Victoria Lloyd has trained for over 30 years in the traditional Japanese martial art of Wado-Ryu Karate. She is a 4th Dan black belt, all her grading examinations have been conducted by Japanese instructors and her qualifications are recognised and registered in Japan.
She is a member of the Wado Aiwakai Karate-do Federation, WadoKai England Karate-Do Federation and Japan Karate-do Federation Wadokai (JKF Wadokai). Viki has travelled to Japan for advanced karate training, spent time training in some of the leading Japanese karate dojos and is a former British and European Karate champion.
Viki is well known in the UK as a senior student of the late legendary Grandmaster Tatsuo Suzuki 8th Dan Hanshi (1928 – 2011) who originally introduced the style of Wado Ryu to the UK in the early 1960’s. Viki continues to train regularly and seek advanced instruction in the UK with renowned karate instructor Sensei Kuniaki Sakagami 8th Dan. She has learned from and been advised by many of the leading Japanese and European karate instructors during her many years of training.
The "Wado" story officially began in May 1934 when Hironori Ohtsuka registered his own style of Karate, which he called "Wado Ryu" and was recognized as an independent style. However, its origins were developed by Ohtsuka's continuous study of all martial arts, formulating the "Wado" techniques by combining his own innovations and natural movements found in the other martial arts.
The full "Wado" story began on 1st June 1892 when Hironori Ohtsuka was born. He was born in Shimodate City, Ibaragi, Japan, the first son of Dr. Tokuiuro Ohtsuka, a Doctor of Medicine. Ohtsuka was first introduced to the Martial Arts by his great uncle Chojiro Ebashi who began teaching him Jujitsu. This marked the starting point of his life-long fascination and obsession with the Martial Arts.
On the 1st April 1897 Ohtsuka started school where he studied Shindo Yoshin Ryu Jujitsu, under the supervision of Shinzaburo Nakayama Sensei, the third Grand Master of this style of Jujitsu. The essence of this art lays emphasis upon the nature and the grace of movement. It was originally inspired by Yoshitoki Akiyama Sensei after observing how the willow tree laden with snow yielded to the elements of nature, yet maintained its versatility and flexibility to outside forces without damage. This study of movement impressed upon the young Ohtsuka the importance of natural flowing movements. These lessons play a major part in today's "Wado" karate. In defense and attacking techniques the use of the opponent's body and weight and movement play an equally significant role in defeating your enemy as your own body movements, Ohtsuka continued his studies of Shindo Yoshin Ryu Jujitsu whilst at Waseda University from 1910 to 1917 reading commerce. Ohtsuka also studied different styles of Jujitsu, experimenting between styles concentrating on their "positive quality". During his period at University he was able to examine the techniques of most Martial Arts. He developed and improved certain techniques of the existing arts combining them with other "innovative" techniques. Whilst studying Jujitsu, Ohtsuka learned a great deal about the body's "vital points" both for attacking and healing purposes, he also studied the art of "bone setting".
In 1917 Ohtsuka joined the Kawasaki Bank, during the year he is believed to have met Morihei Ueshiba Sensei, the founder of Aikido and this began a deep founded influential friendship. After two years at the bank Ohtsuka Sensei decided to become a full time Martial Artist. His mother, however, opposed this, wishing her son to continue his career in banking. Out of respect for this mother and family he postponed his ambitions, but continued to study Jujitsu. Ohtsuka was awarded on 1st June 1920 the highest degree of Shindo Yoshin Ryu Jujitsu, which allowed him to succeed his master's position as fourth Grand Master.
