Dear Christian Bellina Sensei, I was so pleasantly surprised finding a personally autographed copy of your book ["Toyama Kanken, The Heritage of Shudokan"] at the post office yesterday. Thank you so very much for your heartfelt generosity. Having a look through it I am so VERY impressed I could hardly put it down. The quality of its presentation. from the hard cover with embossed gold leaf calligraphy [修道館] inset, to the beautifully designed dusk jacket and 280 A4-size high gloss pages [which really help show off the hundreds of old photos, charts & diagrams], the depth with which you've carried out your research is remarkable! Even though I have yet to read the entire work [there's just so much in there], what I did read I liked very much and really felt Toyama Kanken's spirit was been wonderfully conveyed in your work. May I say how VERY proud of you I am my friend. One saying most favoured by my late Okinawan Master was, "How you do something is how you do everything" I am sure that the rest of your work will also reflect the equally impressive depth and attention presented here I am honoured to have beenr if only in a small way, a source of your inspiration. By the way, I was very surprised, and particularly moved, reading both your personal inscription to me at the front of the book, and your public opinion, described in the acknowledgements at the end of your work I am lost for words to adequately express my gratitude. I am going to recommend your book to any/all IRKRS and KU supporters as I am confident this outstanding work will immediately become a best seller and adorn the book shelves of likeminded readers worldwide.
Congratulations Christian san
A masterpiece has arrived on the doorstep of the budo world. Toyama Kanken - The Heritage of Shudokan.
This is a literary work which delves into the history, philosophy, teachings and vibrant heritage of one of the lesser known but nevertheless incredibly influential and important pioneers of Okinawan karatedo who introduced the art to mainland Japan in the 1920s and 30s. Chock full of never-before released photos and facts, this unique book paints a complete picture of Toyama Sensei as teacher, mentor and leader, a man whose teachings inspired generations of budoka both in Japan and around the globe.
Christian Bellina’s work is especially valuable because there is precious little written about Toyama Sensei. Now, we finally have a documented record of Toyama Sensei’s life which shines a spotlight on his teachings and unique philosophy towards karatedo.
Bellina Sensei skillfully weaves together a tapestry of historical fact and fascinating anecdotes that portray the legacy of one of the true masters of karatedo. In his book, Bellina draws upon the experiences of a multitude of karate practitioners who developed relationships forged through the austere training of Okinawa Seitou Karatedo. We read about the direct students of Toyama Sensei who themselves opened up dojos and started teaching in Japan and abroad, the practitioners who traveled to Japan to learn karatedo and eventually opened their own dojos, and the resulting generations of karatedo students around the world who today make up the Shudokan family. This is a book of personal bonding, international friendship, and human relationships that transcend all national boundaries, and in its genuineness and humility is both inspirational and moving.
It was a true honour and unique privilege for me to have had the opportunity to make a small contribution to the making of this book. My own training in Okinawa Seitou Karatedo with Takahashi Hiroshi Hanshi has without a doubt shaped the course of my life and has had an incredible influence on who I am today. I am indeed fortunate and eternally grateful to be able to pass some of those teachings on to my own students and trust they too reap the benefits of training, whatever they may be.
This monumental work is a must-read for all members of the Shudokan family, and I also highly recommend it to any practitioner of budo regardless of style or heritage. In the words of Marcus Garvey, “A people without knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots”. The Heritage of Shudokan is an incredible resource, not only as a vehicle for us to truly understand our own “roots” as budoka of Toyama’s Sensei’s lineage, but also as an important conduit for the world to finally hear about one of the greatest karatedo masters of the 20thcentury.
'Toyama Kanken – The Heritage of Shudokan' by Christian Bellina is a ground-breaking book written by a true professional who has dedicated his life to researching the traditional Karate-Do taught by Toyama Kanken and his students. Toyama Kanken has long been an unsung hero of Okinawan Karate. Having trained under both Higashionna Kanryo and Itosu Ankou as well as countless others, Toyama Sensei's experience during the golden age of Karate-do is monumentally important. Toyama furthered his impact on the development of Karate-do by bringing his art to Tokyo from where it spread to the rest of the world, even all the way to Yakima, Washington where it changed my life as a shy seven year old boy.
Christian Bellina Sensei has gone above and beyond to research the many different branches that grew from the seed planted in Toyama Kanken's dojo, the Shudokan. Christian's tireless efforts meant years and years of contacting different Karate groups that trace their Karate-do to the Shudokan. Each group adds a new layer of depth in our attempt to understand the impact that Toyama Sensei had on the world. Up until this publication, there had been no books written about Shudokan that contained this kind of detail and insight. So whether you study Shudokan, Keishinkan, Yoshinkan, Doshinkan, Koeikan, Kanbukan, Renbukan, Kyokushin, Shotokan, Shito-ryu, Goju-ryu or are simply interested in Karate history in general, this book is a must buy and should be included in any serious martial artists library. I'm thoroughly looking forward to Christian Bellina's next thought-provoking publications as well. Stay tuned for more from this respected professional in this field.
