Sakamoto Tameyoshi Sensei

The founder of the Okinawa Seito Karate-Do Shirenkan Goju-Ryu and one of the great but nearly anonymous teachers of Budo in the American Continent was born in Mongolia (Manchukuo) on Tuesday, March 23, 1937 and died on Friday, December 3, 2010 in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic.

His father was named Sakamoto Kaname and his mother Sanpei Tomoko. Both were living in Manchukuo where Kaname was an accountant with the administration office for the railway of Manchuria, and also a Chinese translator for the Japanese officialdom.

At the age of five, Tameyoshi began to practice Kaiko or Kenyu with his older Chinese friends.  One day his father, who, because of his relationship with soldiers (he was a friend of the legendary Yamaguchi Gogen) saw Tameyoshi having an encounter with a bigger and older opponent, and noted the skill and courage with which the little Tameyoshi was fighting. Since then, his parents taught to him some of the techniques of Yawara and Kumiai Jutsu, to be used in real combat (especially against bigger and heavier opponents).

Also on several occasions his father brought him to witness executions in order to show him the consequences that result from breaking the law in those times. According to Sakamoto sensei, the hangmen were so skilled in the use of the sword that they were able to cut the neck of the condemned with a single blow, and the heads of some who were executed became separated from their body while the hangman was shaking the blood off the katana’s blade.

Sakamoto Tameyoshi Sensei
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During childhood, Tameyoshi was spending time amongst both his Chinese and Japanese friends.  This allowed him to learn from both sides by way of playing games with them such as sparring.  Thus sensei Sakamoto’s love for the martial arts began more or less in the form of child’s play. At the end of World War II, all Japanese residents in China were forced to escape to Japan to save their lives.  Once the news of the surrender of Japan became known, inflamed multitudes of Chinese ransacked the houses of all the Japanese on the military bases of Manchukuo.

Consequently, the Sakamoto family was separated and forced to travel on foot long distances to escape death. At only nine years of age, Sakamoto sensei had seen the face of death several times during the distance traveled with his mother to escape the riots. These experiences allowed him to view death calmly and as something that is natural as well as unavoidable.

When in Japan, sensei Sakamoto was constantly rejected and harassed with the chant of Gai-jin (foreigner) because of his birth outside of the Japanese territory, and also for having a slight accent while speaking. Given the lack of food, clothing, and money that characterized the life of the Japanese people after the war, Sakamoto sensei was seen many times fighting for a handful of crude rice, a chunk of bread, or a piece of clothing.  This conditioned him forever to detest any type of waste.

He began attending school and practicing Sumo and Bujutsu with his school classmates. His father and a cousin were teaching him techniques for street defense rather than for friendly school horseplay. Little by little his predilection for karate carried him to request Tadeyoshi Sakamoto (one of his adult cousins) to increase his training schedule since he wanted to train daily.

To prove the interest of the young Sakamoto, his cousin put him to the task of executing 5,000 kicks and 5,000 punches daily for a period of six months as a prerequisite to teach him the fundamental techniques of kata. At the beginning, Tadeyoshi only taught him some kata of the Funakoshi Gichin’s school (Shotokan), but at the suggestion of his mother, he began to practice Goju-Ryu (she always felt predilection by the Goju-Ryu from the era that she knew Yamaguchi Gogen –The Cat – in Manchukuo). In addition, he began the study of Kendo and Judo (Sandan at 18 years of age) with some relatives. Moreover, he was also a formal Sumo practitioner.

The first karate kata that he learned was Naifanchin, and then came SanchinTensho, and finally Gojuyonpo (Gojushiho). With these four katas in his martial arts skill base he decided to travel to the Dominican Republic, with a group of Japanese, selected by the authorities of that country to fulfill a bilateral help agreement signed by the Japanese and the Dominican governments.

As a result of this decision, Tameyoshi boarded the ship “Africa Marú” in 1957, and a few weeks later arrived on Dominican lands, making his residence in the community “La Vigía” of Dajabón province. Among the arrivals were several experts in Bujutsu and war veterans that were seeking better horizons for themselves. One of them was Nishio Junishi, a thin man with a calm face.