The 1922 sports festival in Tokyo was to continue his obsession with all Martial Arts. For the first time Ohtsuka was to encounter Karate. Gichin Funakoshi Sensei was invited by the Japanese Education Department to demonstrate his style of Okinawan Karate (Tode). Kano Sensei, a renowned Martial Arts Instructor, accepted that the spirit behind karate was the same as Japanese Martial Arts, which served to promote its message and style. Ohtsuka was impressed with this newly promoted Martial Art. He visited Funakoshi Sensei on numerous occasions during his stay, discussing techniques and other aspects of Karate. Funakoshi Sensei prolonged his visit by invitation from the Japanese Education department. He was "impressed" by Ohtsuka's enthusiasm and determination to understand Karate and agreed to teach him all he knew about Karate. Within the space of a year Ohtsuka Sensei had studied all the Katas that Funakoshi had brought from Okinawa, although he found certain movements and techniques difficult to implement and understand. This led Ohtsuka in his search for a deeper understanding of Karate to practice Kata with Mabuni Sensei the founder of Shuto-Ryu Karate. In 1925 Ohtsuka's mother died and he was left in a period of indecision about his career. After three years of deep philosophical thought, he left the Kawasaki Bank and set up a "bone setting" practice, similar to a small hospital. His prowess in the Martial Arts had led him to be the Chief Instructor of Shindo Yoshin Ryu Jujitsu and an assistant instructor at Funakoshi Sensei's dojo. By the year 1929 Ohtsuka was a registered member of the Japan Martial Arts Federation. At this time Okinawan Karate only concentrated upon Kata, Ohtsuka thought that the full spirit of Budo, which concentrates both upon defense and attack, was missing. Ohtsuka Sensei meanwhile had been developing Yakusoko Kumite to compensate for the lack of attacking techniques. He thought there was a need for a more fluid type of Karate and decided to leave Funakoshi Sensei to concentrate on developing his own style of Karate, "Wado".
The year of 1934 proved to be a major year for Ohtsuka and "Wado" Karate. On February 28th Ohtsuka the 2nd was born. It is uncanny that during this year Wado-Ryu Karate was also "born" and officially recognised to be an independent style. This recognition meant a departure for Ohtsuka from his hospital and a fulfillment of his life's ambition, to become a full time Martial Artist. In 1935 Karate received a further promotion upon Kano Sensei's recommendation to be accepted as a Martial Art, but at first only as an extension of Judo by the Japan Martial Arts Federation.
Ohtsuka Sensei's personalised style of Karate was officially registered in 1938 after he was awarded the rank of "Renshi-go". He presented a magnificent demonstration of "Wado" Karate for the Japan Martial Arts Federation who were impressed with his style and commitment and successfully acknowledged him as a high ranking instructor. The next year the Japan Martial Arts Federation asked all the different styles of Karate to register their names. Ohtsuka registered the name of "Wado-Ryu". Other styles to register included Shotokan Ryu, Goju Ryu and Shito-Ryu. The next few years witnessed Wado Ryu karate growing from strength to strength, new dojos were opening and karate was being taught at the Universities. Ohtsuka himself was becoming a recognised figure within the World of Martial Arts. In 1942 he was awarded the title of Kyoshi-go. During that year a future great master Tatsuo Suzuki began training in Wado-Ryu Karate. In 1943 Ohtsuka the 2nd began his pursuits in the field of the Martial Arts. He began Kendo under the strict instruction of an army officer called Miyata Sensei. In 1944 Ohtsuka Sensei was appointed Japans Chief Karate instructor and in 1945 Ohtsuka the 2nd began to receive expert instruction from his father. In 1947 Teruo Kono began Karate but did not start training with Ohtsuka Sensei until 1951 and in 1955 the first all Japan Wado-Ryu Karate championships were held.
Until the 1960s Martial Arts and especially Wado-Ryu karate remained upon the small islands of Japan. It was hardly recognised outside of the East. This was soon to change. In 1963 a three-man team left Japan to conquer America and Europe. The team was composed of Mr. Arakawa, Mr Takashima and Mr. T. Suzuki. The impressions they left upon America and Europe were tremendous, Wado-Ryu Karate became recognised worldwide for its true merits. Back in Japan in 1966 Ohtsuka Sensei was awarded the title "Kun Goto Suokuo Kyoku jujitsu Shou" by the late Emperor Horohito. It was presented by the Emperor for his dedication to the introduction and teaching of karate. By the early 1970s karate had become truly established worldwide. Ohtsuka continued to train and instruct in Japan, whilst a team of highly qualified Japanese Sensei's continued to spread the doctrines of Wado-Ryu Karate worldwide.
