THE PHENOMENON OF FUDOKAN KARATE
The teacher of Gishin Funakoshi, Anko Itosu, predicted decline of the usefulness of karate as a basic weapon in fighting on the battlefield. He foresaw not only this. He also perceived the great value of karate in development of the human body and personality. He endeavored to introduce karate in the education system.
Moreover, the genius mind of Itosu told him to make karate easier to learn and assimilate. One of the manifestations of this genius was elaboration of five levels of difficulty of kata exercises in such a way that the techniques contained in them would ensure – from level to level – development of more and more advanced self-defense skills. The aforementioned kata were Pinian combinations, later renamed by Funakoshi into Heian.
It is believed that the five Pinian combinations were created in 1904 and coincided with the fact of introducing karate in the education system in police schools on Okinawa.
Creating Pinian combinations, Itosu modeled them after a long master Kushanku kata, presently known also in its later version called Kanku (in Dai and Sho variations).
Therefore, nowadays in many karate styles, Heian kata form the core of the beginning education of novices, and Kanku Dai kata is thought during training sessions for advanced students, as part of preparations for their first master exam.
After many years of evolutionary transformations in karate there appeared another phenomenal Master Mind. This phenomenon is Ilija Jorga, who already in 1980 announced the name of his independent, reformed karate style – Fudokan. Fundamental to this phenomenon was the fact that modern approach to contemporary karate training as a martial art, but also as a sport discipline, was supported by many-years’ training of traditional variants of combat karate and Jorga Master’s profound knowledge in the area of clinical physiology and sports medicine – confirmed by his doctorate and many years of full-time work as university professor at the University of Belgrade.
The years of experiences gained in the karate sport competition area (with the titles of the European Champion in both kata and kumite) and his expert medical knowledge allowed Jorga’s Mind to take the enormous obligation and responsibility for further development of karate as one of the human education systems.
Soke Ilija Jorga develops, publishes and introducing in the education system, among other things, the sixth Heian kata – Heian-Oi-Kumi. Its name means: “Great meeting of Heian kata”.
Heian-Oi-Kumi is a synthesis of Heian kata, containing – in the form of summary of the initial phase of karate education – all the most important fighting methods which at this stage of development a novice must be able to use.
The ravages of war in the Balkans in the last decade of the past century condemned Soke Jorga to exile from his home country, restricting him the possibility of unrestrained development of karate ideas, therefore he moved many of them to the American continent cooperating with one of his mentors – Master Hidetaka Nishiyama in the USA.
Ilija Jorga has been teaching Polish karatekas since the seventies in the last century. In relation to the tightened cooperation with Nishiyama, he introduced him in Poland. In 1993 the Masters Jorga and Nishiyama were hosted in Warsaw to jointly conduct training. Nishiyama announced then and signed a document recognizing total independence of the new karate style developed by Jorga – Fudokan, simultaneously acknowledging its roots in traditional Budo variants.
Nishiyama often found support in Jorga’s opinions, taking advantage of dr. Jorga’s sound and extensive knowledge of the human mind and body, and physiology. The methods of judging most advanced kumite forms were always created during the two Masters’ consultations.
As a consequence of many years’ cooperation of Jorga and Nishiyama contemporary training methods were developed to a revolutionary extent and the traditional sport competition rules were elaborated in detail.
After returning to his homeland, Serbia, Master Ilija Jorga began to create a formula of his own world federation. With many innovations, the federation took its final organizational form in 2005, registered in Bern as World Traditional Fudokan Shotokan Karate-Do Federation (WTFSKF).
In 2007 Master Ilija Jorga eventually received the tile SOKE (founder – creator) and was honored with the highest 10 Dan master grade by representatives of international organizations managing other martial arts. The ceremony took place during the World Fudokan Karate Championships held in Łódź, Poland.
In 2008, after Nishiyama’s death, Jorga was recognized as the successor of Master Nishiyama by the majority of Budo environments. Presently, Soke Ilija Jorga 10 Dan is the most often besieged Budo teacher. He is invited to conduct training sessions on all continents on the globe. This popularity and such a high esteem for the authority of Master Jorga is connected with the fact that Fudokan karate currently promoted by World Traditional Fudokan Shotokan Karate-Do Federation (WTFSKF) is the most advanced form of karate art and sport development, strongly renouncing the old forms of competition, which do not agree with contemporary knowledge.
Dariusz Stanisław Bajkowski, 7 Dan