To me kata is very important, I know some people ignore or don’t even practice kata, but I do not think this is the right way, because kata teaches you speed, balance, and coordination.– Kuniaki Sakagami
Known as a top instructor, Kuniaki Sakagami was born in Toyohashi, Japan in 1944.
Sakagami began learning Wado–ryu Karate in May 1959, aged 14. He had been looking to learn Karate. The first dojo he came across was the Tokohashi dojo of Tatsuo Suzuki. The young Sakagami trained hard with Suzuki until he left for University.
In 1961 Sakagami enrolled at the private Aichi University to study Economics. He joined the university’s Karate club and also a local dojo in the city. The training was very hard at the university dojo. Once a month Hironori Ohtsuka, the founder of Wado-ryu Karate, would visit and teach classes. Through his dedication to training, Sakagami eventually became the Captain of the Karate club.
In 1962 Ohtsuka promoted Sakagami to 1st Dan.
A technical fighter, Sakagami placed first in the Tokai University Area Championships in 1965. He repeated the feat the following year.
Sakagami graduated from Aichi University in March 1967. He began working at the Fujiki Shipping Company. That same year Tatsuo Suzuki asked him to take up a post teaching Karate in Germany. Sakagami moved to Nuremberg, Germany to take up his teaching position and also taught in other areas of Germany.
In 1968 Sakagami was promoted to 4th Dan.
After three years teaching in Germany, Sakagami was asked to move to England. In May 1971 Sakagami started teaching in the Midlands. where he still resides.
Through the 1970s and 1980s, Sakagami brought his expertise to eager students willing to learn. In 1989 he founded the Wado Aiwakai Karate-do Federation, which was affiliated to the English Karate Federation (EKF). He and his association were also affiliated to the Japan Karate Federation Wadokai.
In 2013 the 1st Sakagami Challenge was held at Parklands Leisure Centre, Leicester. Offering total price money of £1100, competitors could compete in kumite or Wado-ryu kata.
Sakagami was promoted to 5th Dan in 1972. His next promotion was in 1978. In 1989 he was promoted to 7th Dan. The Japan Karate Federation Wadokai promoted him to 8th Dan in April 2011.
Currently, Kuniaki Sakagami is the Technical Advisor to the Federation European Wadokai. He is also the Honorary President of the Wadokai England Karate.