Hirokazu Kanazawa Profile
He needs no introduction...Hirokazu Kanazawa is arguably the most influential Shotokan Karateka alive today, and is a true inspiration to all Martial Artists. He is one of few still alive who has trained with Master Funakoshi, and despite being in his mid-seventies, his vigour and passion for karate burns as strong now as ever.
Kanazawa, born in 1931 in Japan, like many in karate started his training in the Martial Arts through judo during his younger years, but while at University he took up karate under M. Nakayama, former Chief Instructor of the JKA, while also training occasionally under G. Funakoshi; both who left a long lasting impression on him and of course the students Kanazawa himself now teaches.
After just one year and a half of training he achieved his shodan, followed three years later with his nidan, and sandan in 1956. Kanazawa in Japanese karate gained his famous reputation in 1957 when he entered the notorious All Japan Karate championship tournament, winning his final bout with a broken wrist, doing against medical advice reportedly because his mother was in the crowd and he did not want to dissapoint.
Having successfully entered and comepleted the vigorous JKA instructor’s programme, he was sent to the Hawaii, where he became the Chief Instructor of the country, a place he grew to love for its wonderful beauty, food and friendliness. Five years later however in 1966, he was sent to Great Britain, where he had to start again in his quest to popularise karate in a new country. It was during his stay in Great Britain in 1966 he was awarded his 6th Dan, and he quickly made himself a fan base that have continued to follow his teachings including the likes of John Van Weenen..
Those who encounter Kanazawa sensei comment on his somewhat charismatic personality, that impresses all who meet him, and his humorous presence make people comfortable, leaving many shocked that a man with his reputation can be so fun and open. This was probably why in 1967, he was placed as Chief instructor of JKA Europe, a position he held for quite some time.
However, in 1977, Kanazawa 7th Dan turned a new chapter in the Kanazawa book, and was forced into a position that meant he had to leave the JKA. When so many people thought his career was over, he established the SKIF, an Organisation that has grown to house over two million members. That undoubtedly zipped closed the mouths of any of his critics.
Kanazawa Sensei’s organisation’s success is a total credit to Kanazawa, who is loved, respected and admired the world over. Kanazawa is respected by those from all walks in the Martial Arts. Why? Because he believes in what he does, and he arguably does it better than anyone else.
Apart from his successful Organisation, he also has written many vital textbooks that sit on most shotokan karateka’s bookshelves. His deep knowledge, and hunger to learn more means his books are brilliantly useful. Most of his books are bestsellers, and he is in constant demand to teach throughout the world.
Anyone who trains with Kanazawa is impressed. At his very mature age, he still puts the young (uns) to shame, and because of this, his karate will live on forever. He, like Funakoshi, and Nakayama is not just a karateKa, but also a pioneer, who has without doubt changed the world of karate for ever.