About us

Itosu-ryu has been in existence in Australia for over 3 decades. This is because our teachers are highly qualified and experienced, and classes are run safely and enjoyably. 

Our Style

Our style specialises in kata, which is said to be the heart of true karate-do. Kata is a series of movements that are rooted in combative techniques but stylised for physical conditioning and made into patterns to make it easier to remember. Kata is also a form of meditation practice, helping our students develop the content of their character at the same time.

We regularly practice “bun-kai” which is application of these techniques in a controlled environment so as to be able to understand the true meaning of what we are doing.

Of course, we also practice “kumite” (sparring) and are involved in sports karate, many of our previous athletes have gone on to become Oceania and national champions in both kata and kumite, and have also received sports scholarships to university as a result.

History of Itosu-Ryu Karate-Do

Itosu-ryu Karatedo dates back to the Edo era of Japan . It was founded by Sensei Anko Itosu (1830-1915).

Sensei Itosu reorganised the self-defence technique “Karate-Jitsu” and improved it to be suitable for physical education curriculum, which put an emphasis on character building and physical exercise. Sensei Itosu also created many Kata and made the Pinan Kata, which are the most widely practiced Kata, adopted and taught in various modified forms throughout the world today. 

His senior student, Sensei Kenwa Mabuni (1889-1952) learnt the Kata of Sensei Itosu most correctly among all the students and succeeded him as the Itosu-ha 2nd Soke (keeper of the style). Sensei Mabuni also studied under Sensei Kanryo Higaonna of Naha-te. He is the founder of Shito-ryu, naming it after both the masters. The technical system of Shito-ryu is based on both Itosu and Higaonna teachings and also draws from other teachers that Mabuni Sensei had the honour of studying under. ​ ​
O’Sensei Ryusho Sakagami (1915-1993), having studied Shito-ryu under Sensei Mabuni for many years was designated the 3rd Soke of the Itosu-ha on 2 January 1952. To recognise the contribution of Sensei Mabuni he originally named his style as “Shito-ryu Itosu-kai”, However, in April 1969, he changed the official name to “Itosu-ryu” and named the organisation “Japan Karatedo Itosukai” to distinguish Itosu-ryu from Shito-ryu. ​
Sensei Sadaaki Sakagami (1942), the first son of O’Sensei Sakagami, succeeded him to the position as the 4th Itosu-ryu Soke in 1993 and has cherished the traditional Kata that have been kept over three generations. He was awarded the 9th Dan of October 10th, 2010 by the Japan Karate-do Rengokai. He is the Chairperson of Japan Karate-do Federation (JKF) Central Technical Committee. JKF also bestowed upon him the title of Karatedo Hanshi on December 10th in 2005. He was appointed the Nihon Karatedo Rengokai President (Japan Karatedo Rengokai) on February 23rd 2013. He holds titles of Kendo Kyushu 7th Dan, Iaido 5th Dan, Jodo Kyushu 6th Dan and Ryukyu Kobudo “Kongoryu” Head Instructor.​​

History of Itosu-Ryu Karate-Do Australia

enshi Sensei Colin Leong was involved in Itosu-ryu Karate-do for over 45 years. Originally taught Itosu-ryu Karate-do by Ryusho Sakagami, he was one of the first to bring karate-do to Australia. During this time he saw many changes, and teaching karate was always his true passion. As Vice-Chairman of the Board for the Itosu-ryu Karate-do International Federation (I.K.I.F) he helped promote and grow the I.K.I.F to be better able to help people around the world. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Australian Karate Federation and the NSW Karate Federation.

As a former World Karate Federation Referee and Judge he has participated in numerous World Karate Tournaments and has promoted Itosu-ryu Karate-do through this. He was also formerly the NSW and Australian Team Kata Coach. Many successful athletes under his teaching have become National and Oceania champions and obtained sports scholarships to Australian “Group of 8” Universities. Sadly, he passed away while travelling to Hong Kong and China to inspect the 2017 Itosu-kai World Tournament venue in May 2015. His son and long-serving students continue his teaching and further promoting Itosu-ryu karate-do.

Meet Trainers


4th Dan

Howard Leong, the son and successor of the late Colin Leong, is Itosu-kai Australia's Head of Style and teaches at the Chatswood dojo in Sydney, NSW, Australia.


6th Dan

Sensei McDonald, together with Sensei Hoye, is one of Sensei Colin Leong's oldest students. He teaches at the Panania dojo in Sydney, NSW, Australia


6th Dan

Sensei Hoye, together with Sensei McDonald, is one of Sensei Colin Leong's oldest students. He teaches at the Mooloolah dojo on the Sunshine Coast, QLD, Australia


3rd Dan

Sensei Gregory trained directly with Sensei Colin Leong and now runs the Central Coast dojo on the Central Coast, NSW, Australia.

A black belt is a white belt that never gave up.

It is important to emphasise that karate-do is character building. Above all, karate begins and ends with respect, and we aim to instil this in our students. The development of your friendships, physical fitness and spiritual strength will be indispensable in your pursuit of mastery of Itosu-ryu karate. Almost without realising it, you will find yourself serving humanity humbly, fulfilling your presence in this world with courage and compassion. We certainly look forward to knowing you.