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                                   TAK KUBOTA on GOSOKU RYU

When and how did you decide to develop the Gosoku Ryu style?

Let me tell you first of all that we practice Shotokan kata for the basics. I developed Gosoku Ryu when I was in Japan because, after training under different instructors, I realized at an early stage that the Shotokan style that I learned in those years was very much “unidirectional.” Then, after meeting other masters, like Gogen Yamaguchi, I thought that some other “circular” elements should be added to that Shotokan foundation. I started more and more to analyze the actual combat and brought into a new system other important aspects that made the fighting aspect of my karate more complete, and that were necessary. Of course, this approach is normal today, and even the old JKA style of karate is not like it used to be in the ’50s and ’60s, but when I did these modifications I definitely was going “against the grain.”

Did you get any resentment from other masters?
I know some of them thought I was doing something wrong. They never told me to my face, but I know they thought that way. What is interesting is to note that 20 years later, they started to do the same thing to their styles. The difference is that I changed the name of what I was doing because it was not the original style I learned. I had to be honest and call it differently. That is how Gosoku Ryu was born. 

You never capitalized on who your teachers were in order to get recognition. Why?

Because I don’t believe in doing that. Your skill in karate is not passed to you because your instructor is well known or famous. I have seen many people telling everybody who their teacher was…but that is irrelevant if you can’t deliver. Just because my teacher was very famous doesn’t mean that I know what I am doing. Karate is up to you. You are the one who must deliver…not your teacher. So what is the point in telling everybody about who-and-who is your teacher? To validate you and your school? The only one who can validate what you do as karate-ka is yourself, not your teacher’s name and reputation.