One of Hiroshi Shirai’s, most senior students, Carlo Fugazza, has been practising Shotokan Karate for over 50 years. He is widely regarded as one of the top teachers of Shotokan kata. He has been a successful competitor who made the transition into becoming a successful coach.
Carlo Fugazza was born on 4 November 1951 in Milan, Italy. Growing up he enjoys participating in athletics and basketball.
After leaving school, Fugazza worked with his father in the family business. He worked in the business until the age of 21.
in 1968, Fugazza suffered an injury and was looking for something to make him stronger and give him more confidence.
Initially, Fugazza joined the Bu-sen Judo club in Milan. However, he overheard a conversation in which the new martial art of Karate was being discussed. He liked what he heard, and knew he wanted to try Karate.
At age 16, Fugazza began practising Shotokan Karate in 1968. He trained at the Via Placenza dojo of Hiroshi Shirai in Milan. Shirai arrived in Italy in November 1965, at the invitation of Robert Fassi, an early, pioneer of Italian Karate.
As a beginner, Fugazza trained under Shirai’s assistant Angelo Abruzzo for the first two months of his training.
Fugazza competed in his first tournament at the Italian Brown Belt Championships in 1969. Later that year he was promoted to 1st Dan by Shirai. The year culminated with him competing in his first Italian Championships.
In 1971 Fugazza began teaching, at the suggestion of Shirai. He took and passed the exam to be an instructor.
Between 2-4 May 1972, the 7th European Karate Championships were held in Brussels, Belgium. Fugazza was selected to represent Italy. This was his first European Championships.
Fugazza competed at the 1973, JKA World Championships held in Tokyo, Japan. He won silver medals in the Individual Kata and Team Kumite events.
The 1st IAKF World Championships were held in Los Angeles in 1975. In the Individual Kata event, Fugazza finished in second place behind Yoshiharu Osaka. He also won a medal in the Team Kata event.
Fugazza was awarded the title of Sensei in 1975.
In 1977, Fugazza was selected by Italy to compete at the 2nd IAKF World Championships held in Tokyo, Japan. This time he finished in third place in the Individual Kata event, behind Yoshiharu Osaka and Mikio Yahara.
Fugazza was appointed a coach of FITAK (Italian Federation of Taekwondo and Karate). He coached the National Kata Team. He held the position until 1993.
On 4 January 1984, the 1st World Cup was held in Budapest, Hungary. Fugazza coached Italy to a Team Kata silver. The team included Dario Marchini.
In 1985, Fugazza retired from active competition. The following year he was promoted to 6th Dan.
Hiroshi Shirai established FIKTA (Italian Federation of Traditional Karate and Related Disciplines) in 1989. FIKTA was a traditional Karate Federation. Shirai became the Technical Director of the Federation.
Between 8-11 November 1990, the 10th World Championships were held in Mexico City. Fugazza coached the Men’s Team to a historic win in the Team Kata event, against Japan. It was the first time that the Japanese team had lost the title. Japan were runners-up to Italy, with France finishing in third place.
In 1991, Fugazza left FITAK to rejoin Hiroshi Shirai at FITKA. He was appointed coach of the FITKA National Kata Team. He held a position until 1996.
Fugazzawas promoted to 7th Dan in 1996 by Shirai FITKA.
On 22 January 2012, Fugazza was promoted to 8th Dan by Shirai and FITKA. This was in recognition of his commitment, practice, and support given to FITKA.
In 2018 Fugazza celebrated 50 years of Karate practice.
Fugazza was appointed President of the FITKA National Technical Commission in 2019.
Like many countries around the world, Italy suffered through the global COVID-19 pandemic. On 7 September 2020, Fugazza together with Pasquale Acri and Alessandro Cardinale, conducted the first of a series of online courses for their students. Conducted on Zoom, the courses continued until 21 December. They resumed in January until 14 April 2021.
Carlo Fugazza is a well-respected teacher who runs his own dojo in Milan. He is frequently invited to give seminars. He has given numerous seminars across Europe, especially in Germany and his native Italy.
Both Fugazza’s wife and son practice Karate. Sometimes his son assists him in demos.
Away from Karate Fugazza is interested in classical music. He plays the piano and guitar.