Norio Kawasoe

Known for his crisp and precise techniques, Norio Kawasoe was a much-respected instructor who was frequently invited to teach courses worldwide.

Norio Kawasoe was born on 11 April 1951, in Saga, Japan. He began practising Shotokan Karate at Saga High School.

In 1970 Kawasoe enrolled at Takushoku University. He joined the university’s Karate club, training under Masatoshi Nakayama and Katsunori Tsuyama. Kawasoe was selected to represent Japan at the Student World Championships in Osaka in 1973. He was part of a team that won first place in Team Kumite.

In 1974 Kawasoe graduated from Takushoku University. By this time he had been promoted to 3rd Dan. He became an instructor at Masatoshi Nakayama’s Hoitsugan dojo in Tokyo.

Kawasoe made his first visit to Europe in 1975. He toured Europe, where he was a guest instructor on courses conducted by Akio Nagai, Shiro Asano, and Masaru Miura. He taught in Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Italy, Hungary, and Portugal.

In 1976 Kawasoe eventually settled in Austria.

In 1977 Kawasoe left the JKA and joined Hirokazu Kanazawa’s SKIF (Shotokan Karate International Federation). That year he was promoted to 4th Dan by Kanazawa. He was also appointed the Chief Instructor of SKIF Austria.

Together with Kanazawa, Kawasoe produced a series of videos in 1986. The video showcased the Shotokan syllabus.

Between 10–12 August 1988, the 14th SKI (GB) Summer School was held at the University of Nottingham’s Sports Centre. Shiro Asano invited guest instructors Hideo Ochi, Yasuyuki Aragane, and Kawasoe to teach the course.

In 1991 Kawasoe established the SKIAF (Shotokan Karatedo International Austrian Federation).

1991 also saw a four–country tournament take place in the German town of Simbach am Inn. The tournament was held between Italy, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Before the tournament, Masaru Miura, Akio Nagai, Rikuta Koga, and Kawasoe conducted the course.

Between 5–8 October 1998, a four-day SKIEF European Course was held. The course marked 30 years of Shiro Asano teaching in the United Kingdom. The guest instructions on the course were here Hirokazu Kanazawa, Akio Nagai, Hideo Ochi, Rikuta Koga, Yasuyuki Aragane, and Kawasoe. This was followed by the 8th SKI European Championships between 9–10 October. The championship was held in Sheffield.

In 2003 Kawasoe was promoted to 8th Dan by Kanazawa.

On 17 March 2013, Norio Kawasoe died following a short illness.

In honour of Norio Kawasoe, the Kawasoe Shihan Memorial Course was established. Many of the SKIF’s top instructors travel to Austria to teach the course.

Between 1–3 December 2023, the 10th Kawasoe Shihan Memorial Course was held in Aarau, Switzerland. The course also marked the 45th anniversary of the Shin Gi Tai Karate–do Aarau being established by Racca. The club was one of the founding members of the SKISF (Shotokan Karate–do International Swiss Federation). The guest instructors were Nobuaki Kanazawa, Rikuta Koga, Hiyori Kanazawa, Eugen Llandpraf, and Antonio Racca.

Norio Kawasoe’s legacy continues through the many students he trained with and taught.

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