet the requirements of the late Grand Master Ichikawa’s last wishes so he was not awarded 10th Dan by the late Grand Master Ichikawa Sosui.
Robert Taiani false claims.
Robert Tiani Introduced by way of a letter to the late Grand Master Ichikawa as a guest by his teacher. He was never a member of Sosuikan Dojo and never received any Dan grade certificates from the late Grand Master Ichikawa as witnessed by the true disciples of Sosuikan Dojo. Over the years false claims have been made by Robert Taiani one of which he displayed an 8th Dan certificate.
Below is a picture of Robert Taiani, a copy of his alledged 8th Dan and lastly a copy of an original Sosuikan Dojo Certificate.
- 1973 – Due to personal reasons to Sensei Yamamoto, Taiani’s teacher, could not accommodate Taiani on a visit. Yamamoto asked hs friend Sosui Ichikawa if he could host Taiani for the week. Grand Master Ichikawa obliged his friend, Taiani was invited in to Sosuikan as a visitor, and returned occassionally as such. As Taiani was not a member of Sosuikan Dojo, he was NOT a student of Grand Master Ichikawa.
- 1996 – Founded Ichikawa-Ha Goju-Ryu Karate-do Sosui-kai. – This would have been against Grand Master Ichikawa’s wishes, as Grand Master Ichikawa had NO representatives in his name, and on one occasion witnessed by several members of the Sosuikan Dojo (both Japanese and English students) Grand Master Ichikawa flatly refused grading Taiani and his request to represent him in America!
If Ichikawa-ha was founded in 1996, how in 1977 can Kahilid Newton join it?
1999 – Taiani falsely claims to have been awarded Hanshi by Ichikawa (previous timeline states verbally awarded.) On this day many senior disciples of Sosuikan were in the Dojo that day, Japanese and Chris’s UK Sosuikan members, along with Taiani and his own American students. Everyone was amazed to hear Taiani ask Grand Master Ichikawa if he could have 9th dan and represent Ichikawa Sosui in the USA. Grand Master Ichikawa looked at Taiani as the request was being translated to him. Grand Master Ichikawa replied ‘NO’ and spoke in Japanese, the translation was given to English speaking members in the dojo, “Who gave you 8th dan?”.
Taiani replied his teachers name – Yamamoto Gonnohyōe Sensei”
Grand Master Ichikawa told Taiani “Go and ask him, your teacher!”
This has been documented in the records of the Sosuikan Dojo.
Oct 2005 – Taiani’s time line states that he is awarded 9th dan from Chiba Kenjiro Sensei, this is documented on Taiani’s own you tube channel. BUT, Taiani’s Bio states that this award was made with the express reccomendation of Grand Master Ichikawa?
The late Grand Master Ichikawa Sosui clearly stated who and how senior grades will be awarded after his death, a copy of the statement of Ichikawa Sosui (below) made no reference of Taiani in any way.
2016 – Taiani was awarded Hanshi by his own group that was created by Taiani (Ichikawa ha)
Hideo Watanabe regularly announces that he is a 5th generation Goju-Ryu Karate Do Bubishi recipient. I am a 5th generation of the same lineage. My lineage clearly states, Grand Master’s Higiaona -(1) Miyagi – (2)Higa -(3) Izumikawa – (4)Ichikawa – (5)Sudo. Master Sudo is Hideo Watanabe’s teacher which makes him 6th.
It was clearly stated to me, by the late Grand Master Ichikawa, when I received my Bubishi, it is strictly forbidden to translate, copy or pass on their Bubishi while their Master is alive, it can only be received from the current living Bubishi custodian recorded on our Lineage. Watanabe received his Bubishi from his own teacher before the late Grand Master Ichikawa passed away in 2005.
Seeking personal gain from Grand Master Ichikawa
Hideo Watanabe has published a book that does not reflect The true teachings of the late Grand Master Ichikawa’s teachings in any way, in fact it misleads the reader by naming the late Grand Master Ichikawa Sosui on the front cover claiming to pass on his knowledge.
In the late Grand Master Ichikawa’s own words from his manuscripts,
“I cannot teach you the Gokui (mysteries) by writing a book, you have to steal from me doing actually”
Although Hideo Watanabe’s teacher was a student of Grand Master Ichikawa, it is recorded that Hideo Watanabe only attended as Sosuikan Dojo a few times as a guest.
On one occasion 8th dan Hideo Watanabe upset Grand Master Ichikawa when Watanabe was defeated in Kumite by a Sosuikan 3rd Dan student. Watanabe would not accept he was defeated.