About Us

Chito-ryu karate - It's about being your best self ... 

Chito-ryu is the style of karate practiced here. It is a traditional Japanese style karate with Okinawan origins. The origins of karate and chito-ryu are deep in history.  

Karate can be practiced as an art (budō), self defense or as a combat sport. We practice traditional karate with emphasis on self-development (budō). Our training includes kihon (basics or fundamentals), kata (forms), and kumite (sparring). We practice modern Japanese style training emphasizing the psychological elements incorporated into a proper attitude and character such as perseverance, fearlessness, virtue, and leadership skills. Chito-ryu is rich in traditions that we still practice today. We welcome you to join in training and are pleased to have sempai and an extended karate family who visit and will join training here from time to time as well. 

There's a strong history of practitioners from which to learn ... 

Here's our "short" version of karate history to provide some context of our lineage.

Karate originated in Okinawa by way of India and China. 

It is generally believed that Karate has its roots in Chi Uan Fa more commonly known as Kung Fu (skills practiced and learned). In 525 A.D. the Buddhist monk Bodhidharma traveled from India to China. He is considered to be the spiritual father of Zen Buddhism and the founder of this weaponless fighting system. It is told that he came to the shaolin temple and found the monks to be in a pitiful physical condition. He therefore taught them a system of physical and mental discipline so that they would have a means of keeping in shape. In time this fighting style became known as Shaolin-Szu (first way) and spread to other parts of China where it underwent extensive changes developing into the different Kung-Fu styles we know today (Shaolin Kung-Fu is probably the most famous of these styles).

Wushu (martial arts) flourished during the Chinese Tang Dynasty (618 - 907AD). During the Chinese Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) many families moved to Okinawa and shared their knowledge of Chinese martial arts. Political activities and an eventual ban of weapons were key factors leading to the evolution of karate (empty hand fighting). The many lessons and needs would eventually evolve into the various types of tode (karate) that we recognize today. Key figures emerged that influenced history and what we practice today.  (See lineage flowchart below.)

​Karate began as a common fighting system known as te. There were few formal styles of te, but rather many practitioners with their own methods. Matsumura Sōkon would become one of the most prominent. He would go on to teach Itosu Ankō, who would teach Gichin Funakoshi (Shoto, known as the father of modern day karate and the founder of Shotokan) and a host of other well known Masters. Funakoshi is largely responsible for introducing and popularizing karate on the main islands of Japan. His work ultimately led to get karate accepted by the Japanese budō organization, Dai Nippon Butoku Kai (DNBK).  Matusumura Sokon also happens to be the maternal grandfather of OSensei (founder of Chito-ryu) and one of O Sensei's teachers. 

Chito-ryu was founded by Chitose, Dr. Tsuyoshi (O Sensei) (10th Dan) (10/18/1898-6/5/84) born in Naha, Okinawa; birth name Chinen (Gochoku) Masuo. He changed his name in 1922 attending medical school in Tokyo, Japan. He started training in 1905 at the age of seven; and he opened his first dojo in March of 1946.

After World War II, many members of the US military learned karate in Okinawa or Japan and then opened schools in the USA. William E. Dometrich (9th Dan, Hanshi, DNBK certified) (3/15/1935 - 3/22/2012) was one of them and he became known as one of the most prominent and well respected instructors worldwide. Having been taught by O Sensei and at O Sensei's request in 1967, he founded (along with his wife Barbara Ellen Webster Dometrich, Meiyo Hanshi, a.k.a. Okusan)  the United States Chito-ryu Karate-do Federation (a.k.a. United States Chito-Kai; USCK). 

In 1962 Lawrence C. Hawkins, Jr. began his training of Chito-ryu under Dometrich Sensei at the Yoseikan Hombu in Covington, KY. At a time of racial and social unrest, Dometrich Sensei wholly accepted Hawkins, an African-American, as his student just as O Sensei had accepted a Caucasian-American soldier to train in his dojo during post-WWII era Japan. Lawrence C. Hawkins, Jr., Esq, Kyoshi (8th Dan, DNBK certified) is the Chairman Emeritus of the USCK and Chief Instructor at Yoseikan Cincinnati.


Evelyn Disher, a student of Lawrence C. Hawkins, Jr., Esq, Kyoshi and member of the United States Chito-Ryu Karate-do Federation (USCK) and DNBK, started Yoseikan Palmetto State and began offering instruction in the Orangeburg, South Carolina region on January 9, 2017 (originally as an extension of the Yoseikan Cincinnati Dojo). Sensei Disher is the Head Instructor. Sensei Warren Hill also provides instruction. Sensei Disher, Ni Dan, first began training in 1989. She has been fortunate to also train with and learn from her teacher's teacher, William E. Dometrich, Hanshi, and other well respected instructors.  In March 2017, Yoseikan Palmetto State received recognition as a Chartered School of the United States Chito-ryu Karate Federation.  


Dr. Tsuyoshi Chitose

(O Sensei)

William E. Dometrich


Sensei Evelyn Disher

Promote mental, physical and character development to be our best self through preservation of chito-ryu karate-do as created by the founder and interpreted by the founders of the United States Chito-ryu Karate-do Federation. 

Lawrence C. Hawkins, Jr..