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Ankichi Arakaki
1899-1927

Ankichi Arakaki

Ankichi Arakaki

The first of 11 children, Ankichi Arakaki was born in November 1899, in Akata Village, Shuri. His family were sake (rice wine) brewers and, as such, enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle and eventually moved to Tori-hori Village.

Sensei Arakaki commenced his karate training at an early age, learning from Shinpan Gusukuma (his primary school teacher) and also Chomo Hanashiro (his junior high school teacher), before leaving school and intensifying his training under Chosin Chibana (founder of Kobayashi Shorin-ryu).

It was because of the wealth that his family enjoyed that Arakaki was able to devote a great deal of time to his training, and soon became very proficient, earning the nickname of 'Uwayaguwa Ankichi' (Ankichi of Uwayaguwa). His specialty was the development of the toe kick or tsumasaki-geri.

One story tells of the devastating effect of Arakaki's toe kick:

Once, when Sensei was around twenty years old, he and some friends were in a tea house in Tsuji drinking and having a good time. While getting up to go to the toilet, he accidentally bumped into a big man who insisted on picking a quarrel with him in the corridor on the second floor. Trying to ignore the man, Sensei was unable to get out of his way, which resulted in Sensei being shoved down the staircase. Being in such good physical condition, Arakaki was able to roll down the stairs avoiding injury. The enraged man leaped down the stairs and grabbed Arakaki by the arm, trying to yank him up in an effort to punch his face. Seizing the man's arm with the other hand, Sensei drove his toes deeply into the armpit of his attacker, which resulted in the man dropping to the ground unconscious.

Needless to say, Sensei never returned to that tea house again. About six months later, while reading the newspaper one morning, Ankichi was shocked to see a story which described some big wrestler who had died as a result of injuries sustained by "some karate expert" at a tea house in Tsuji. The article went on to say that "survived by two daughters, both of whom were serious judoka, the family sought to revenge the death of their beloved father". In spite of the man allegedly dying sometime after his encounter with Arakaki, the police were never called in, and a subsequent investigation was unable to provide the actual reason for his death

Around 1921, after discharge from his military service, he moved to the village of Kadena. Unfortunately, due to the fact that his father had died and the family business was profoundly affected by the recession which followed World War 1, Sensei Ankichi Arakaki contracted stomach ulcers and died on 28th December 1927. He was just 28 years old.

 

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