Translated by Andreas Quast


I think that only a few people know about Yabiku Mōtoku. The “Okinawa Karate Kobudō Encyclopedia” also has no entry about him. He is a person who studied karate with Yabu Kentsū at the Okinawa Normal School. The following passage is found in Yamauchi Seihin's recently introduced “Karate Zuisō – Random Thoughts about Karate” (Note).


Among those who became excellent karate students of this teacher (Yabu Kentsū), there was Yabiku Mōtoku in the 4th year, Shūdōkan’s Tōyama Kanken and Tokuda Anbun in the 3rd year, Sakihama Shūkō – the director of Kenpōkan – in the 2nd year, back to Kinjō Hiroshi at the middle school. Yabiku was looked up to as the father of emigration to Brazil and was also credited with the spread of karate (in Brazil) (p. 25, 26).


In the above quote, Yamauchi lists the names of Yabu sensei's disciples. Tōyama Kanken and Tokuda Anbun are both well known today. Yabiku was their senior (senpai), but because he emmigrated to Brazil, his existence was forgotten in Japan. However, Yabiku taught karate in Brazil, and fortunately, a video was uploaded to YouTube.



The old man wearing glasses at the beginning of the video is like (seems to be) Yabiku Mōtoku. Naihanchi is performed from around 1 minute 50 seconds of the video. Tōyama-sensei's photos differ in the initial posture, but a thing in common is the old-style Haishu-uchi and Naihanchi-dachi, with the knees open.


By the way, what are the exercises performed from about the second 30? Maybe these are part of Karate Taisō (Karate Gymnastics) taught at the Okinawa Normal School?


Alternatively, it can also possibly be movements created by said Yabiku. However, this is undoubtedly a kind of “gymnastics” that is different from modern basics in motion (ido kihon) and on-the-spot basics (sonoba kihon). In other words, the karate in this video may be close to the initial appearance of modern karate.


In this sense, placing a spotlight on Yabiku Mōtoku seems to be meaningful in elucidating the process of karate modernization. 


Note: Gekkan Karate-dō, October Issue, Karate Jihōsha 1956.