That man, years later, was known by the nickname of “El Brujo” (the wizard), in the city of Constanza, Dominican Republic. He earned the title “El Brujo” for his extraordinary physical force and his knowledge of Kiai Jutsu. Junishi was Sakamoto’s sister’s father-in-law and because of that, Sakamoto sensei earned Junishi’s confidence and became his disciple.

Step by step Sakamoto learned all the Goju-Ryu katas thanks to several experts of the Japanese community who traveled with him and for the following few years. After 1960’s, he practiced mainly from books and films, especially those rare of Miyagi Takashi’s and Gogen –The Cat – Yamaguchi’s, (from Yamaguchi’s school Sakamoto learned Seipai, Kururunfa, Sesan and Suparinpei).

Circa 1963, Sakamoto sensei had developed a personal karate system that included techniques from Judo, Yawara, Kobudo, Kumiai Jutsu, Sumo, Ch’üan-fa and, of course Okinawa and Japanese Goju-Ryu. On August 26th of 1963 he designated his school as Shirenkan (wrought and proven in our house). In about 1966, Sakamoto sensei had moved to the city of Santo Domingo and opened a school of budo with only 7 students. Then he opened another exclusively to teach Judo, and in 1968, in the San Francisco de Asis College.

Near the end of 1971 the first Dominican Goju-Ryu black belt was presented by Sakamoto sensei (Generoso Montero). In August 1971 Sakamoto sensei established a school in the city of San Francisco de Macoris. In February 1972 Sakamoto opened another school in the city of Santiago with a select group of students. In December of 1974 Sakamoto sensei established a rank grading system suggested by the son of the founder of the Shito Ryu karate system, sensei Kenwa Mabuni (Kenei Mabuni who was visiting the Dominican Republic at the time).

During the years that followed Sakamoto sensei was busy travelling within the Dominican Republic and the United States of America where his students had schools. As a result of his work in the martial arts and because he was the teacher of Dr José Dicarlo, Sakamoto sensei was recognized in 1989 by the USA Goju Association (USAGA) and Kyoshi and Hachidan in Karate-Do and Kobudo.

During the same year (1989) the Shirenkan dojo initiated contacts to be affiliated with the International Okinawa Goju-Ryu Karate-Do Federation – IOGKF- in order that sensei Higaonna Morio would give special instruction to Sakamoto’s most advanced students (and Sakamoto could return to Japan leaving his students ‘in good hands’).

In February 1990, Sakamoto sensei was nominated as Honorary President and Chief Instructor for the Dominican IOGKF (Takayoshi Alvarez as technical director and vice-branch chief). After that, on October 6th of 1990 Sakamoto sensei travelled to Japan to fulfil work commitments. In 1997 the Dominican Goju-Ryu Karate-Do Association recognized Sakamoto sensei as Hanshi, Judan and the “Father of Goju-Ryu Karate-Do in the Dominican Republic”. Students from Spain, Japan, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Canada, United States, Mexico, Venezuela and Dominican Republic nominated him for this honorary rank and title.

From March of 1997 until December of 1998, Sakamoto sensei “closed his door” ending his teaching of martial arts to the public. In 1999, he moved to the city of Okayama and there he reopened the way to his teachings just a little bit and made official the Shirenkan Kokusai Kyokai the name of his style (Okinawa Seito Karate-Do Shirenkan Goju-Ryu), and the group established by his adoptive son Takayoshi, the Okinawa Koshiki Goju-Ryu Karate-Do Shirenkan (OKGKS).

