SOKE HIROKAZU KANAZAWA
Grandmaster Hirokazu Kanazawa, Shotokan Karate International Federation (SKIF) founder, was born on May 3, 1931 in Japan. He was one of the most gifted students of Master Gichin Funakoshi, (Shotokan Karate style founder) and one of the few who are still alive transmitting with great fervor his legacy. He was the first time Kumite (sparring) Champion of the prestigious JKA (Japan Karate Association) tournament in 1957, retaining his title consecutively for three more years.
Grand Master Kanazawa started in Judo training during his middle school age reaching a 2nd Dan level in this discipline. On a visit to Takushoku University he had the opportunity to see Okinawa karate (this is the style that his brother was practicing) which made him so impressed with its technique that he decided to immediately learn the beautiful martial art. He enrolled in this University to begin his training with another legendary master of Shotokan, Grandmaster Masatoshi Nakayama, who was one of Master Funakoshi's closest students and who almost immediately stared training made the young Kanazawa as an elite student.
By 1956, Master Kanazawa graduated from Takushoku University, having passed all tests becoming an instructor and receiving his 3rd DAN. The following year (1957) Soke Kanazawa achieved his first Championship title in Kumite (sparring) in the first JKA Karate tournament held in Tokyo were he demonstrated his preparation, unbreakable spirit and mental strength by fighting with a fractured right hand and having to use only the left one to execute all attacks and defenses. Master Kanazawa won a Championship title in Kumite (sparring) in 1958 and 1959, and also won the Championship title in Kata (forms) in 1958. In an interview many years later, the Great Kanazawa said:
In 1961 he was sent to Hawaii by the JKA to open a Dojo and to promote Karate. In 1963 he went to Europe with the same purpose and in 1977 he returned to Japan to found his own organization: SKIF (Shotokan Karate International Federation) which currently is known as one of the most important and prestigious Karate organization in the world with more than 5 million active members in 135 countries on 5 continents.