Hitoshi Kasuya

It is important to practice kata in the correct way. First, learn the correct steps and movements. Second, learn to apply the correct rhythm to the kata. Third, and most important, is one’s mental control and concentration. Kata is a kind of meditation, to teach oneself to develop absolute self-control. The combination of timing, distance, rhythm and coordinated movement of kata training combined with good character will develop “ma”, which is very important in Karate training.

Hitoshi Kasuya

One of the most respected Shotokan instructors, Hitoshi Kasuya has been a top competitor and one of the top Karate instructors in the world.

Hitoshi Kasuya was born on 24 February 1948, in Tokyo, Japan.

Kasuya began learning, Karate at high school, aged 17. The instructor of the school Karate club was a senior student from the Waseda University Karate Club.

In 1967 Kasuya enrolled at Hosei University, in Tokyo, to study law. He joined the university’s Karate club. He eventually became the captain of the Karate team. During this time he frequently competed against the Takushoku University Karate Club.

Kasuya graduated from Hosei University in 1971. He was encouraged to enrol on the JKA Instructors Course. He was a 3rd Dan at the time. His instructors included Masatoshi Nakayama, Hiroshi Shoji, and Masaaki Ueki.

At the JKA, Kasuya was mainly influenced by the likes of Masaaki Ueki, Masahiko Tanaka, and Norihiko Iida. He graduated from the JKA Instructors Course, alongside Toshihiro Mori, in 1973.

The 1st IAKF World Championships was held in Los Angeles, California, in 1975. Kasuya was a member of a successful Japanese team. He finished in first place in both the Team Kumite and Kata events. He repeated the feat at the 2nd IAKF World Championships in Tokyo, Japan, in 1977.

In between the two World Championships, Kasuya became the Individual Kumite Champion at the Asian Pacific Championships held in Hong Kong in 1976.

In 1977 Hirokazu Kanazawa, a legend of Shotokan Karate, left the JKA due to internal politics. He formed the SKIF (Shotokan Karate-Do International Federation).

Kasuya was selected to represent the Japanese team at the 5th WUKO World Karate Championships, held in Madrid, Spain in 1980. He was part of a kumite team that finished in fourth place.

By 1980 Kasuya was an instructor at the JKA Hombu. However, that year he left the organisation and later joined Kanazawa’s SKIF. He became one of the top instructors at the SKIF Hombu. He normally taught the students enrolled on the SKIF Instructors Course.

In 1982 Kasuya was once again selected to represent Japan at the 6th WUKO World Karate Championships, held in Taipei, Taiwan. He was part of a kumite team that finished in third place.

The following year, Kasuya was selected to represent Japan at the 1st SKIF World Championships, held in Japan. He won the Individual Kata and Team Kumite events.

In 1985 the 2nd SKIF World Championships was held in Germany. This time Kasuya won the Individual Kumite and Team Kumite events.

Kasuya retired from active competition in 1985, aged 37.

In 1989 Kasuya was promoted to 7th Dan.

On 1 June 1990, Kasuya left the SKIF and founded the WSKF (World Shotokan Karate-Do Federation). He became the Chief Instructor. At the time of leaving the SKIF, he was the head of the International Division.

Every two years the WSKF holds an event where all member countries come together for a training seminar and compete in the WSKF World Championships in Tokyo, Japan.

Kasuya was promoted to 8th Dan in April 2000.

In 2012 Kasuya visited 40 countries in six months. He visited eight cities in Russia after visiting New Zealand. This was followed by visits to Algeria, Kazakhstan, and Iran.

Between 19–25 August 2019, the 14th WSKF World Championships were held in Tokyo, Japan. During the championships, Kasuya performed a demo. Later on in the championships he was awarded his 9th Dan. This moved him to tears.

Due to Hitoshi Kasuya’s reputation as an instructor, the WSKF now has over 100 member countries. He frequently travels to member countries where he conducts seminars and courses.

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    • Anonymous on January 3, 2024 at 5:17 am
    • Reply

    I must thank you for this remarkable historical compendium; The history of the JKA, and of Shotokan and all of Karate-do is vast. I feel much closer to it when reading your time woven stories and discussions of the essences of these great Practitioners. Burt Gottlieb, Instructor, Japanese Shotokan karate-Do Association of Michigan

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