Probably the event most responsible for the worldwide popularity of karate is Master Choki Motobu’s defeat of a Western boxer in 1925. Initially ridiculed by the audience at an “all-comers” prizefight in Kyoto, Japan, laughter turned to stunned silence when the middle-aged and rather portly Okinawan karate man knocked his strongly built young opponent unconscious within seconds. Karate became an overnight sensation, and the mainland Japanese embraced the art as their own. So spectacular it was featured in Kingu, Japan’s most popular magazine of the era, the victory sadly did little for Motobu personally. Illustrations used in the magazine implied the victor was Gichin Funakoshi, a man inferior in both social status and fighting ability to Motobu, infuriating the latter, and ensuring instant fame for Funakoshi who went on to found the Shotokan style of karate and become a karate legend.
Nonetheless, Motobu’s technical influence on karate was immense. His students included Shoshin Nagamine (Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu), Yasuhiro Konishi (Shindo Jinen Ryu) and Hironori Otsuka (Wado Ryu), all of whom formed their own karate styles based, in part, on his teachings. On the death of Choki Motobu in 1944 his unique form of karate seemed destined for extinction. Few members of his original Daidokan Dojo survived the war, and so little was known of Motobu Sensei’s private life that most were unaware of his son, Chosei, who was destined to carry his father’s style into the 21st century. This is the only reference work in the West on this style, and it was released with the full cooperation and approval of the Motobu family and the Japan Karate Do Motobukai.