On April 11, 1907, Minoru Mochizuki, the founder of the Yoseikan dojo, was born in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan.
Mochizuki was one of the few men to have been a direct student of the three great Budo masters, Jigoro Kano, Morihei Uesiba and Gichin Funakoshi. An accomplished martial artist, Mochizuki held a 10th Dan in Aikido; a 9th Dan in Jujutsu; a 8th Dan in Judo; a 8th Dan in Kobudo; a 5th Dan in Kendo; a 5th Dan in Karate; and a 5th Dan in Jojutsu.
It was Mochizuki’s believe that Japanese martial arts had become too fragmented into separate disciplines. To address this he established the Yoseikan dojo in Shizuoka, a place where the major techniques found in Japanese martial arts could be consolidated.
On April 11, 1977, Dave Hazard began training in the JKA Instructors training class run by Masatoshi Nakayama. Very few non-Japanese trained in this class and if so, it was by invitation only. As was to be expected the classes were tough. Training was three times a day, six days week at the JKA Hombu and sometimes at Takushoku University.
On April 13, 1913 Masatoshi Nakayama was born in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. He came from a family descended from the Sanada samurai clan and steeped in the martial tradition. His grandfather and father were accomplished Kendo instructors..
Nakayama guided the JKA through its difficult early days and through his hard work made it into one of the biggest and most respected Shotokan associations in the world. Many of the students trained by Nakayame describe him as a tough but fair teacher. Some of his most able students heave become famous masters in their own right. Some of Nakayama’s most notable students, many who can be seen in his “Best Karate Series”, include:
- Keigo Abe
- Tetsuhiko Asai
- Keinosuke Enoeda
- Hirokazu Kanazawa
- Takayuki Mikami
- Teruyuki Okazaki
- Yoshiharu Osaka
- Masahiko Tanaka
On April 15, 1987, Masatoshi Nakayama died aged 74. After his death he was posthumously awarded the rank of 10th
Following Nakayama’s death, internal politics within the JKA saw many of the top instructors split from the association to form their own organisations. It is a testament to Nakayama that these conflicts did not happen until after his death.