KANAZAWA HIROKAZU

KANAZAWA WAS BORN ON MAY 3, 1931 IN IWATA PREFECTURE, JAPAN. HE TRAINED IN JUDO DURING HIS SCHOOL YEARS AND HELD THE RANK OF 2ND DAN IN THE MARTIAL ART. HE BEGAN TRAINING IN KARATE WHILST AT TAKUSHOKU UNIVERSITY UNDER HIS THEN-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.

KANAZAWA WAS PROMOTED TO THE RANK OF 1ST DAN IN SHOTOKAN KARATE WITH LESS THAN TWO YEARS OF TRAINING IN THE ART; PROMOTION TO 2ND DAN CAME THREE YEARS LATER. IN 1956, HE GRADUATED FROM UNIVERSITY AND JOINED THE JKA. THAT SAME YEAR, HE WAS PROMOTED TO THE 3RD DAN. KANAZAWA WON THE INAUGURAL ALL JAPAN KARATE KUMITE (SPARRING) CHAMPIONSHIP IN 1957. HE REPORTEDLY WON THAT KUMITE COMPETITION WITH A BROKEN HAND. THAT SAME YEAR, KANAZAWA WAS AMONG THE FIRST TO GRADUATE FROM THE JKA’S INSTRUCTOR TRAINING PROGRAM. IN 1958, KANAZAWA WON THE KATA TITLE AND SHARED THE KUMITE TITLE WITH TAKAYUKI MIKAMI; THE TWO HAD BEEN CLASSMATES AND ROOMMATES, SO KNEW EACH OTHER WELL.

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 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 1977, KANAZAWA LEFT THE JKA AND FOUNDED THE SHOTOKAN KARATE-DO INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION (SKIF). SINCE THEN, HE HAS TAUGHT AND PROMOTED KARATE THROUGH THE SKIF ORGANIZATION. DESPITE LEAVING THE JKA, HE IS REPORTED TO MAINTAIN SOME TIES WITH FORMER COLLEAGUES IN THE ORGANIZATIONS. IN 1990, KANAZAWA DEMONSTRATED HIS ART AT THE 10TH TRADITIONAL KARATE TOURNAMENT INTERNATIONAL, HELD IN LAS VEGAS. IN 1994 AND 1995, HE ALSO DEMONSTRATED HIS ART AT THE 14TH AND 15TH TRADITIONAL KARATE TOURNAMENT INTERNATIONAL. HE CURRENTLY HOLDS A 10TH DAN RANK, THE HIGHEST RANK ACHIEVABLE IN KARATE-DO.