Koshiki Karatedo is both an old and a new form of Karate competition. It is derived from armour used by the Japanese Samurai. Due mainly to the cost of such equipment (essentially similar to Kendo body armour) and the depressed economic climate in the late 1940s protective equipment took second place to non-contact training. Many Senseis realized that this type of competition, although fulfilling a need, had its dangers. At its best it presents and excellent venue for Karateka to test themselves and their abilities, at its worst it becomes an almost academic game of tag.
Perhaps its most serious deficiency is that the Karateka has no real way of testing the strength or weakness of his techniques, and thus learning and developing, without risking serious injury to his opponent. This is one of the primary reasons for some Okinawan styles not entering non-contact competitions to this day. It is worth noting that non-contact Karate competition was seen by many Sensei as a temporary measure until a suitable form of contact competition could be introduced.
Koshiki Karatedo, is a hard style of Karatedo which is a culmination of these earlier efforts and stems from the initiative of two Japanese Sensei whose combined experience in the use of protective equipment for Karatedo training and competition exceeds seventy years.
Kori Hisataka ( 10th Dan Karatedo, 6th Dan Judo) has emphasized the use of protective equipment since his youth. Building on his father's knowledge and experience Masayuki Hisataka (9th Dan Karate-do, 5th Dan Judo) applied an intensive scientific approach to developing a superior form of protection and a realistic rules system for competition to go with it. After these years of intensive research and development Koshiki Karatedo has been realized as an effective and efficient form of training and competition.
The acceptance of Koshiki Karatedo as the true continuation of the traditional (pre-war) Karate is evidenced by the acceptance of this form of training by teachers such as Gima Sensei (the man who initially demonstrated Karate with Funakoshi Gichin when he first came from Okinawa to Japan); Konishi Sensei, the most senior of the Shito-ryu teachers in Japan; Eriguchi Sensei of Wadokai (who previously was Secretary General of W.U.K.O. and is now the President of W.K.F., (International Koshiki Karate Federation), and Kagawa Sensei the Chairman of Goju-kai in Japan. The acceptance of Koshiki Karatedo by these very senior Karateka has provided the stimulus and recognition on an equal basis with the non-contact 'Mushiki' Karate which has flourished since the last war and which initially owed its popularity primarily to economic rather than technical reasons.
There are several significant difference between Koshiki Karatedo and American style full-contact Karate. Firstly, Koshiki equipment is different both in its material composition, and in its purpose. Koshiki Karatedo is not totally "full-contact," some restrictions apply. Only the body protector may be struck with full force as it is recognized that full force blows to the head in particular, cause undesirable physical damage, not only externally, but also to the brain. Secondly, in Koshiki Karatedo techniques do not have to be adapted to suit the specific peculiarities of the equipment, as has been the experience of many full-contact fighters using gloves and foot pads. Thirdly, the emphasis in Koshiki Karatedo has always been to protect the targets, not the weapons, thus there are no gloves or food pads In competitions. This results essentially in a moving makiwara, but one that can hit back at will. An indication of the equipment's effectiveness is the very low rate of competition injuries, especially facial injuries.
Koshiki Karatedo is now an established reality, with regular national and international tournaments being held with participants from many styles, and countries involved.
The values of an old tradition are alive today in a modern form.
Hanshi Masayuki Kukan Hisataka
Founder and Chairman World Koshiki Karate Federation