What makes a Master?
The term karate master in Shotokan karate refers to individuals who have trained seriously in karate for a very long period of time usually spanning decades. It is not an official title but more of recognition by the organization for their high level of skill, knowledge and dedication to the art. They are the most senior and experienced sensei who they themselves studied under the masters who came before them. These modern day karate masters possess the wisdom, technical skills, in depth understanding of the art and compassion to pass their knowledge on to the new generation of karateka.
Born in Okinawa in 1868 is considered the father of modern karate. He studied karate from childhood before introducing it to Japan in 1922. In 1936, the Shotokan School was established. In 1955, the Japan Karate Association was established with Funikoshi as its Chief Instructor.
Born in Japan 1913 became the successor of Funikoshi and the 2nd Chief Instructor of the JKA. Master Nakayama is recognized for introducing karate to the world and popularizing karate competition. Master Nakayama is the author of over 20 books on Shotokan Karate.
Master Teruyuki Okazaki, 10th degree black belt was the founder and Chief Instructor of the International Shotokan Karate Federation. He was a former student of master Funikoshi and Nakayama. In 1961, the JKA sent Master Okazaki to the U.S. where he has founded one of the largest Shotokan organizations outside of Japan. The ISKF has approximately 50,000 members that train in over 30 countries (ISKF).
Master Yaguchi is a 9th degree black belt and Vice Chief Instructor of the ISKF. He has trained in Japan as a student of Nakayama and Okazaki before moving to the U.S. in 1965. Now retired as the Director of the Mountain States Region, Sensei Yaguchi continues to travel internationally conducting training seminars and black belt exams.
Master H. Okazaki is the current Chairman and Chief Instructor of the ISKF. He is a 9th degree black belt who has be training and instructing since 1978. Sensei Okazaki visits British Columbia annually to conduct training clinics and black belt exams.