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Shihan Ted Ricketts & Chito-Ryu

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    Shihan Ted Ricketts & Chito-Ryu

    I recently started taking a Karate class at the local YMCA, with my son. The instructor is a 6th Dan in Chito-Ryu, and seems to be pretty legitimate. The other night, I finally met his father, Ted Ricketts, who is an 8th Dan. I've looked him up and he appears to be legitimate; he knows the names of people in the Chito-Ryu hierarchy, and he didn't come off as a snake-oil salesman. That said, something doesn't seem right. He was very nice, and had good technique, but he talked about Tsuroka and how Tsuroka sent him to train with some Chinese masters. Something in my head made me question him a little. Again, he didn't really say or do anything in particular that stood out. I hope he is legitimate and I will be happy training with him. I have been burned by an instructor who came off as the real deal, and want to make sure it doesn't happen again. Can anyone out there give me any background on Ted Ricketts' Chito-Ryu background? Also, one of the patches his students wear is a big patch that says "Universal Martial Arts Association" (It's huge and has a tiger, a dragon, and the Chito-Ryu emblem on it). I can't find much about that organization. Any info will be appreciated!

    The UMAA is easy enough to find on Google. At first glance, they appear to be little more than a "certifying" organization that charges money to let you put their name on your stuff. Nice gig if you can get it. On their own web site and others, the UMAA is associated with the name Zen Sekai Bujitsu Kyokai. Someone who really knows Japanese can get into this deeper, but the words "Zen" and "Bujitsu" are red flags for me. Zen is a word that a lot of wannabe samurai pseudo-spiritualists throw around, and bujitsu is not a name that is properly attached to many of the martial arts the UMAA is associated with.

    I have no experience with Chito-ryu, but there is plenty to be found on Google about it. There appears to be a strong international Chito-ryu community rooted in Japan, which makes me wonder why a Chito-ryu club would pay for UMAA membership.

    Google turns up a lot of results on Ted Ricketts. He is clearly well-connected and well-respected in a pretty broad martial arts community. Without knowing whether or not Chito-ryu is shit, I couldn't tell you if that is really a credit to him, though.


      Moved from MABS.


        I have a bit of experience with Chito-Ryu (I am a green belt under Scott Marks, a now unaffiliated instructor)

        The 8th dan claim seems a bit fishy, but I won't call it wrong. There are a few Chito-Ryu federations operating in the US. The two major ones are USCK and Koshin-ha. Both their lineages come from William Dometrich, who brought Chito-Ryu back from Japan with him. Neither Ricketts are listed as members of the Shihan-Kai on either affiliations websites.

        Doing some quick google fu, I found that both Ricketts are affiliated with Philip Porter's United States Martial Arts Associated ( It looks like this "certifying body" is where the Ricketts are getting their dan rank. The 8th dan Ricketts lists one of the instructors from the Canadian Chito-Ryu federation (Masami Tsuroka), but doesn't have any information on any other instructors. Certianly, he lists no United States lineage.

        I'm not going as far as to say the Ricketts are not legit, but they aren't affilated with any Chito-Ryu federations. I would be wary at accepting their dan grades at face value, but mainly because it certified through USMAA instead of any federation I know. I'd ask the Ricketts who certified their ranks.

        Chito-ryu is pretty much par for course with traditional japanese karate systems. Its like Shotokan, but less squared up. Supposedly many of the stances are adapted based on Chitose's knowledge of anatomy (medical doctor), and modified to reduce damage to the body. I've seen some Chito-ryu guys who are really good, but I've also seen many that are as mediocre as they come. As far as promotions go, I haven't seen anything fishy in regards to the two main federations. All the senior practitioners have extensive backgrounds, and seem to be pretty transparent in their lineage.
        Last edited by warlordgrego; 8/26/2013 7:44am, .


          Chito-ryu and Yoshukai(a child of Chito-ryu) are my primary systems. You mentioned Tsuroka. Tsuroka is a big deal in Chito-ryu in Canada and he has branched out into the United States. It is not uncommon at all for some instructors to send their higher ranking students to train with different instructors around the world. As far as the guys you mentioned, I have never heard of them, other than what google kicks out.

          I find it interesting that anyone associated with Tsuroka would join another association for any reason, other than they were "kicked out" of the Tsuroka group.

          Now, Chito-ryu has pretty close ties with its off-shoot style, Yoshukai. The Yoshukai founder, Yamamoto, was a very close friend of Mas Oyama and he helped Oyama develop the rules for Knockdown Karate. I am not sure if Tsuroka's lineage spar knockdown or not, but almost all of the Chito-ryu and Yoshukai schools that are around compete in knockdown competitions and spar knockdown and/or kickboxing in classes.

          I am not sure if this helps you guys or not, but I thought the information is relevant to the discussion.



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