Wado” means “the way of peace and harmony”; “ryu” means “school”. Wado-Ryu was founded in 1938 by Hironori Ohtsuka, our first Grandmaster. Ohtsuka Saiko‑Shihan was already a master of Shindo Yoshin‑Ryu Jiu‑Jitsu when he began to study Karate with Funakoshi Sensei. Wado-Ryu, the first actual Japanese form of Karate, is thus a development of Okinawan Karate in combination with Japanese Jiu-Jitsu.
It is important to us to understand the difference between modern martial art-based fighting sports such as MMA and kickboxing and a traditional martial art such as Wado-Ryu Karate-Do. The modern sports are exactly that - sports based on older fighting arts. By training in fighting sports you will learn technique and gain strength and stamina; by training in traditional martial arts you will also learn technique and gain strength and stamina. However in traditional martial arts you should learn more about self-defence and obtain more long-term health and fitness benefits. Please remember that our own traditional martial art, Wado-Ryu Karate-Do, is based heavily on how the Samurai (the Japanese feudal knights) would fight if unarmed or if disarmed - against assailants armed with weapons such as swords, knives and sticks.
In traditional martial arts we train 'semi-contact' - there is less chance of bumps and bruises than in full contact training. And we train to be assertive, not to be aggressive. That is part of the heritage of the traditional martial arts.