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Hirokazu Kanazawa, is one of the world’s most renowned and respected traditional karate masters who held 10th Dan

Hirokazu Kanazawa was born on May 3, 1931 in Iwate Prefecture, Japan. He began training in karate at Takushoku University under head instructor of Shotokan karate, Masatoshi Nakayama. Kanazawa also learned from the founder of the Shotokan style, Gichin Funakoshi and is one of the few living karateka (practitioners of karate) to have done so. It took Kancho Kanazawa one and a half years of disciplined training to attain the rank of 1st dan and after three years he gained the rank of 2nd dan.

In 1956, he graduated from university and joined the JKA (Japan Karate Association). He is the only karateka ever to have won the notorious "All Japan Karate Championships" an incredible three times in a row in 1956, 1957 and 1958.

In 1977, Kanazawa left the JKA and founded the Shotokan Karate-Do International Federation (SKIF). The International Martial Arts Federation promoted Kanazawa to 8th dan in 1978, 9th dan in 1988, and 10th Dan in 2001. SKIF is now the world’s largest Shotokan Karate Association under one chief instructor having over 2 million members in over 100 countries.

Summary of Hirokazu Kanazawa's achievements to date:

1931 Born in Iwate, Japan

1956 Graduated from Takushoku University and joined Japan Karate Association

1957 Kumite Champion at the 1st JKA All Japan Championships Tournament

1958 Kumite and Kata Champion at the 2nd JKA All Japan Championships

1961 Chief Instructor in Hawaii, USA Go-Dan (5thDan), JKA

1966 Chief Instructor of Karate Union of Great Britain,Roku-Dan (6thDan), JKA

1967 Chief Instructor of JKA Europe & German Karate Federating

1968 General Manager of the European team at the World Championships in Mexico

1971 Nana-Dan (7th Dan), JKA Director & General Manager of International Division of JKA International Section.

1972 General Manager of the Japanese Team at the 2nd WUKO Championships in Paris, France

1973 Nana-Dan (7th Dan), All Japan Karate Federation

1976 Referee 1st IAKF World Championships in Los Angeles Referee JKA Asia-Oceania Championship in Hong Kong

1977 Left JKA to Establish of Shotokan Karate-do International Federation (SKIF)

1978 Hachi-Dan (8thDan), International Martial Arts Federation

1980 Referee 5th WUKO World Championships in Madrid

1981 Referee 1st World games in Santa Clara, California USA

1983 Chairman, 1st SKIF World Championships in Tokyo, Japan

1985 Chairman, 2nd SKIF World Championships in Dusseldorf, West Germany

1988 Kyu-Dan (9thDan), International Martial Arts Federation Chairman, 3rd SKIF World Championships in Utsunomiya, Japan

1991 Chairman, 4th SKIF World Championships in Mexico-City, Mexico

1994 Chairman, 5th SKIF World Championships in Yokohama, Japan

1997 Chairman, 6th SKIF World Championships in Milan, Italy

2000 Chairman, 7th SKIF World Championships in Bali, Indonesia

2001 Jyu-Dan (10th Dan), International Martial Arts Federation

2003 Chairman, 8th SKIF World Championships in Durban, South Africa

2006 President, 9th SKIF World Championships in Tokyo, Japan

2010 Kancho, Supreme Instructor and President of Shotokan Karate-do International Federation

2019 Passed away on December 8, 2019 (aged 88)

Promoting Shotokan Across the World

In January 1961, the JKA sent Kanazawa to Hawaii to establish karate schools there. He was ranked 5th dan at the time. He established a dojo (training hall) and served as the inaugural President of the Hawaii Karate Congress. In May 1963, he left Hawaii to teach in Europe and Japan. In 1966, Kanazawa became Chief Instructor of the Karate Union of Great Britain, and the JKA promoted him to the rank of 6th dan that year. In 1973, the All Japan Karate Federation promoted him to 7th dan.

In 1977, Kanazawa left the JKA and founded the Shotokan Karate-Do International Federation (SKIF). Since then, he taught and promoted karate through the SKIF, including the organization of several karate world championship competitions. Despite leaving the JKA, he was reported to maintain some ties with former colleagues in that organization. In 1990, Kanazawa demonstrated his art at the 10th Traditional Karate Tournament International, held in Las Vegas. In 1994 and 1995, he demonstrated his art at the 14th and 15th Traditional Karate Tournaments International.

Kanazawa wrote several books on karate, which include: Kankudai (1969), Moving Zen: One man's journey to the heart of Karate (2001, co-authored), Karate: My life (2003), Karate fighting techniques: The complete kumite (2004, co-authored), and Black Belt Karate (2006). He was featured in Paul Walker's book, Lessons with the Master: 279 Karate lessons with Master Hirokazu Kanazawa.

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