Steve Fogarasi

For all those engaged in competitive pursuits, especially if you’re not pursuing it as a professional career, it’s crucial to prioritise self-care and envision your martial arts journey as a lifelong pursuit, extending beyond a mere phase of fighting.

Steve Fogarasi

Described as a dynamic fighter, Fogarasi is a master technician who focuses on being efficient with his movements. He may not be physically intimidating, but he exudes strength and authority.

Steve Fogarasi was born in the small town of Ludus, Romania, around 1972. His family were originally from Hungary.

Fogarasi grew up during the communist regime of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. Life in communist Romania was very tough. As a child, he suffered from serious asthma.

Growing up, Fogarasi had been a big Bruce Lee fan. However, martial arts were not officially allowed in Romania. Only sports like Judo were permitted.

In 1987, at age 15, Fogarasi began learning Judo. He eventually began practising Shotokan Karate unofficially at the same club. Practice was outdoors in a nearby forest. The training was not very structured. He trained at the club for around two years.

Aged 17, Fogarasi moved to the town of Sibiu for trade school. It was around this time that he began learning Kyokushin Karate under Bradu Gheorghe.

The first time Fogarasi sparred, he broke his ribs. This was his first exposure to full-contact Karate. He did not go back to the club for two months. However, during this period, he felt frustrated. Wanting to prove himself, he returned to the club.

Fogarasi completed his studies in 1990 and returned to Ludus. By this time, he had been promoted to 7th kyu in Kyokushin.

In Ludus, Fogarasi opened the first Kyokushin dojo in the town. He soon had 10 to 15 students training with him.

Fogarasi and his students visited training camps at the Black Sea and the Carpathian Mountains twice a year. He had the opportunity to train with the likes of Furko Kalman, Adamy Istvan, Somoji Zsolt, Howard Collins, Shokei Matsui, Kenji Yamaki, and Brezovai Sandor. Fogarasi and his students would be graded at the camps.

In 1992, Fogarasi entered his first full-contact knockdown tournament. In the regional tournament, he finished in first place. His aim for competing was to challenge himself and become one of the best competitors in Romania.

The Romanian dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, was overthrown in 1993. With his death, the country’s people began to gain more freedom.

On 26 April 1994, Mas Oyama, the founder of Kyokushin Karate, died. The organisation he founded, the IKO (International Karate Organization), split into the IKO-1 and IKO-2. Fogarasi decided to follow the IKO-1 under the leadership of Shokei Matsui.

On 26 July 1996, Fogarasi was promoted to 1st Dan by Shokei Matsui, following a one-week training course in Szentes, Hungary.

Fogarasi was promoted to 2nd Dan by Matsui in 2001 at the Black Sea Summer Camp.

In October 2001, Fogarasi moved to the United States. This was a month after the 911 terrorist attacks on the United States.

In the United States, Fogarasi began training in kickboxing and Muay Thai under Clarence Thact.

In 2005, Fogarasi opened the Contact Kicks Dojo in Denver. This was the first Kyokushin dojo in Denver. He also joined the USA IFK (International Federation of Karate) whose Branch Chief was Michael Monaco. Steve Arneil was the Chief Instructor of the IFK.

Fogarasi met his future wife, Mici, in 2006. She had begun training at the Contact Kicks Dojo.

In 2006 Fogarasi competed in his final knockdown Karate tournament. He competed at the American International Championships in Rochester, New York. This was his first tournament in five years. He finished in third place, losing to Dominic Duclos by a judge’s decision.

Fogarasi was promoted to 3rd Dan by Steve Arneil in 2007. The grading took place in Rochester.

In 2009, Fogarasi and his partner, Mici, returned to Romania. However, the couple felt that their future lay outside of the country. The couple applied to go to Canada.

Their application was accepted, and they emigrated to Canada in 2010, settling in Toronto.

Fogarasi opened his first dojo, the CKMA (Contact Kick Martial Arts) dojo in 2011. During this period, he worked in construction during the day and taught Karate in the evening.

The CKMA dojo taught Kyokushin, Kickboxing, and Brazilian Jujitsu. Fogarasi’s first student was Alex Bunaro.

In 2011, Fogarasi was appointed the Country Representative for IFK Canada. His dojo became the headquarters of the IFK Canada Kyokushin organisation.

On 28 August 2011, Fogarasi organised the 2011 Beach Karate Training, in Toronto, Canada. This was the first major event organised by IFK Canada. Thirty students from three dojos in Canada and the United States attended the course.

For the next few years, Fogarasi, aided by his wife Mici, began establishing IFK. Canada. He opened other dojos and membership of the IFK in Canada grew.

In 2015 Fogarasi was promoted to 4th Dan at the BKK Summer Camp by Steve Arneil.

Between 1-3 March 2019, Fogarasi took an IFK Canada team to the 1st IFK Americas Cup held at the 43rd Battle of Columbus tournament. The team acquitted themselves well, winning several medals.

Fogarasi’s wife Mici was promoted to 2nd Dan in 2019.

On 16 March 2020, Fogarasi was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many instructions around the world, he had to close down his dojo. Unfortunately, many students did not renew their membership licenses.

In 2021, Fogarasi was promoted to 5th Dan. He was also given the title Shihan.

January 2024 saw Fogarasi and his students take on the gruelling challenge of completing 2024 kicks each. The challenge took them around one hour and thirty minutes to complete.

Steve Fogarasi has come a long way from his humble beginnings in Romania. He and his wife, Mici, currently live in Barrie, Canada. They have two children. The entire family are Kyokushin practitioners.

Fogarasi is currently the President of IFK Canada. He continues to try and bring out the best from his students.

Away from Karate Fogarasi is a big science fiction fan.

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