Manabu Murakami

Technically, maybe ten repetitions of a technique is enough. But Karate training is not just physical. We have spirit as well, and this must be trained too. Repetition training will make you strong physically, but will also make a strong spirit. Therefore, it is important.

Manabu Murakami

Alongside Tatsuya Naka, Nobuaki Kanazawa, and Tetsuji Nakamura, Manabu Murakami represents the next generation of Karate masters. Known for his exceptional kicking ability, speed, and athleticism, he was a long-time assistant of the legendary Hirokazu Kanazawa. Kanazawa described him as being like a son.

Manabu Murakami was born on 1 October 1966, in Kyushu, Japan.

Growing up during the Bruce Lee craze of the 1970s, Murakami began learning Karate, at age 9. He started training under Takaki Maruo. Maruo was a student of Minoru Miyata of the JKA. Miyata was a contemporary of Masatoshi Nakayama and a graduate of Takuskoku University. Maruo’s dojo was independent of the JKA

In 1977 Kanazawa left the JKA due to political reasons. He established SKIF (the Shotokan Karate-Do International Federation). Takaki Maruo joined Kanazawa’s SKIF.

Aged 11 Murakami began taking baseball more seriously than his Karate practice. However, his mother encouraged him to continue pursuing his Karate.

In High School Murakami resumed his Karate practice, taking it more seriously. It was during this time that he met Kanazawa for the first time. He was so impressed by him that he wanted to follow in his footsteps.

After High School, Murakami enrolled at Takushoku University in 1984, to study Political Science.

At Takushoku University Murakami joined the famed Karate club. His instructor was Katsunori Tsuyama. Training at the club was very tough. His teeth were broken during one training session.

At the Karate club, Murakami’s sempai included Tatsuya Naka. Most of his sempai were affiliated with the JKA.

In 1986, following a training incident, the Takushoku Karate Club had to close. For the next two years, Murakami trained at other university Karate clubs in the Tokyo area.

The 3rd SKIF World Championships were held in Utsunomiya, Japan. While still in the fourth year of university, Murakami competed in the Individual Kumite event. He lost in the quarter-finals by disqualification. He had knocked out his German opponent. Disappointed, he strove to become a better karate-ka.

After graduating from university in 1988, Murakami enrolled on the SKIF Instructors Course for two years, rather than the JKA Instructors Course. This was due to his affinity to Kanazawa. His main instructors on the course were Kanazawa and Hitoshi Kasuya.

In 1990, after graduating from the Instructors Course, Murakami began travelling worldwide on behalf of SKIF.

Murakami had the opportunity to compete at his second world championships in 1991. The 4th SKIF World Championships were held in Mexico City. In the Individual Kumite event, he finished in first place.

The SKIF opened a new Hombu dojo in 1992. Murakami was an instructor at the dojo. He taught two classes, six days a week, when not travelling around the world.

The 5th SKIF World Championships were held in Yokohama, Japan, in 1994. Murakami retained his Individual Kumite title by defeating Nobuaki Kanazawa in the final. He also won first place in the Team Kumite event. In the Individual Kata event, he finished in second place.

At the 7th and 8th SKIF World Championships held in Bali in 2000 and Durban in 2003, Murakami was a member of the successful teams that won the Team Kumite event.

In 2012 the 11th SKIF World Championships were held in Sydney, Australia. Murakami led a demo with several other senior SKIF instructors. They performed the kata Nijushiho and also some kumite drills.

The tournament was also Hirokazu Kanazawa’s last international tournament. He decided to spend more time at home in Japan. After the tournament, he retired from active travelling and teaching.

On 5 April 2014, Nobuaki Kanazawa took over the leadership of the SKIF from his father, Hirokazu Kanazawa. He was named Kancho. Murakami was named Shisku Shihan (Chief Instructor).

Between 27-29 March 2015, the 1st Shotokan Takudai Seminar was held in Dresden, Germany. The instructors on the course were from the SKIFI and the JKA. They were instructors who had graduated from Takushoku (Takudai) University. The seminar was organised by Akio Nagai of the SKIF. The instructors on the course included Shiro Asano, Hideo Ochi, Akio Nagai, Tatsuya Naka, and Manabu Murakami.

Murakami has been a frequent visitor to South Africa, where he has conducted workshops and seminars across the country. 2015, marked his 15-year anniversary of visiting the country.

Between 15-21 July 2019, the SKIF World Championships were held in Hradec Kralove, the Czech Republic. Murakami held a seminar for almost 200 participants from the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, and Austria.

On 8 December 2019, Murakami’s mentor Hirokazu Kanazawa died peacefully, aged 88.

On 13 March 2021, the SKIF Soke Hirokazu Kanazawa Memorial Seminar was held at the Ota City Sports General Gymnasium, in Tokyo. The SKIF Hombu instructors conducted the course.

On 14 March 2021, a Memorial Service was held for Hirokazu Kanazawa at the Aoyama Memorial Hall. Due to the global Covid-19 Pandemic, the event could only be attended by those in Japan. However, the event was streamlined on the SKIF Official YouTube channel. Nobuaki Kanazawa, Manabu Murakami, Koichi Tanaka, Shigeru Sawada, and Satoru Iwai spoke at the memorial.

With Nobuaki Kanazawa and Shinji Tanaka, Manabu Murakami continues the Karate legacy of Hirokazu Kanazawa. As Chief Instructor of the SKIF, he frequently travels around the world, conducting training, courses and seminars.

Like his mentor Kanazawa, Murakami has incorporated Tai Chi into his training, as a way to improve his Karate.

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