An Early Form of Henshuho

Here’s an interesting video circa 1970, showing U.S. karateka demonstrating “the 30 moves of Chito-ryu.” Many of these correspond to what we practise today in Chito-ryu and Ryusei karate as Henshuho, which contains 28 techniques. Henshuho is the sequence of self-defence moves created by Tsuyoshi Chitose, the founder of Chito-ryu, containing strikes to vital points, throws and joint attacks. Henshuho is used, or should be used, as the key to understand many of the bunkai or kaistetsu (explanations) of techniques in Chito-ryu kata.

This is the video’s description from YouTube:

“John Burkhardt Karate -This Video is circa 1970 with 1 through 30 moves of Chito Ryu. People involved include: Jimmy Mulligan–Black Belt, Bobby Hill–Black Belt, Wayne Hires–Black Belt, Joe Conway–Green Belt, John Burkhardt–Soke Grand Master. Video Copyright 2009-2012.”

As far as who John Burkhardt is, we find this notation on the U.S. Chito-ryu site:

“In 1963, Melvin Sauer was at Ft. Benning where he taught Chito-ryu because about August 20, 1963, John Burkhardt started training at Ft. Benning.  On November 25, 1963, Sauer, promoted Burkhardt to brown belt.  Sauer included his title of “4th degree black belt, Shihan (Insructor)” on Burkhardt’s certificate.  Burkhardt trained with Gervis Cherry, Gabe and Abe Navaro, Will Smith and civilian O.P. Carlisle.  Burkhardt and Cherry were close, personal friends.  Burkhardt left the Army in 1965, but stayed in contact with Slomanski.  Burkhardt received his yon-dan certificate from Slomanski on December 2, 1965, and began teaching civilians.”

We can find more Burkhardt background, talking about his development of the “Slo Ryu” karate style, and early U.S. Chito-ryu pioneer Henry Slomanski (presumably the “Slo” in Slo Ryu), here. Among the info we find this:

“Slo Ryu Karate Hierarchy:

The last surviving Master Instructor under Henry Slomanski is Soke John B. Burkhardt. He has taught many students over the last 45 years with the same decorum and customs as Slomanski taught him. With the inception of Slo Ryu Karate Do, Burkhardt has taken the title of Soke after 45 years of teaching as a Master Instructor and being the last surviving 4th degree Shihan Instructor. Soke Burkhardt has awarded the title, Heir Apparent to the Soke, to Lester Whinna, a 4th degree Master Instructor in Slo Ryu Karate Do, the second ranking belt in this organization. This title gives Lester the authority to act on his behalf, if Burkhardt is unavailable. Since Henry Slomanski would assume the red belt upon the death of a Grand Master, as the customs continue, Soke John B. Burkhardt assumes the red belt under Slo Ryu Karate Do.

Slo Ryu Karate Do was formed to honor all of Commissioner Henry Slomanski’s accomplishments in the martial arts. Slo Ryu Karate Do is a blend of mastered techniques comprising of Kempo Karate Do, Goju Ryu, and ‘old style’ Chito Ryu. The ‘old style’ Chito was taught when Chitose was utilizing the ‘ki’ internal power. It is important to note that Chitose was a fighter when he was teaching and training Henry Slomanski. So this is TRADITIONALISM. If you remove the Kempo Karate Do, the Goju Ryu, the internal power, and the fighting technique that was taught to Henry, you have what is Chito Ryu today.”

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