“Believed to be in need of constant attention due to his health, young Gichen was given to his maternal grandparents in whose care he soon flourished. This action set about a chain of events which forever altered his life and literally thousands whom he in turn affected both directly and indirectly. While living with his grandparents, Gichen began attending primary school and in doing so befriended the son of the legendary Anko Azato. Azato was a very selective Karate teacher, and Funakoshi recalls in his autobiographical work “Karatedo My Way Of Life,” that at first he was Azato’s only student.
It is probably due to the close friendship between Azato and Anko Shishu (read in Japanese as Yasutsune Itosu, but commonly called Anko Itosu) that Funakoshi met and was accepted as a student by Itosu. Itosu was a legend in his own right, and is considered by many to be the “Father of Modern Karate-do,” for it was he who first systematized and organized Karate with the purpose and intent of mass instruction.”
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