Monday, December 9, 2019

Hirokazu Kanazawa has passed away – An Overview

Official statement by the SKIF Global Headquarter about the death of Soke Hirokazu Kanazawa.

Soke Hirokazu Kanazawa passed away on December 8, 2019. And the karate world mourns.
The facebook page of the SKIF-GB facebook page reported first. However, rumors spread that it the announcement might be a hoax. While the post disappeared a few hours later, we received information from a high ranking source within the inner circle of the SKIF. The source confirmed that the information about the passing of Soke Kanazawa is true.

Official Confirmation of the Passing of Soke Hirokazu Kanazawa

Around 1 pm central European time, the Board of the SKIF issued and published an official statement about the passing of Soke Kanazawa. The document states that he passed away peacefully.
It also states that he passed away at the “blessed ripe old” age of 88 years old. This refers to the Japanese of “beiju“. Because the Chinese character of 88 looks to similar to the character for rice. Rice, on the other hand, is considered to be a happy and sacred food in East Asia.

The Karate World Mourns

A wave of condolences have been expressed by the karate world for the passing of Soke Kanazawa today. Several thousand karate commented on facebook and other social media about how deeply shocked and shattered they were. Many more sent blessings and best wishes to the family of Hirokazu Kanazawa.
The sympathies go thereby far beyond the community of Shotokan karateka. Also practitioners from other styles of karate expressed their mourning and grief. For instance, the Kyokushinkai channel The Martial Way published a R.I.P. post about the passing of Soke Kanazawa. Such acts display the tremendous respect Hirokazu Kanazawa enjoyed in the karate world.

The Shotokan Times also expressed its condolences by sending an email to Kancho Nobuaki Kanazawa, Shuseki Shihan Manabu Murakami, and the SKIF HQ. Chair of the advisory board of The Shotokan Times, Thomas Prediger, commented: “He was a living legend. Soke Kanazawa will be dearly missed. His guidance and character are invaluable. However, his legacy will continue in Shotokan. Because a worldwide community of students will now carry his torch.”
Managing director and chief editor of The Shotokan Times, Dr. Christian Tribowski, stated: “I had the chance to meet Soke Kanazawa last year during the 40th anniversary festivities of SKIF in Tokyo. His health had deteriorated already. But I did not imagine to see him the last time. His death has left a huge void in the karate world. He was Mr. Shotokan, a splendid and charismatic personalty. Generations after generations have learnt from him the true meaning of karate do.

Deteriorated Health of Soke Hirokazu Kanazawa

In January 2009, Kanazawa suffered a skiing accident. Trough a badly fall he crushed three vertebra. Although he was already in his 70´s he recovered and taught Shotokan until 2012. Then he retired and spend most of his time in Japan.
Beside the skiing accident rumors spread that Soke Kanazawa also suffered two stroke in the last decade. Last year on the 40th anniversary of SKIF in Tokyo, he had difficulties to walk and could barely speak. Yet, he was the charismatic karate master who had an room filling presents.

The Legend Hirokazu Kanazawa

Soke Kanazawa was an outstanding Karate master. In a recent portrait about him in The Shotokan Times, Patrick Donkor and Dr. Christian Tribowski concluded:
“Hirokazu Kanazawa is considered one of the most skillful karate masters of all time. A great technician and an excellent instructor, he has built up a loyal and dedicated following of students. A gentle and sincere man, he has been able to convey the concepts of karate to many generations of students. As prolific author, he has also had many instructional books and videos produced. It could be argued that many people would not have started karate if they had not seen demonstrations from this very talented master. In any case, he is a true legend of Shotokan karate.”
Patrick Donkor and Dr. Christian Tribowski
Like no other, Hirokazu Kanazawa coined Shotokan karate in the 20´s century. He studied directly under Gichin Funakoshi and Masatoshi Nakayama. His technical elegance as well as his philosophy became the greatest technician of the 20´s century. After leaving the JKA he founded the Shotokan Karate International Federation in the late 1970´s, which chief instructor and later soke he became.

