Choki Motobu was born in Akahira village from Shuri region, Okinawa. He was son of Motobu Udun, which was a nobleman. Motobu had learnt some of techniques from his family, but, as his elder brother, Choyu, was the one who had the right to continue the martial tradition of the family, he had to look somewhere else the opportunity to study.
Choki started to train a lot to makiwara and used to lift heavy rocks in order to gain strength.
He proposed himself to become more powerful and good, and he dedicated himself to a series of hard trainings. Soon he became famous with the "Motobu zaru" nickname (Motobu, the monkey), thanks to his agility and speed. He became Anko Itosu's student.
Young Choky was spending his time challenging powerful man to fight. He learnt many things from these street fights, fights which most of the times he had gained.
Itosu wasn't agree with Motobu's street fights, so he expulsed Motobu from his dojo. The aggressive behavior of Motobu, brought him a negative reputation and soon, a series of Sensei would refuse him. But there was someone who liked Motobu's competitive spirit, and he received him as a student. This person was Kosaku Matsumora from Tomari. Here Motobu had learnt a Kata series, but he still kept his old occupation "street fighter".
Matsumora had refused to teach him kumite, but it is said that the student was watching some of his master's trainings through a hole in the fence.
The qualities which he acquired thanks to the many fights helped him, and he began to create his own kumite style. He managed to draw people attention, from Okinawa and Japan. One day, when he was in Kyoto, he was convinced by a friend, to participate in a tournament. There was a foreign boxer who was challenging people to fight. The boxer's behavior was haughty, but during 2 rounds Motobu shirked. Finally, Motobu got angry and punched the boxer right in the head and knock him out. The crowd astonished as they had never saw such a style. Although the technique which he applied to the boxer was a basic one, Motobu gained a special reputation, and he became a master overnight.
Soon he became an extremely respected person and he was invited to teach students from different universities. Many other Sensei sent their students to Motobu in order to learn something from his extraordinary fight style. It is said that Motobu was teaching his students Naihanchi Kata, and a series of throwing and plugs. It is said, that Choki Motobu full of confidence, had challenge his elder brother, Choyu, to fight. It is also said that Choyu threw Motobu, in such a manner in which he seemed to be a doll, and all of a sudden he became more humble and adopted in the same time many forms of Ti, which were specifics to his family.
In 1922, Motobu Master was helping Master Funakoshi in his activity of teaching young Japanese karate. Motobu had returned in Owinawa, and in 1936 he began to train with Master Kentu Yabu.
Later, Motobu realized the importance of tradition in trainings. He had always sustained the makiwara training and became very passionate of kata, as he was of kumite when he was young. He left Tokio for a short period of time, and returned to Okinawa in order to visit his Masters and to be sure that at his turn was teaching his students kata correctly.
Then he returned back to Tokio, and continued his activity with his students. Short time before The Second World War, Master Motobu returned to Okinawa. He died in 1944 from a stomach disease.