Work together to accomplish the true way of the fist (Translation of the calligraphy)
Master Makoto Gima (1896-1989) Makoto Gima is one of the seminal figures in the modern history of karate. Master Gima, who began his karate studies in 1912, was an early student and then associate of Master Gichin Funakoshi, considered the father of modern karate. When Mr. Funakoshi gave his famous karate demonstration at the Kodokan – introducing the martial art to Japan for the first time – Mr. Gima was there, demonstrating kata and kumite.
Master Makoto Gima was born on September 28, 1896 in Okinawa. After graduating from Okinawa Shihan Gakko (Higher Normal Scool), Mr. Gima studied in Tokyo at Shoka Daigaku (presently Hitotsubashi University). In 1912, under the guidance of both Masters A. Itotsu and K. Yabe, Mr. Gima chose the way of karate.
Although he was weak since infancy, it was through his study of karate that he became healthy and strong. Eventually he became an Okinanwan born master of two ways – martial arts and scholastic studies.
In 1922, Master Gichin Funakoshi (later to be the founder of the Shotokan School of Karate) traveled from Okinawa to Tokyo and established a dojo at Meisei-Juku (a dormitory for Okinawan students). It was there where Mr. Gima followed Master Funakoshi’s instruction and also participated as assistant instructor at the first karate dojo on mainland Japan.
Near this time, Judo Grand-Master Jigoro Kano requested a karate demonstration at the Kodokan (Judo headquarters). As Master Funakoski’s assistant, Mr. Gima drilled in the kata Tekki Shodan, while Master Funakoshi drilled in Kanku-dai. Kihon kumite was also displayed.
Later, for the purpose of karate expansion in Japan, Mr. Gima participated as a partner with Master Funakoshi. In March 1923, Master Funakoshi promoted Makoto Gima to the rank of first degree black belt. In January 1956, Mr. Gima received his tenth degree black belt from Master Kanken Toyama of the Karatedo Shudokan. During Master Gima’s karate history, he had the opportunity to observe the formation of the Shoto-kai, as well as the Japan Karate Association.
After graduating from Hitotsubashi University in 1923, Mr. Gima entered the teaching profession and taught at Kumamoto Commercial School; at Maebashi Commercial High School; at Yamagata Commercial School; and served as principal at Kofu Commercial High School. Mr. Gima was also employed at the Kajima Corporation Company.
While making karate the mainstay of his life, Mr. Gima successfully held the posts of advisor to the Shudokan, president of the Okinawan Karate Association, president of the Shibuya-ku Karate Federation, president of the Shutoken Karatedo Association, advisor for the Japan Karate-do Federation, technical advisor for the All Japan Karatedo Rengo Kai, president of the Gima-Ha Shoto-Ryu Karate-do Association, and was the number one instructor (Saiko Shihan) of the Kajima Corporation Karate Club.