Tetsuhiko Asai Profile
Of all of the JKA Instructors, there are few like Tetsuhiko Asai. When you watch him fight, there’s something quite mesmerising. He is incredibly nimble on his feet, and employs fantastic abilities to evade via ducking, jumping and spinning. Those who have trained with him comment on his deep, but very thoughtful personality and witness a mountain of knowledge behind his eyes.
Born in born in 1935 in Ehime, Shikoku prefecture, Japan, Asai Sensei, the son of a policeman was always very interested in the Martial Arts, practicing sumo, but also becoming quite adept in kendo and judo.
Despite beginning and training in karate, he once saw a man in a dogi and being very impressed by this man’s strength decided to also try to join the infamous Takushoku University, and although hating revision, Asai worked hard to pass the entrance exam so he could enter the University.
In 1958, Asai graduated from the University, and upon the suggestion of M. Nakayama, former Chief Instructor of the JKA, he decided to enrol in the Instructors Programme and three years later he graduated.
Asai Sensei also employed his impressive fighting skills in competition, holding several impressive titles to his name. He even became Grand Champion at the All Japan Championships in kata and kumite, impressively beating the likes of Shirai Sensei and Mikami Sensei.
Asai has taught throughout the world, but he did spend a considerable amount of time teaching in Hawaii, and was made technical director of the JKA, and eventually being made Chief Instructor of the JKA.
In 2000 however, Asai, followed his own path, creating the non-profit Japan Karate Shotokai, which has impressively spread throughout the world.
All who train with Asai are mesmerised. He is one of the most dynamic fighters to have existed, and his movements are beautiful and full of energy. Of Asai, M. Nakayama once wrote ‘Tetsuhiko Asai’s ever-changing movements, sometimes resembling a dance performed in the air, leave spectators gaping with admiration. His inimitable talent has its source in training since youth, fostering powerful hips, a flexible body, deep technical skill, excellent reflexes and nerveless courage.’
Sadly, Asai passed away on August 15th 2006, after battling cancer. He was 71 years old. His legacy will live on.