Your book Toyama Kanken, The Heritage of Shudokan is nothing short of amazing. The book is not only beautifully bound with high quality paper and printing it is also a great read. There is so much history packed into this book that it takes awhile to get through the book. It astounds me that you included so many pictures to go along with the history in this book.
I especially enjoyed the first part of the book covering the back ground and history of Toyama Sensei. I had very little information on Toyama Sensei, but after reading the book I am pleasantly surprised to be enlighten by the information and stories of his life.
My Karate lineage is of the Hanaue Sensei line. Once again I was pleasantly surprised to be enlightened once again with so much rich history and background on my particular linage. I also had no idea that Toyama Sensei had influenced so many Karateka during his lifetime.
I Highly recommend this book for anyone who is serious about truly learning how Karate linage developed. We owe so much to our Karate Fathers such as Toyama Sensei. We also owe so much to Bellina Sensei for researching and writing such a beautiful, entertaining and informative book.
It gives me great pleasure to offer a full endorsement of Christian Bellina’s book, Toyama Kanken The Heritage of Shudokan.
If anyone is interested in the history of Karate-Do then this book is a must read. Although Kanken Toyama wrote four books about the Karate-Do he practiced they were all in Japanese. Dai Shihan Kanken Toyama is one of the profound Okinawans that influenced the development of Karate-Do that has been overlooked and marginalized until now. Sensei Bellina has carefully crafted a book that outlines Dai Shihan Toyama’s personal history but also the history of several of the key practitioners directly and/or indirectly involved with Toyama Sensei and his Dojo, the Shudokan. His book is published in German and English which is a first concerning Dai Shihan Kanken Toyama and the Shudokan.
This book is full of pictures and translations from excerpts from the various Toyama authored books and personal anecdotes offered up by surviving practitioners that help document and quantify Toyama and the Shudokan’s history. This book help fill the gap in the ongoing efforts by many to document Karate-Do’s history and evolution.
This book is essential reading for anyone interested in Asian martial arts history. Those with an interest in martial arts that are Okinawan in origin, or have linkages to Okinawan systems, will find this book very interesting reading indeed. It is an extremely well researched biography of Kanken Toyama, one the pioneers of the development of modern Asian martial arts along with others such as Gichin Funakoshi and Kenwa Mabuni. Kanken Toyama’s influence in modern martial arts cannot be underrated. Not only did he influence Japanese Karate but also the Korean schools that formed the foundation of modern Taekwondo. Yoon Byung In, one of Toyama’s senior students, was the founder of Changmookwan and Yoon Kwei Byung, another senior student of Toyama, was highly influential in the establishment of Jidokwan as well as being its first president. These schools were two of the five original kwans (or schools) that formed the underlying foundation of Modern Taekwondo. This book provides some context to the martial arts background of these masters and also provides a detailed history of their master, Kanken Toyama.
Highly recommended reading.
This book is a treasure.
First of all, I´d like to thank the author because for the first time it´s been made such a big and serious work about Toyama Kanken, Shudokan and its most important students and organisations. Toyama Kanken was very important not only for japanese people, but for many others around the world.
Even though all the content of the book is very interesting, I enjoyed the most the parts that refer to Hanshi Isao Ichikawa and his relation with Kanken Toyama. I was Hanshi 10° dan Isao Ichikawa´s student and nowadays I am Hanshi 10 dan Nobuo Ichikawa´s student; Kanken Toyama was Hanshi Isao´s teacher so for me it is very important to learn about the roots of Karatedo Doshinkan.
Finally, Kanken Toyama has received the historical recognition he deserves.
We all love your book!!! It is very easy to follow, well put together and packed full of historical information, plus it has some photos I have never seen before. My favorite part must be Iwasa Sensei's personal memories of Toyama Sensei. The Sensei's level of thought seems to have no boundaries and is limitless as evident in many sections of the book. Mr. Doug Dennis 7th Dan, my long term instructor says it is "possibly the best book he has ever read" also he states "I read it every night." Coming from Mr. Dennis that is quite a compliment!
This book holds a special place with me. We lost our house and three cars in a garage/house fire January 10, 2016, and I lost all my certificates, belts, trophies, books, gi's and some of my personal karate notes. This is the first book that I have purchased since then and has helped me "kick start" the process of building back from the items I lost. Although most of our personal belongings were destroyed, I still have the memories and this book is helping me get them all back on paper.
Any serious martial artist should read this book. Toyama Sensei influenced and instructed so many extraordinary karatekas. Some stayed loyal to Shudokan, others went their own way. For me, this helps bridge the gap between old and new. It brings to light how good these Masters really were, when you consider the economic and social strain in this section of the world, the limited means of communication and travel, and some of the living conditions in Okinawa at the time; through it all most of them persevered.
