Hidy Ochiai and Washin-ryu.


Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Aug 28, 2001
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Terre Haute, IN
I read a flattering--fawning--interview with Hidy Ochiai. Did he create Washin-ryu or does it have a longer history in Japan? I know he claims that he came here to spread that traditional art but it often seems as though he is the only source of instruction in it. Is it practiced in Japan? Who is the grandmaster if not Mr. Ochiai?
Thanks, but I know most of what's there--it was popular in Upstate NY where I'm from. (The HQ is just down the road from where my wife grew up.) But I'm trying to separate out fact from fiction. The story just doesn't add up to me--but, I could be wrong.
Sorry I can't help you. Hopefully someone knows something about it. Keep digging I'm sure you will find what you're looking for.
Having "heard" this topic on other forums it would seem that the temple training stories are a little far fetched, and the katas are most likely Shotakan-esque
arnisador said:
I read a flattering--fawning--interview with Hidy Ochiai. Did he create Washin-ryu or does it have a longer history in Japan? I know he claims that he came here to spread that traditional art but it often seems as though he is the only source of instruction in it. Is it practiced in Japan? Who is the grandmaster if not Mr. Ochiai?
Where the hell would he get the kata? From what I've read they're all Shotokan variants. I suppose it's vaguely possible that some Zen monks took up karate for their health, but that would be an informal initiative, not "monk martial arts." Hell, my own Zen Teacher practices Tai Chi but that doesn't mean it suddenly becomes a "martial arts monastery" because he has a personal hobby.

Anyway, he apparently teaches iai as well, according to Kim Taylor's mailing list.
I knew he did a lot of demos with the katana, but didn't know that he taught iaido. I thought it was just for his demos.
Never really head him talk about where he got his training (he would often talk with my old instructor "back in the day"
I do know he was damn good and his forms where darn near perfect.
But I don't think he ever gave much information on who taught him
Oh yeah, I believe he's talented. I've seen him move. But...I question his backstory.
I've met Mr. Ochiai on many occasions and have competed with his son, Derek on the US Team. Mr. Ochiai was one of the few (then WUKO) Referees in the USA Referee Corps. From my experience, even if one makes up his karate frome whole cloth, in his garage- and I'm not saying he did- becoming a WUKO or WKF Referee requires such knowledge and training, that would make one "legit" and worth studying with. Also, I've known, made friends with, competed with and against so many of his current and former students, that I would say that any fears of walking into a McDojo should be dismissed out of hand. His students, and that's truly the measure of a teacher, isn't it- were top flight. They did extreemly well in kata, kumite, nationally and internationally. Having said that, my recollections of Mr. Ochiai's students was that they did shotokan kata and kihon in their kata performances, although Derek did a pretty good Seipai and Seienchin. Mr. Ochiai was the consummate gentleman. While I'm dubious of his published histories of his style, I wouldn't hesitate to send someone I cared about to train with Mr. Ochiai as he teaches the proper principles, from what I can see from observing and interacting with his students. Rob
This seems a balanced and reasonable view. My uncle studied his system and spoke well of it. I'm not near one of his schools any mor3e, but since it was fairly big in Upstate NY I've always known of it and been curious about it.
from page 80-The Original Martial Arts Encyclopedia-"While the founder of washin-ryu is unknown, Master So-An is its first known proponent; he reputedly studied under C.Y. Yen in 1569. Yen, a visiting Chinese merchant and martial artist, tought the washin-ryu monks many intricate forms, including those which employ washin-ryu's favorite weapon, the bo (staff). (Quoted from passage written by Hidy Ochiai)

brown-belt ni-kyu-washin-ryu- and research buff
Back in the early 80's I used to attend Hidy Ochai's annual karate tournament in either Endicott or Johnson City NY. In turn his youth program, including his two young sons (Derek was the older) used to attend my NE Penna Youth tournament in Scranton.

Ochai Sensei was an outstanding competitor/demonstrator of his art. His performance reputation was international in standing. As an instructor he taught literally every class in his dojo, and his orgainzation growing from the tri-cities area was filled with many good people.

I have read that there is controversary about the historical proof of Washin Ryu. Perhaps I cannot offer anything on that. I only know he was a great instructor and really taught his students to be fair and honest as well as become strong performers.

The karate he demonstrated (including his gymnastics) was different from his students studies. Their art did much resemble Shotokan in the kata, the kata names and their performance. I only saw his own performance in the young Derek's studies back then. It may well be because to do what he did you have to start very young.

I was at one of his tournaments when his black belt students were allowed to compete in kobudo for the first time.

As I am wont to judge various instructors I've met and known, Ochiai Sensei must have been one of the best, not for the least of which are the values he taught his students and the honnor which I saw all of them demonstrate time and again.

I know of no more impressive way to be an instructor.

BTW I have no doubt his reputation would have allowed him to be in WUKO, and if his son was competing in that venue, the Shitekata from Shotokan, Goju, Wado and Shito Ryu would have been his study too.

Good memories. If anyone is in that area looking for instruction, they're worth the look.

As for the 'historica' truth, thats someone elses issue. I take the reality of good karate every time.
Hidy Ochiai is only about 20 minutes from where I live. I never did check out his studio though. I believe he's published at least one book on his art.

Actually he's published several I have copies of someplace. Just basic karate books though nothing special but well done for what they are. While its been decades since I've seen him I feel quite sure he still has a quality organization, I can't imagine it changing. If you do check it out, good hunting.
Washin-ryu, includes mind and spirit, besides the usual technique. Few schools do that anymore. I have yet to find others. Oh sure they claim traditional, but a little to lax to be teaching anyone how to hurt someone else. I think it makes you more well rounded, but maybe just the old guy talking. Most people don't talk or brag about themselves and are humble, but not egoless. We all are human after all.
I have met and been judged by Master Ochiai several times. We had him at one of our camps several years ago. I have seen him perform and he was breathtaking to watch. I would say that his style is an offshoot of Shotokan karate do. With other elements thrown in. With his experience in the WUKO and USAKF referee corps. that would also added to his style. Back in the 70's he was affiliated with Mr.Trias's USKA. He at that time would have also had some association with Master Konishi(Ryobukai/Shindo Jenin ryu). No matter where he recieved his initial training from he has developed into an excellent karate ka and sensei in his own right.

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