Known as the “Little Giant“, Katsuyuki Hasegawa was an exceptionally powerful fighter. Standing 5 ft 6 in, he was known for his footsweeps, body kicks, and follow-up punches.
Katsuyuki Hasegawa was born on 28 August 1948, in Itano, Japan. Growing up he had dreams of becoming number one in Japan at something.
After high school, Hasegawa attended Naruto’s Vocational School, where he practised Judo. He was eventually promoted to 2nd Dan.
Hasegawa decided to move to Tokyo to study science at Tokyo University. However, he dropped out and began working in a factory.
On 29 August 1967, Hasegawa began practising Karate at the Oyama Karate Hombu. He was 19 at the time. Mas Oyama’s dojo was located in the Ikebukuro district of Tokyo, which was close to where he was living.
Hasegawa had started learning Karate because he wanted to become a stronger fighter. Even though he was a smaller guy, he loved the power that Karate gave him, especially the ability to knock down much larger opponents.
There were normally three training sessions a day at the dojo. Because of work, Hasegawa trained in the afternoon session. This was considered a golden age at the dojo. The likes of Hideyuki Ashihara, Terutomo Yamazaki, and Hatsuo Royama were training at the dojo.
On 8 March 1969, Hasegawa was promoted to 1st Dan by Mas Oyama.
In 1969 the 1st All Japan Karate Open Tournament was held in Tokyo, Japan. Hasegawa reached the semifinals. He lost to the eventual tournament winner, Terutomo Yamazaki. He finished in third place after defeating, Kuniharu Boku.
The 2nd All Japan Karate Open Tournament was held in 1970. In the second round of the tournament, he knocked out the much bigger Katsuaki Sato with a roundhouse kick to the head.
Hasegawa made it to the final where he faced Terutomo Yamazaki, the winner of the previous tournament. Ten seconds into the bout, Hasegawa defeated Yamazaki with a footsweep and follow-up punch.
Following his tournament success Oyama suggested that Hasegawa give up his factory job and make his living through Karate.
In 1971 Oyama appointed Hasegawa as a Branch Chief of Tokushima Prefecture. Hasegawa returned to his hometown, where he taught Karate. Several years later he was appointed the Branch Chief of the Aichi Prefecture.
Through the rest of the 1980s and 1990s, Hasegawa worked at establishing his dojos. Through that time he became a well-respected Kyokushin instructor.
Mas Oyama died in April 1994 from lung cancer. Following his death, the IKO (international Karate Organisation) split into the IKO-1 led by Shokei Matsui and the IKO-2 led by Yukio Nishida. Kenji Midori would eventually lead the IKO-2. Hasegawa joined IKO-2.
In 1999 Hasegawa was awarded the Shakai-Bunka-Korosho (Cultural Award of the Community) from the Bunka-Shinkokai (Association of Cultural Development). This was the first time a Karate practitioner had received the award.
Hasegawa left the IKO-2 in 2002. He formed a new organisation called All Japan Kyokushin Federation with several other instructors.
In 2012 Hasegawa and Daigo Oishi left the All Japan Kyokushin Federation. They felt that many Kyokushin organisations had moved away from the original teachings of Mas Oyama. They established the So-Kyokushin Union.
In August 2012 Hasegawa’s book, “Hasegawa Kazuyuki shihan no Kyokushin no kotowari to waza: shinka suru giho senjutsu shidoho” was published in Japan.
Hasegawa was promoted to 9th Dan in 2014.
On 25 November 2017, Hasegawa marked 50 years of his training in Kyokushin Karate. An event was held at the Nagoya Kanko Hotel. The event also saw his student, 3-time World Champion, Takuma Kouketsu, attempts to 100-Man Kumite Challenge.
Hasegawa left So-Kyokushin on 24 February 2019. He officially established World Zen-Kyokushin.
For Katsuyuki Hasegawa, his love of Kyokushin Karate is everything. His aim is to pass on this love to his students. He has become one of the most respected Kyokushin instructors in the world. His student, Takuma Kouketsu, is a 5-time All Japan Champion and a 3-time World Champion.