The Hawaiian Islands have produced many fine martial artists. Many of the post war martial artists began their training with Master Mitose a Japanese minister. His students include Professor Chow (Kenpo), Ed Parker (American Kenpo Karate), Bobby Lowe (Kyokushin Karate), Manny Delacruz, Sonny Emperado, Marino Tiwanak (Kajukenbo) and Masaichi Oshiro.
Masaichi Oshiro, a first generation Hawaiian born of Okinawan heritage, began his karate with his father in Okinawa-te. In the 1950's he was recruited into the military and during his service he did a tour of duty in Okinawa and Japan. In Okinawa he trained at the dojo of Master Yagi Meitoku of the Okinawa Goju Ryu. After Completion of his tour in Okinawa Master Oshiro was recommended to Yamaguchi's Goju-Kai dojo in Tokyo. Master Oshiro trained intensively for a short period with Gogen Yamaguchi and his senior students.
On Master Oshiro's return to Hawaii, he officially founded the Hawaiian division of Goju-Kai. The reputation of the Hawaii division was achieved because of the high standards set by Master Oshiro. The standard of Hawaiian karate attracted visiting martial artist such as Master Mas Oyama, Master Nakayama and the Japan National team instructors - Kase, Kanazawa, Enoeda, Shirai, Mikami, Mori and Asai.
In 1966 Master Masaichi Oshiro on behalf of the Hawaiian division of the Goju-Kai invited Yamaguchi sensei and his son Goshi to Hawaii. This visit was Yamaguchi sensei’s first visit to the west and the occasion was marked by a massive demonstration tournament in Honolulu. On this occasion it was noted that Miyagi Chojun and Gogen Yamaguchi both came to the west via Hawaii.
During this visit a student of Oshiro sensei, Tino Ceberano was graded to 3rd Dan by Yamaguchi sensei. Master Ceberano was born on the island of Kauai. In his youth a returned Korean war veteran introduced him to Karate. After relocating to the island of Honolulu he trained in Kempo for a couple of years. A senior student assistant instructor of Master Oshiro, Master Antone Navas met and befriended Master Ceberano at a party. Master Ceberano was invited to train with Master Navas and his cousin Master Rodney Hu, who later became a senior instructor of Shihan Gosei Yamaguchi's Headquarters of the USA Goju-Kai. Master Ceberano later joined the US Marines and toured the Pacific, while on duty in the Pacific he visited Australia where he met and married his wife. Master Ceberano returned to Hawaii with his wife and continued his study of Goju.
In the late 1960's many prominent Hawaiian martial artists such as Richard Kim, Ed Parker, Al Gene Caraulia, Mr. Doversola, Ed Hamile and Mr Adlawan migrated to the USA and successfully spread karate. Master Ceberano and his family were given the opportunity to migrate to Australia and propagate Goju-Kai. In preparation for the trip Master Ceberano trained for a full year under the watchful eye of Master Oshiro. Each working day was followed by an intensive workout with Master Oshiro in his private dojo. Twice a week Master Ceberano taught in the evenings at the dojo of the Goju-Kai (Judd Street Branch). He also trained with the main dojo located in a Japanese temple (McCully Street).
The visit of Yamaguchi sensei and his son proved opportune, as Yamaguchi sensei approved of Master Ceberano's migration and insured the success of Master Ceberano's plan by having Goshi Yamaguchi conduct special coaching in advanced techniques. Gogen Yamaguchi, his son and all the members of the Hawaii division, attended the departure of the Ceberano family.
Under the guidance and leadership of Master Ceberano Goju-Kai became a premier organization in the Australian Karate scene. The profile of karate and Goju was enhanced by Master Ceberano's regular appearance on local television programs promoting women's self defense. His expertise was recognized by many organizations an example was the Victorian Education Department where he worked as a physical education instructor teaching in a local high school.
A New Era
After the death of the Grand Master Gogen Yamaguchi in 1989, a meeting of senior officials of the Goju-Kai was conducted. The meeting granted Tino Ceberano Shihan his independence as a propagator of the Goju School. This decision allowed Ceberano sensei the privilege of forming his own organization. The International Goju Karatedo (I.G.K) was formed and recognized by the Okinawan Goju Ryu Renmei. In 1990 Tino Ceberano Shihan was invited to join the IMAF (International Martial Arts Federation), whose senior patron is the Japanese Emperor, Akihito. This group consists of instructors of all the indigenous arts of Japan. In February 1992 long time friend and colleague, Master Tadashi Yamashita of Okinawan Shorin Ryu, a world renowned master of weapons and karate invited Tino Ceberano Shihan to formalise connections with the Masters of the All Okinawan Karate fraternity. Shihan's standing and technical excellence resulted in an invitation to be tested for his 7th degree (Nanadan-Kyoshi) grading. Tino Ceberano Shihan became the first westerner to be graded to this level under the auspices of the Okinawan Budo International (O.B.I).
Following is a translation of an extract from the Daily Newspaper in Okinawa, regarding Kyoshi Tino grading;
"Under the scrutiny of 20 Masters ranked form 7th Dan to 9th Dan of all styles, headed by Hanshi Iken Tokashiki, 9th Dan of the Gohaku Kai Okinawa Goju Ryu Renmei, an associate director of the Okinawa Budo International Ceberano Kyoshi underwent the exacting test required of this rank. The Organization of Consolidated Schools of all Ryukyu Karate further acknowledged the formation of the International Goju Karatedo - I.G.K as an independent school of Goju Ryu Karatedo under Ceberano Kyoshi, whereby any future assistance required or desired by the I.G.K of the Okinawan Goju Ryu Renmei, will be given all privilege."
From small beginnings the Melbourne school of Goju karate has grown and multiplied and is probably the most widely practiced of the styles in Australia. This is due in no small part to the skill and dedication of Tino Ceberano, Hanshi. Tino Ceberano Hanchi has travelled back and forth to Japan on many occasions for his own and for his students’ senior gradings, as well as taking teams across and hosting international teams here in Australia, all to maintain a standard at least equal to any karate anywhere in the world. He maintains this standard through his control of the quality of his instructors and by maintaining a vigil by visiting dojos Australia wide, but perhaps mostly by his own rigorous training routine which maintains his position of Chief Instructor, in charge of the I.G.K.
With his involvement on the international karate scene over many years as Chief Referee of World Union of Karate Organisations (WUKO), as well as holding the title of Vice President of the same organisation (the most prestigious in the karate world) the reputation of his students is recognized, not only Australia wide, but throughout the karate world. He was without question the best known karate-ka (one who studies karate) in Australia.
In 2003, Tino Hanchi was promoted to 8th dan and in 2006 was inducted into the Australasian Martial Arts Hall of Fame.
In 2008, Tino Ceberano Hanshi was awarded his highest honour with his elevation to 9th Dan.