Master Yasutsune (Ankoh) Azato
(1828-1906)

Master of Okinawan Karate, son of a Tonichi, one of the two highest classes of the Okinawan society, the was born in the town of Azato.

He was furthermore advisor to the Okinawan King in military subjects and was actually direct advisor to the king. He was furthermore one of the greatest experts of karate on the island. He was furthermore an expert in horseriding, kendo and archery. Furthermore he was very well versed.

All seems to indicate that he only had one student, Gichin Funakoshi, he gave him a methodology that would help him develop the most exact karate that is known to date.

His older sons teaching in the Martial Arts was left in the capable hands of Yasutsune Itosu.

He was very strict in his teaching method, he would have Funakoshi repeating once and again the same kata, from him the rule of three year per kata arose.

Azato maintained a very complete registry of all the martial artists of the island, in these he would detail their abilities and defects. He used to say "Know yourself and your enemy: this is the secret key of strategy".

During his lifetime he was defied by Yorin Kanna, the most famous sword trainee of Okinawa, and even though Azato was an expert in Jigen-kenjutsu, he confronted his adversary unarmed. Kanna was known not only for his education but also due to his enormous strength. He lacked neither courage nor fighting spirit. He attacked Azato once and again and each time Azato would throw him almost without effort. Azato took the sword out of its trajectory and immobilized Kanna.


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