The photos above have been extracted from 'Karate Goju Ryu' by the cat, Tenth Dan Gogen Yamaguchi Sensei
Sensei Saito's Goju Ryu Karate History
William Crando Saito grew up in the rough area of Senzoku, Asakusa, which was dominated by the Yakuza (Japanese gangsters) during the dying stages of World War II. Self defence was a vital skill in Asakusa to survive with crime and violence being common in everyday life. Saito began his Goju Ryu Karate training at the age of three when his mother took him to Gogen Yamaguchi Sensei's dojo, but was rejected as he was too young of age. Saito attended the Senzoku Primary School, where every day was a battle and Saito was often scared to go to school as there was incredible violence occurring within the school. This is where he learnt basic karate movements (punch and kicks) such as Sanchin Tensho and Goju Ryu katas from his older brother's friends, Kobayashi Sensei and Ounishi Sensei. Kobayashi Sensei and Ounishi Sensei were students of Gogen Yamaguchi and taught Saito and others who were interested in Karate. The lessons were held twice a month in Senzoku Primary School Hall and Saito attended these lessons until he was in Junior High School, aged 15.
After High School, Saito first began to train under Gogen Yamaguchi Sensei in Yushima Ueno Dojo when he was in his late teens. Gogen Yamaguchi Sensei's students were all physically grown and were at least in their early stages of adulthood due to the intensity of the training. The training involved intense full contact fighting, including groin kicks. These training sessions lasted 2 hours and classes were almost every day of the week.
Gogen Yamaguchi Sensei relocated his Headquarters Dojo to Zenpukuji Ogikubo Suginami, Tokyo in 1968. Saito continued to train under Gogen Yamaguchi Sensei while serving as a translator, for Yamaguchi Sensei between foreigners. Saito met many American, Australian and English karate practitioners, including Tino Cebrano Sensei from Australia. Gogen Yamaguchi's number one student, Shuuji Tasaki sensei, left Gogen Yamaguchi Sensei's Dojo in 1970, and many of Gogen Yamaguchi's students such as Akio Takahashi sensei, left and followed Shuuji Tasaki Sensei, including Saito. Shuuji Tasaki founded his own Karate organisation, called Seiwakai. Saito continued to train with Seiwakai and Yamaguchi Sensei's Dojo and was offered to come to Australia under the sponsorship of his friend, Tino Sebrano sensei.
Saito migrated to Australia in March 1978 with permanent residency as a Karate Instructor from a letter of recommendation from Tasaki Sensei. However, while teaching Karate in Australia under Seiwakai for 5 years, Saito decided to resign from Seiwakai, as a result of a Shinken Shobu (Death match) with Shuuji Tasaki Sensei in Seiwakai Dojo.
Saito gave his resignation letter to Yamamoto Sensei when he visited Australia in front of Hirata Isao Sensei. Yamamoto Gonnohyoue Sensei then passed the letter onto Tasaki Sensei in person in 1984. To date, Saito has never received any confirmation nor did he ever hear from Tasaki Sensei.
In 1992, Saito founded his own school called Shinbukan and received 10th Dan Hanshi on the 1st of June 2013 from Yamamoto Gonnohyoue Sensei, 10th dan Hanshi, a Senior Student of Goju Ryu Karate and had joined Yamaguchi Sensei's Dojo almost at the same time as Tasaki Sensei in the Senzuko Asakusa Dojo. Yamamoto Sensei gave Saito this title because they had trained together for a long time in Japan and had acknowledged his immense ability in Karate.
The following photo has been extracted from Karate Goju Ryu by the cat tenth dan Gogen Yamaguchi. Can you spot Saito Sensei?