World Technical Director - Okinawa Shorin Ryu Karate-Do Kyudokan Federation
Master Oscar Higa, son of Jintatsu Higa, was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 28, 1945.
He is a Japanese Citizen, and at present is living in Palermo, Italy.
In Argentina, at that time there were not yet any gymnasiums, and he received private tuition
in one of the small groups that his father set up for the Japanese community, and in particular
one group where his father trained his godson Tsuneo Nakandakare.
In a family atmosphere where karate was the chief topic of conversation, at a time when few
knew much about it, young Oscar grew up alternating his karate practice with his engineering
studies and his other great passion, painting, which was of great help in developing further
his spiritual sensitivity. He would often say: "The art of painting and the art of karate-do
have the same Zen principle; in karate one says: I do not make a fist, I am the fist. In painting
one might say: I do not paint, I am the painting, I become the paintbrush, I transform myself
into what I am doing. When all is said and done both arts have in common the elimination of
the "self" and the breaking of dualist concepts."
At the beginning of 1967 he made the acquaintance of Master Michihisa Itaya, the representative
in Argentina of the Shotokan school, whose principal aim was to develop karate as a sport in
that country. Master Itaya often visited the Higa family and learnt about the features of the
ancient art of traditional Okinawan karate through the teaching of Jintatsu Higa. As this was
for him a completely novel experience, Oscar urged his father to ask Master Itaya if he could
take part in karate contests, in both kata and kumite. Master Itaya accepted the proposal on
the condition that Oscar learnt the Shotokan kata, which was a prerequisite at that time, for
being able to take part in the karate competitions. So Oscar began competing and achieved
countless successes in competition, becoming the first Argentinian karate champion, and being
placed first in many important events, such as;
Inter-regional Competition, Argentinian Championship, Rio Plata Championship, South American
Championship, both in kata and kumite.
He was also the first person in Argentina to obtain the Shotokan black belt. When he had finished
with competitive karate he continued by dedicating himself exclusively to training with his
father, and to spreading the name of Okinawan karate.
One day in 1969 his father addressed him as follows: "If you run after a rabbit, you can
catch it; however, it isn't easy. If you run after two rabbits at the same time you certainly
won't catch either of them." Oscar grasped his father's message and consequently decided to
give up all other activities and to devote himself entirely to practice, with intensive training
sessions of 6 or 7 hours a day, researching and seeking to spread the word about karate, and
managing to introduce the school into several regions of Argentina and South America.
While he was in Argentina he carried out several roles: secretary of the Argentinian Association
of Okinawa Shorinryu karate-do, member of the technical committee, technical adviser of
the regional affiliates, official referee in national and international competition, and director
and chief instructor of the "Higa School" institute; additionally, he was the first permanent
teacher of karate in the School of Sports Journalism of the Circle of Argentinian Sports Journal
ists, the most prestigious national institution in this sector.
In 1976, in Okinawa, he was awarded his 5th Dan, as recognized by the Okinawa Karate-do
Federation, at the same time gaining the highest score ever recorded in the history of the school
in the course of an examination for promotion to a higher grade.
The same year he made the acquaintance of the master of kobudo Eisuke Akamine, head of the
Hozon Shinkokai School of Okinawa, eventually becoming its representative in Argentina.
On the death of his father Jintatsu Higa, in 1983, he became head of the Kyudokan School in
Argentina; in 1985 he attained the Dan Renshi 6th grade and, in Okinawa, received the
title of representative of the Kyudokan School for the whole of South America. The same year,
he was received in the Presidential Palace in Ecuador, by the Vice-president of the Republic
Doctor Blasco Penaherrera. On this occasion Master Higa bestowed "honoris causa" the award
of the Okinawa Kyudokan School 10th Dan grade on the President of the Republic in office at
that time, Leon Febres Cordero (who was away on state business), and on the vice-president.
In March 1988 during one of his frequent trips to Okinawa, he obtained the Dan Kyoshi 7th Dan,
and he was awarded the title of representative for the whole of the American continent
and the title of the school's world technical director.
In August 1988 he left Argentina and settled in Los Angeles, USA, introducing the North
Americans to the Kyudokan school for the first time.
In 1989 he joined the Kobudo Ryu Kyu Kobudo Ryu Kon Kai school, run by Master Kotaro Iha.
Since 1990 Master Higa has been spreading the word about Kyudokan karate throughout Italy.
He moved to Milan, where his pupil, Antonio Policrisi, lived, a Renshi 6th Dan, and one of the best pupils of Master Higa.
From Milan he moved to Padoa (Veneto) and then on to Rieti (Lazio), before ending up finally in Sicily. After spending some
time in Partinico (Palermo) he settled in Palermo where he has been living since 1995.
In 1992 during a training visit to his uncle Yuchoku, he was nominated Kyudokan School Representative for the whole of Europe.
In September 1994 he obtained his Kyoshi Dan 8th grade, which he still possesses.
In 1997, in Okinawa, his post as the school's World Technical Director was ratified
and he was nominated Representative for the whole of Europe for the Kobudo Ryu Kyu
Kobudo Ryu Kon Kai Federation.
His activity in Italy and in the world over the last few years has been most prolific; he
has been a member of the traditional karate technical committee and chief referee of the
World Karate Organization; he is president and technical director of OIKKO, the Italian
Okinawan Kyudokan Karate-do Organization; he is vice-president of the World Okinawan
Shorinryu Kyudokan karate-do Federation; he has refereed in various national and
international competitions, three of which were at a world level, two South
American and two European. In Palermo he is the Technical Director and Chief
instructor of the Okinawan Sport and Culture Association.
He is constantly
travelling to various countries around the world to hold training sessions,
to referee, to stage exhibition bouts and to run courses, both in karate and kobudo.
In 1992 along with his pupil Fabian Perez, he took part in the famous
"Budo Easter" organized by Sport Promotion, the president of which is
Master Giacomo Spartaco Bartoletti. This is considered one of the most
prestigious Martial Arts exhibitions in the world and it subsequently
travelled around Italy, stopping off in 12 different cities.
In January 1999, the magazine Samurai, the most important Martial Arts magazine in Italy
and one of the most important in the world, honoured Master Higa as one of the great
personalities in the sphere of martial arts. In 2003 Oscar Higa Sensei was awareded
his 9th Dan Hanshi Title.
Master Higa likes to say: "Harmony is the symbol of karate: how can I be in harmony
with others if I am not in harmony with myself? Karate is the path towards harmony".
Whilst alluding to the relativity of everything he likes to repeat his motto:
"In the beginning everything is important. At the end nothing is important",
in other words one has to know how to give the correct importance to everything,
but at the very least, to know how to separate oneself from everything.
He is also
often heard to say: "In karate, just as in life, although it is important to set off
and arrive, it is the path to be run which is of principal importance."
In other words one must live every step, every instant, one must live the moment.
When he is asked why he practises karate, he will say; "I wouldn't say I practise
because I'm looking for a philosophy, a mystical experience, or because I want to be
stronger. I practise only because I like it, it does me good, it makes me happy;
karate is part of my life without looking for any intentionality in this, without
anybody or anything obliging me to do it. As an indirect consequence of my practice
I reach all the other objectives".
SRI LANKA BRANCH OF SHORIN-RYU KYUDOKAN WOULD LIKE TO EXPRESS OUR SINCERE GRATITUDE
OSCAR HIGA, FOR HIS HELP AND KINDNESS ON ESTABLISHING KYUDOKAN BRANCH IN SRI LANKA.
DOMO ARIGATO GOZAIMASHITA SENSEI !