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.
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:
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.
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.