We Are Eternal Students Of Our Arts

Kyoshi Takayoshi Sichiyama Alvarez

Takayoshi -Sichiyama- Alvarez. Kyoshi, Hachidan. Was born in Trujillo City (today Santo Domingo de Guzman) Dominican Republic, on Sunday, January 22nd. 1956. At birth his given names were Rafael Bienvenido; family names were Álvarez Perez.  He started martial arts as an autodidact in 1968, together with his childhood friend José Luis Cohén Suero (Güicho). For this ‘start’ they had bought a book named “Karate and Self Defense” by Carlos Hoffman. Two years later, at 2:06 P.M. of Monday, June 22, 1970, at the age of 14, began his formal training in Okinawa Seito Karate-do Goju ryu Shirenkan, Jujutsu and Kobudo, under the tutelage of Sensei Sakamoto Tameyoshi.

Between 1971 and 1974 he traveled to several U.S. cities to expand his knowledge related to the martial arts. In New York he practiced Shoreikan Goju Ryu under the tutelage of sensei Jose Santos. In December 1974, Sakamoto Sensei promoted him to Shodan; in March 1976 to Nidan; in April 1978 to Sandan (in that year also gave him the Japanese name that he holds today). He practiced Judo (1976-78) and Tae Kwon Do (1978-80) with Yamashita Masahisa sensei and Master Jose Ramon Reyes (Cuqui) in Judoyuku dojo and John Rhee Institute. On March 23, 1979, date of birth of Sakamoto sensei, Takayoshi won the National Full Contact middleweight Championship, beating the WAKO middleweight world sub champion, Nelson Colon. From 1983 to 1987 he practiced Nihon Koden Shindo Ryu Karate under the tutelage of sensei Felton Messina, Soke Hamada Hiroyuki’s student. In December 1984 he was promoted to Yondan; in December 1989 to Godan; in May 1996 to Rokudan; in October of the same year he was awarded with the honorary title of Tasshi (One who has complete knowledge and mastery in an art or activity). 

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In March 2001, Sakamoto sensei promoted him to Nanadan and in July 2001, in Kurashiki, Okayama, Japan, gave a special document declaring him as sole heir of Shirenkan. In December 2008 Sakamoto sensei ascended him to Hachidan; range endorsed on January 15, 2009 by the Nippon Karate Do Rengo Kai Goju Ryu Taishukai, which awarded him the title of Kyoshi, a recognition given by Nakamura Isao sensei in August 2009, when he visited the Dominican Republic.

During his tour on the path of martial arts Takayoshi Alvarez has received instruction, guidance and / or training from the following sensei: Higaonna Morio, Kai Kuniyuki, Hichiya Yoshio, Yasuda Tetsunosuke, Minei Nankoh, Chinen Teruo, Yagi Meitetsu, Yagi Meitatsu, Kinjo Tsuneo, Peter Urban, Chuck Merriman, Miyazato Ei’Ichi, Kimeda Takeshi, Kanazawa Hirokazu, Osawa Osamu, Nakamura Tadashi, Nakamura Isao, Demura Fumio, Shimpo Matayoshi, Miyahira Katsuya, Dan Severn, Lieng Shen Feng, Matsunaga Mamoru, Masahisa Yamashita, Yamaguchi Tatsuo, Chico Pimentel, Hamada Hiroyuki, Moriyama Kenji, José Ramón Reyes, Ramón Smith, Vitelio Echavarria, Thimo Pimentel, Marcos Willamo, Toguchi Seikichi, José Santos, John Rhee, Sugimoto Kogi, Suzuki Hiromi, Suenori Tominaga, Sakumoto Tsuguo; and the professional boxers  Carlos and Leonardo Cruz (world champions), Johnny de la Rosa and Filiberto Álvarez (Robocop).

Alvarez has completed several courses about arbitration for competitive kumite, kata and duo system self defense. Among his most enjoyable experiences we can mention that he has provided instruction to over 6,000 people from 1996 to 2012, of which there are over 400 black belts from Canada, Japan, India, Sri Lanka, Cuba, Colombia, Chile, Dominican Republic, Panama, Puerto Rico, Latvia, Kazakhstan, United Arab Emirates and Turkey. In such countries have won the affection and respect of most of the representatives of styles.