Hirokazu Kanazawa About Life and Death

Soke Kanazawa´s karate do comprise many notion of Zen Buddhism. In an interview he stated about life and death:
” My philosophy is that I try always to be true to myself and to others … I can say that I fear nothing – not even death, and this I do not say in a big-headed or conceited way. My meaning is that I always try my best in everything I do, so I will be satisfied when I do die – I think the reason that people fear death is because they want to do and accomplish so many other things that are still undone . . . they always want to do more. Also, I truly believe that life continues after physical death – all life continues … life is a circle “.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Great film though done by a Shotokan practitioner the film is a nicely done piece to convince the viewer of the importance of making the decision to take of the practice of karate by virtue of the benefits derived.  Enjoy!

Perspectives on Shotokan Karate-do

Returning to light!

Hello Everyone!
      I apologize for the absence but I will be
Continuing this blog for KOJF International
Going forward.  With so many things on my plate I had lost touch with this medium.  I am reinstituting the blog going forward.
Coming: 2018 KOJF Rensei Taikai
Cincinnati Ohio,  KOJF Honbu is sponsoring.
October 5th and 6th. 
Contact honbu for more info:

Humbly here to serve,

Dwight Holley, Chairman KOJF

Monday, January 4, 2016

Black Belt by Convenience

**** This was a letter I sent to my seniors(Yudansha) in my immediate organization under my Shotokan leadership. I wanted to share as maybe some one some where might also benefit from my "rant" if it were: (I edited it a little regarding a special event coming in April).
Hello Everyone, Sempai, Shihan, Renshi, Kyoshi,
Just a quick note. Some of you today were privy to special information sent to me. It was not that everyone needed to see or hear or know. However I want to let this be a notice to some if not all, especially those few who learned of a special event happening in Japan during the WBS as to why sometimes I seem anal.
That being said, I want to simply reiterate the importance of the things I say and tell you and share with you regarding protocol, character, actions, mode of dress and other things I seemingly dictate. In many cases they are things that are proper in a Budo setting and expected of a high level martial artist. That being all of you who wear a black belt.
Yes I should not need to remind people that they are being watched for one. Also that there are things that are to me, common sense. When in doubt ask. If I am not visible or present call me or reach out to a title holder or senior.
Title holders and seniors, you are to act and reflect as though I were standing right there with you. Better yet, as if Hanshi William Dometrich was standing there. Ask yourself at anytime what would Hanshi do? Hold yourself to a higher standard and act as though you are a holder of the coveted black belt. As I told my direct students in honbu this week in class and last week..... "You are whatever belt you wear 24/7! It is not only in the dojo you wear a black belt and your actions are important but when you are in public, at home, in the store, with friends, at a party, while moving through your day......... you must reflect what you have trained to become. You are a black belt until you die unless you do something to have that rank and title removed."
You need to think about what I just said. It cannot be simply "I am a black belt when it is convenient to be a black belt." It is 24 hours a day and 7 days a week! Always try to act with honor, a sense of duty and obligation to serve, do what you expect others to do. I once heard a black belt asked "why do we have to bow all the time?" and "Why do I have to dress up for this?" Really???? Not to beat a dead horse to the ground, but are we truly acting with honor on a daily basis? Don't you want to be remembered and have people speak of you with great respect and pride knowing you? So, this event I was made aware of in Japan in April made me reflect how important my message to you all is. I am hopeful you all understand and get it. If you have a question or don't get it then let me know or a senior and we will explain it's relevance and importance to you in your karate tenure. Sometimes it is best to just follow instructions of those who have already done what you are trying to do. Trust me, there is a reason to be sure.
One of my favorite karate kata of the many I have been blessed to learn is Shotokan Bassai Dai.
Enjoy this demonstration of the JKA Bassai Dai!

Bassai Dai JKA Shotokan Karate

One of my favorite videos!


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

渋谷で空手!Shibuya Karate Dojo!