Master Egami... Shotokai Training in Japan...
and Sogo Budo
by Ken Waight
Fighting Arts International Magazine
in Japan was quite a shock to a rather naive young keikonin (trainee) who had
romantic dreams of it. Travelling in the overhead railway, through the industrial
outskirts of Tokyo, was like entering a world of science-fiction. This was Japan,
the rising industrial giant, a place which had little to do with the images I
had in my mind.
After a mix-up which led to me wandering around
Tokyo, lost, I finally met my contact, who was an old friend of Harada
Sensei. I stayed at his house for several days, before getting the chance
to meet Egami Sensei, who lived the other side of town. I became really
excited. Here was the chance to meet one of the great masters of the Martial
Egami was little-known outside of Japan, being
one of the 'hidden sensei': he practiced with some of the great masters
in Japan and carried on through these teachings in Karate. As a leading
disciple of the founder of Karate-do in Japan, Gichin Funakoshi, he had
a vast amount of experience upon which to draw.
Harada Sensei had told me many stories of his
discipleship with Egami, so I was highly expactant as well as feeling rather
shy, when I entered his house. It was such a relief to be greeted, not
by someone great, forbidding man, but by a very big, warm-hearted person,
full of life and wisdom. He asked me how Harada Sensei was and how things
were going in Europe and his charming wife prepared my first real japanese
meal. Over lunch, he recommended that I train at Gakushuin and later Chuo
I visited his house several times and was always
impressed by his presence. He looked quite thin, yet very soft. Once he
showed me some photos of himself training when he was young. Here was a
different person, very wiry, with pronounced muscles, which gave off a
feeling of immense power. He had a strong and very concentrated look in
his eyes that spoke of years of practice, tempered in the fire of extreme
The man in front of me seemed so different. He
told me that he had wanted to develop a soft, open practice which had come
into being more and more, after he had a serious operation on his stomach.
This had made him reflect on the meaning and purpose of keiko (practice)
and power. He had also met secretly wit some of the other 'hidden masters',
notably Yoichiro Inoue Sensei, of whom very little is known in the West.
I believe he had been one of the early founders of Aikido along with Morihei
Ueshiba Sensei. Perhaps he was a more introspective or secretive person,
but he developed his own style of movement called Shinwa Taido. I know
of only one foreigner who has studied this keiko.
Master Shigeru Egami, his wife and his son Masatake, on the left, Ken
Whatever lies in the depth of time, Egami Sensei
had developed his ideas through personal research and having been open
to other great teachers. I can remember some of the stories that he told
of his experimental days, when he wandered the countryside and lived alone
in mountain huts. There was the time when, after some lengthy period of
sitting meditation in the hills, he sat by the side of a lake. Whilst sitting
there he saw the images of hundreds of bodies before him. Later he found
out that there had been a large battle, with many wounded and killed, at
the same place.
There was also the time he had been wandering
in the hills. He studied bokuto (wooden sword) besides other weapons, and
had been practicing when he came upon a group of fellow-wandering Martial
Artists. He told me that they showed him the most important keys to his
bokuto practice. All of these experiences must have helped him to create
a new way for Karate and the way forward.
to the EGAMI GALLERY INDEX
to the Shotokai Encyclopedia Index
Karate Do Shotokai Enyclopedia on Karate-do and Japanese Martial Arts
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