Again, we thank you for your relentless pursuit of this book. I am sure you had many endless nights researching, traveling, interviewing, sorting through notes and emails then putting all your work on paper for the entire world to see. In my mind you did GREAT!!
I find the Heritage of Shudokan a key addition to my collection, great content about Toyama Sensei and many of his disciples. On top of that is very good looking, a great job for sure. As I come from the lineage of Hiramatsu Sensei I found surprising to read that many information about him, I was happy about that. Very little information can be found about Toyama Sensei’s work and their successors, I consider that Christian Bellina did an excellent work interviewing many of them for his book, which shows how Toyama Sensei teachings evolved over years. Is quite surprising how almost every student claim to have learned different things, the book gives a great overview about the school and the people! On top of that it was also very interesting to get to know about Hatoyama Sensei and his time as chairman of the school, which was totally new for me. I need to mention how much I appreciate that after having published the book Christian Bellina has keep updating with new information on his blog, thanks for such an amazing work!
Congratulations on your book Toyama Kanken: The Heritage of Shudokan. I found the book to be very well researched, I especially like the way you could read about the different teachers and their training with Toyama Sensei. What a great asset for students to be able trace the history of their schools and see the long line of our karate. Toyama Sensei was truly the link between the old and the new.
Ich möchte Christian Bellina recht herzlich zu seinem Buch „Tôyama Kanken: Das Vermächtnis des Shûdôkan“ gratulieren. Er legt damit ein hervorragend recherchiertes Werk vor, das eine Fülle von Informationen über Kanken Tôyama (1888-1966) bereitstellt. Auf 236 Seiten geht es um das Leben und Wirken des Karate-Meisters, der 1930 in Tôkyô sein erstes Dôjô eröffnete, das Shûdôkan. Kanken Tôyama war ein Schüler von Ankô Itosu sowie Kanryō Higaonna und hat auch bei weiteren Größen des Karate gelernt. Zu seinen Lebzeiten unterrichtete er unzählige Schüler und veröffentlichte drei Bücher. Trotz dessen ist er in der breiten Karatewelt nicht so bekannt wie seine Wegbegleiter Gichin Funakoshi oder Kenwa Mabuni. Diesen Umstand wird Christian Bellina nun mit seiner Arbeit ändern. Ein großes Qualitätsmerkmal des Buches ist, dass es nicht nur das wiederholt was ohnehin schon bekannt ist, sondern neue Einblicke liefert. Das macht eine gute Arbeit aus! Vor allem die zahlreichen Interviews mit Tôyamas (zum Teil namhaften) Schülern, die seine Tradition fortführen, liefern wichtige Erkenntnisse zum Verständnis der Karate-Entwicklung in Japan und sorgen für einen großen Mehrwert. Wer mehr über Tôyama und seine Verdienste um das Karate erfahren will, ist hier genau richtig.
First of all Thanks to Sensei Bellina for his marvelous work of research and investigation.
This manuscript made possible something that was unthinkable before this book was published. The opportunity to know how unique was Toyama Kanken´s thoughts about karate, and what was essential for him to keep on to future generations, and even we can understand at some degree of his visionary idea on supporting foreigners that anyone else would reject, like Koreans and Mexicans, and how those people made karate grow more than anyone would imagine over the years.
The quality of the design and materials are extraordinary, it’s a book that you could easily put on a Kamiza. It’s beautiful, and I am only talking about the standard version of this book.
The text is easy to read, and to follow along, I really enjoyed the topics, interviews and researches made for the author. I’m not sure that this book is for everyone, but if your karate has something to do with Toyama Kanken in your lineage, believe me, is imperative that you get this book.
Finally, Toyama Kanken was and amazing practitioner and educator, and he was for sure a great element on the development of modern Karate Do, and I think that this book will help on give the respect and attention that he deserves.
I didn’t have the pleasure to personally know Sensei Bellina, but after reading d this book, it’s a fact that I will be waiting for his next publications.
Again, Thanks a lot for your passion and love to the art and heritage of Toyama Kanken.
Toyama Kanken - “The Heritage of Shudokan" is a must read and a BRILLIANT MASTER PIECE which should be in every karateka’s library...the superb organization, comprehensive narrative, wonderful photos & documented sources combine to present a detailed history of Toyama Sensei’s SHUDOKAN and its linage that is unmatched.
It clarifies the relationship of numerous Okinawan Karate Masters along with their students and the influence Toyama Sensei’s teachings has had in the evolution of Karatedo worldwide...I especially enjoyed the biographical information, interviews and anecdotal comments of current and past Karate Masters...these insights reinforce Toyama Sensei’s view that all Karatedo is the same...serious karateka will treasure this outstanding book.