Ohtsuka Sensei in 1972 was historically awarded with an honor never before bestowed upon any Karate master, the president of the International Martial Arts Federation, a member of the Japanese royal family, presented Ohtsuka with the title of "Meijin" - the first excellent Marital Artist in Karate (10th Dan) it was the greatest title possible and bestowed upon him.
Ohtsuka Meijin continued to lead the World of Wado-Ryu Karate until the 20th November 1981, when he finally decided to abdicate his possession as Grand Master of Wado-Ryu Karate and nominated his son Hironori Ohtsuka 2nd as his successor. Hironori Ohtsuka Meijin peacefully passed away on 19th January 1982, two months later. Throughout the entire world where Marital Arts are practiced he will always be remembered for his enormous contribution and individual devotion to Wado Karate.
The late Professor Tatsuo Suzuki was born in Yokohama in 1928 and became interested in Karate at the age of 14 and within six years of beginning his study of Karate, Professor Suzuki was awarded his 3rd Dan at the age of 19. In 1951 at the age of 24 he was awarded the then highest grade in Wado-Ryu, 5th Dan for his outstanding courage and ability.
At 45 he was awarded his 8th Dan and also in the same year was given the title of Hanshi (Master) by the International Budo Federation and was presented with a special silver cup by Higashi Kuni no Miya, the uncle of the late Emperor of Japan.
From 1945 to 1956 he received direct instruction from the founder of Wado Ryu, Hironori Ohtsuka Sensei at the Wado Ryu Headquarters. Thereafter, as Ohtsuka Sensei's most senior student, he travelled with Ohtsuka Sensei both domestically and internationally performing demonstrations and teaching at the Headquarters and in such places as Hawaii.
From 1956 to 1964 Master Suzuki founded the first Wado Federation in England and from his base in London he spread Wado Ryu throughout Europe. He brought many senior students from Japan, taught them how to be instructors and sent them to various European countries. Within just a few years Wado Ryu became the most popular style in Europe. In 1991 Master Suzuki established the Wado International Karate-Do Federation.
In addition to his accomplishments in Karate, Professor Suzuki was a 2nd Dan in Tenshin Koryu Bo-Jitsu (stick fighting) and a 1st Dan in Judo. He has also studied Zen doctrine with the high priests, the late Genpo Yamamoto and Soyen Nakagawa. Suzuki Sensei was also a member of the International Budo Academy (IBA) as an Associate Professor and was award the title Doctor of Philosophy for his life long work and commitment to teaching Wado Ryu Karate.
Kuniaki Sakagami was born in the city of Toyohashi, Japan in 1944. He started training in Wado Ryu Karate in May 1959 aged 14 years old, under the tuition of Tatsuo Suzuki at the Toyohashi Dojo.
After graduating from local high school, he entered Aichi University to study economics. His enthusiasm to become more deeply involved in Wado Ryu helped him to decide to continue training at the City Dojo as well as the University club, this was considered even by University student standards, a very austere way of training.
During his University period he entered many University and All Styles Contests winning the Tokai University Area Championships consecutively, (1965-1966), placing in the All Style University Championships of Japan, and finally culminating in becoming University club captain, a prestigious position that is only held by the most talented Karate-ka.
On graduating from Aichi University in March 1967 he worked for the Fukiki Shipping Company. At this moment in time Wado Ryu Karate was beginning to expand into Europe. Sakagami Sensei was then offered a teaching position in Nurenburg, Germany, by Tatsuo Suzuki. He taught Wado Ryu Karate in Germany until May 1970, he was then transferred to Birmingham, England, where he has been resident for over 40 years.
Sakagami Sensei was awarded 4th Dan in 1968, 5th Dan in 1972, 6th Dan in 1978, 7th Dan in 1989 and 8th Dan in 2010 from Wadokai Headquarters in Japan. Over the past years while being resident in England he has trained many Kumite and Kata Champions, some of them going on to win World Championship titles. The Wado Aiwakai Karate-do Federation was founded by Sakagami Sensei in 1989 and continues to flourish throughout Great Britain under his expert tuition.