Born 1931 in Japan (10th Dan)
One of the world’s most renowned and respected traditional karate masters alive, Kanazawa Shihan is the only karateka ever to have won the notorious ‘All Japan Karate Championships’ an incredible three times in a row. On one occasion he won the finals while nursing a broken wrist from an earlier event. In recent years, his eldest son, Nobuaki, has preserved the family reputation by winning the current All Japan Championships.
Although Kanazawa is now a dedicated Karateist he started out originally as a Judoist. While in high school he held the 2nd Degree rank. After graduation he enrolled at Nippon University. One day, however, he happened to see students from another university practicing Karate. Impressed by their skills, he decided immediately to learn this art of self defense. The students he had seen were from Takushoku University which, at that time, was the most active in Karate participation, and his desire to learn Karate was so strong that he switched to Takushoku.
Kanazawa soon became the protege of the late headmaster of the Shotokan style, Matsatoshi Nakayama (10th Dan) and is one of the few remaining karateka privileged to have studied under Master Gichin Funakoshi.
It took Kanazawa one and one half years of disciplined training to attain the 1st Degree rank After three years he gained the 2nd Degree rank and passed the other members of the club who had started before him.
In 1956 he passed the exam for 3rd Degree rank and also passed the instructor’s exam. The first All-Japan Karate Tournament was held in Tokyo in 1957. Kanazawa’s right hand had been broken at this time, and he was not going to participate. His mother, however, had come in from the country to watch him, and not wanting to disappoint her, he decided to enter in at least one match. A doctor had to follow him around to check on the injured hand and make sure it had not been aggravated in any way after each match. Using his left hand to fake and block and saving his bandaged right hand for the precise moment, he won all matches on clear one-point blows.
Kanazawa has sustained many injuries. He has had two broken hands, broken fingers, an injured shoulder and spine, and has had to have stitches over his right eye and right ear. He is quick to point out that these injuries were his own fault.
In addition to Kanazawa Shihan’s mastery of karate-do and expertise with various traditional weaponry, he also has a very extensive knowledge of Chinese art of Tai-Chi, having studied it to its conclusion under professor Wong for more than thirty years.
Currently, Kanazawa Shihan is both Chairman and World Chief Instructor of the world’s largest Shotokan Karate organisation, the Shotokan Karate-do International Federation (SKIF), with in excess of two and a half million members worldwide, in one hundred and three countries (at the last count). In April 2000, while attending the 7th S.K.I.F. World Championships in Bali, Shihan Kanazawa was promoted to the grade of 10th Dan. He is currently the only living Shotokan Master to hold the grade of 10th Dan. Although having such a formidable pedigree and being accorded legendary status, Kanazawa Shihan is also extremely charismatic but easily approachable. Being a natural teacher and communicator, he chooses to spend individual time with as many of his students as possible. Demand for his services, worldwide, is on the increase and his schedule is extremely intense.