HIROKAZU KANAZAWA SOKE
"You control your spirit with your breathing and we should always be thinking and trying to learn more about this most vital aspect...it is the core of life" - Hirokazu Kanazawa Soke
The late Hirokazu Kanazawa Soke (宗家, meaning headmaster or grandmaster), 10th dan, is one of the most renowned and respected traditional karate masters to have ever lived. Kanazawa Soke was born in Iwate Prefecture, Japan in 1931. He started Karate as a teenager after initially studying Judo. After enrolling in Takushoku University, Soke progressed through the ranks which included graduating from the notorious Japan Karate Association’s Instructor Program. Soke was a direct student of Matsatoshi Nakayama (10th Dan) and was also one of the last living karateka to have studied under Master Gichin Funakoshi, the Okinawan schoolteacher who brought karate to mainland Japan and founded the Shotokan style.
Kanazawa Soke was the first karateka to win the infamous All Japan Karate Championship. In 1957 he won the Kumite title after breaking a wrist in an earlier bout. In 1958 he won both the Kata and Kumite Titles.
Breaking away from the JKA (Japan Karate Association), Kanazawa Soke established his own organisation, Shotokan Karate-do International Federation (SKIF) in 1977. SKIF is now the world’s largest Shotokan Karate association, with over 2 million members in over 100 countries.
Soke’s lifelong dedication to teaching, promoting and developing the Shotokan style led to him becoming one of the most respected martial artists and karate-do instructors in history. Outside of his phenomenal ability in Karate, Soke was also a renowned practitioner of Tai Chi.
Hirokazu Kanazawa Soke has had a profound influence on the spread of Shotokan Karate worldwide and ultimately on the development and personal improvement of millions of karateka.