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Students of Chotoku Kyan

I have met two students of Chotoku Kyan and actually both of them have been to my home: Shoshin Nagamine and Shozen Sunabe.  I have no doubt at all that these men studied with Kyan Sensei.  In the case of Sunabe Sensei, I am confident that he trained daily at Kyan Sensei's house for twelve (12) years, and then during the summers when he attended college on mainland Japan.

Come to think of it, I met one other man who trained with Kyan Sensei.  His name escapes me at the moment, but he is the Sensei of Kunio Uehara (he caught habu and spoke Hogen).  I was introduced to him by Uehara Sensei in 2002 during a visit to Okinawa.

But I do not have any proof of other students who trained with Kyan Sensei, except for what I have read or been told by other people.  I have no first hand evidence.  In short, I do not personally know who else might have trained with Kyan Sensei at this house or at other locations, such as the Agricultural School or the Kadena Police Station.

I do know know who else might have trained with Kyan Sensei and I do not know who did not train with Kyan Sensei.  I was born in 1957, about 12 years after Kyan Sensei died.  I simply am too young to have been there.

Some people get into heated arguments about who did or did not train with Chotoku Kyan and other Karate "masters" (I put the word in quotes because I doubt that Karate experts would describe themselves as such).  I want no part of such arguments.  It is not for me to say.

If anyone ever says that I said that a certain person did not train with Kyan Sensei, they are wrong.  Well, I can say with certainty that I did not train with him.

The style of Karate that I practice traces to Chotoku Kyan (among others).  Arguing about this lineage would be a waste of time.  If my Karate traces to Kyan Sensei, the question is how this is reflected?  Does the art I practice and teach reflect -- at least in part -- what Kyan Sensei taught?  That is the important thing.  If it does, then good.  If it does not, then practicing a style that traces to Kyan Sensei is irrelevant.  A lineage does not guaranty anything.

I respect all styles of Karate and am very grateful to Karate instructors and students who carry on the traditions of the art.


Charles C. Goodin