Takayoshi is the founder and director of the Okinawa Koshiki Goju ryu Karate-do Shirenkan (OKGKS), technical advisor of the Dominican Association of Okinawa Seito Karate-do Goju Ryu (ADOSEKAGR) and member of the Dominican Karate Federation (FEDOKARATE), which in turn is a member of the World Karate Federation (WKF).

Takayoshi is also a member of the National Court of Grades, as representative of Goju Ryu in that court. This court is an organ of the FEDOKARATE. Kyoshi Alvarez is also a passive member of Karate Ontario (provincial organization of Canada to the WKF), the Nippon Karatedo Goju Ryu Taishukai, and also serves as a consultant or adviser to several other Goju ryu and martial art’s organizations in Cuba, Canada, Chile, USA, India, Sri Lanka, Dubai and the Dominican Republic. At present, Kyoshi Takayoshi ‘Sichiyama’ Alvarez personally directs the “Sichiyama Dojo. OKGKS. Martial Arts Academy “in the urbanization” City of Millions “, National District, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

They train in Okinawa Goju Ryu and Kobudo on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 2:30 – 9:30 PM; from the two senpai Generoso Montero and Jose Dicarlo, Generoso become the closest helper to the author. At the dojo Sakamoto practice Judo on Tuesday-Thursday from 4:00 – 7:00 PM and Saturday 10:00 A.M. – 1:00 PM. In that Judo class Sakamoto sensei always teach the author using him as his partner.

(Former Asian Chief Instructor of OKGKS India)

Anbalagan krishnamoorthy was born in mint, Chennai city, India on 10th of May 1964.He started his martial art training at the age of 12 from sensei Jeffrey in Okinawa Goju ryu karate Do. He achieved his Shodan in the year 1987 and Nidan in 1989 from sensei Nigil Faustin. He was awarded sandan in the year 1991 from sensei L. Ravindran and yondan from Sensei K. Ananthan in the year 1995. In the year 2002 he joined Okinawa Koshiki Gojuryu Karate do Shirenkan. He has been awarded Godan by Hanshi Takayoshi.S. Alvarez in the year 2002. He started participating in many tournaments from 1986 and won many trophies. From 2002 under the guidance of Hanshi Takayoshi.S. Alvarez he had expanded OKGKS in many states in India. He made OKGKS one of the strongest schools in India. He has been awarded as an outstanding Martial Artist on December 31st 2016 by International Shotokan Karate-do. In year 2017, during December he went to headquarters of Jundokan in OKINAWA. He has been promoted as an Asian Chief in year 2014. In the year 2020, FEB 2nd he was awarded Nanandan by Sensei Takayoshi .S.Alvarez. He encouraged and made kids achieve in world level competition. He was the vice President in KAI (Karate Association of India), and General Secretary in All Gojuryu Karate Federation.

(Chief Instructor & Technical Advisor of OKGKS India)

Gopi Sadasivam was born in Perambur, Chennai city, Tamilnadu, India on 9th Aug, 1980. He started his training from from the age of 4. It is not an easy path for him to learn the art. Sensei Anbalagan was the person who introduced karate to him. Even in that small age he was courageous to attend many tournaments with senior budokas. He got his shodan from sensei Nigil Faustin from the year 1994. He did a record break at the age of 17 by participating in International championship held in Chennai, many countries around the world has participated and more than 150 has participated. He won the championship as he was the youngest of all. Got his Nidan in the year 1997, Sandan in the year2004, Yondan in 2009, Godan in 2014 , Rokudan in 2016 and Nanandan in the year 2020.He has attended many seminars of sensei Taira, Sensei Yoshio Kuba, Sensei Seigo Takara, Sensei Nobutaka Kotani, Sensei Kiyotaka Takasaki. He has participated and won in more than 600 tournaments so far. In nov.2019, he has won bronze medal in International championship conducted by WGKF in Malayasia.. He has also won 25 district, 20 state tournaments. Won gold medal thrice in national tournament.Sensei Takayoshi.S.Alvarez has appointed him as a Indian chief instructor and technical advisor of OKGKS from May 14th 2020.he has been awarded as a NATIONAL COACH BY Karate Association of India from the year 2015.


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