Rikuta Koga

A stalwart of European Shotokan Karate, Rikuta Koga has been at the forefront of developing Shotokan Karate in Europe. A popular instructor known for his technical ability, he is a frequent guest instructor on courses around the world.

Rikuta Koga was born on 3 August 1941, in Fukuoka, Japan.

In April 1960 Koga enrolled at the Kanazawa Art and Polytechnic University in Kanazawa City. He joined the university’s Karate club, training under Susumu Nishimura. Training was five days a week, and sessions lasted two and a half hours. Koga became a member of the university’s kumite team.

In 1962 Koga was promoted to 1st Dan.

Apart from representing his university Karate team, Koga also represented the Ishikawa District in kata events. He competed in the JKA Championships B Group. He finished in 7th place in the kata event.

In March 1964 Koga graduated from university with a degree in Industrial Design.

Koga started working for the Aichi Kogyo Company, in April 1965. The company was a part of the Toyota Motor Group. His role involved, designing sewing machines, knitting, machines, washing machines, refrigerators, and colour televisions.

Apart from his work as a designer, Koga established the Aichi Kogyo Karate Club. It was located in a sewing machine factory in the City of Anjou.

In 1966 Koga was promoted to 2nd Dan by the JKA.

In August 1969 Koga began working for the Tungon Development Co., a toy company based in Hong Kong. He worked as a senior designer.

In 1970 Koga was promoted to 3rd Dan by the JKA. The following year he established the JKA of Hong Kong (which eventually became the SKIF Hong Kong).

Koga resigned from the Tungon Development Co. in September 1973. The following month he left Hong Kong and relocated to Switzerland.

In 1974 Koga began teaching Karate in Basel, Kobleenze, and several other clubs that were members of the SKR (Swiss Karate-do Renmei).

Koga enrolled at an arts and crafts school in Basel in April 1975. He remained at the school until August 1976.

In 1976 Koga was promoted to 4th Dan. He became an international kata and kumite judge.

Koga moved to the Swiss town of Locarno in 1976. It was during this time that he became a professional Karate instructor.

In 1977 Koga left the SKR after some disagreement. He established the SKISF (Shotokan Karate-Do International Swiss Federation). He became the Chief Instructor of the SKISF.

Also in 1977 Hirokazu Kanazawa, Shiro Asano, Akio Nagai, Masaru Miura, and Rikuta Koga established the SKIF (Shotokan Karate International Federation).

Koga was promoted to 5th Dan in 1980. That year he became the General Secretary of the SKIEF (Shotokan Karate-Do International European Federation). He held the position until 1990.

In 1981 Koga established SKIF Belgium. He became the Technical Director of the association, a position he held until 2008.

Koga was promoted to 6th Dan in 1986.

In 1987 Koga began his association with Israel. That year, he conducted his first seminar in the country, in Hadera. The following year he visited Israel with Hirokazu Kanazawa, where they conducted a training course. Over the years he has made frequent visits to Israel.

A four-country tournament was held in the German town of Simbach am Inn in 1991. The tournament was between Italy, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Before the tournament, a course was held. The instructors on the course were Masaru Miura, Akio Nagai, Norio Kawasoe, and Koga.

Koga was promoted to 7th Dan in 1994.

Between 5–8 October 1998, SKIEF held a four-day European course in England. It marked 30 years of Shiro Asano teaching in Britain. The guest instructors on the course included Asano, Kanazawa, Nagai, Hideo Ochi, Koga, Norio Kawasoe, and Yasuhiko Aragane.

Following the course, the 8th SKI European Championships took place between 9–10 October, in Sheffield. Koga was part of the judging panel and referee team.

The 7th SKIF World Championships were held in Bali, Indonesia. In April 2000 Koga was appointed the Chief Referee.

Koga was promoted to 8th Dan and awarded the title of Hanshi in 2001.

Between 3–5 November 2006, the 9th SKIF World Championships were held in Tokyo, Japan. At the age of 65, Koga decided to compete. He finished in first place in Kata in the Masters category. He also finished second in the Masters Team category, alongside Antonio Racca, and Marco Langiu.

In January 2007 the town of Locarno presented Koga with the Most Valuable Person in Sport 2006 Award. This was for his success at the World Championships and his education of young people in the region.

Koga was appointed the General Secretary of SKIEF in 2008, for the second time. He held the position until 2016.

The 3rd International Seminar SKIF was held in Tokyo, Japan, between 25–27 March 2016. 26 classes and several gradings were held over the three days. The Hombu instructors, Manabu Murakami, Nobuaki Kanazawa, Daizo Kanazawa, Fumitoshi Kanazawa, Shinji Tanaka, and Ryushi Suzuki conducted the training.

The guest instructors on the three-day course, included Masaru Miura, Shiro Asano, Hiroshi Ishikawa, and Koga. Hirokazu Kanazawa, who had retired as head of the SKIF, two years earlier, was present at the opening ceremony. He watched many of the classes and helped conduct the black belt gradings.

On 3 August 2016, Koga marked his 75th birthday. He received many well wishes.

Between 26–28 August 2016, the 12th SKIF World Championships were held in Jakarta, Indonesia. Koga was promoted to 9th Dan by Hirokazu Kanazawa.

On 8 December 2019, Hirokazu Kanazawa died peacefully, aged 88.

In November 2020, following the global COVID-19 Pandemic, Koga conducted online classes from his kitchen. The Swiss government required people to stay at home.

Between 18–25 July 2022, the 45th International Summer Course was organised by the Locarno Karate Club. The event was opened by Fausto Fornera, the Deputy Mayor of the Municipality of Losone. Around 200 participants from Switzerland, Poland, Austria, and Denmark attended the course. The instructions on the course were Koga, Antonio Racca, Fumitoshi Kanazawa, and Toshio Yamada.

Now in his 80s, Rikuta Koga is still full of energy and vigour. He continues to travel the world, conducting courses and seminars in Europe, South Africa, and Israel.

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