Yoshikazu Sumi

Training with action and reaction, mostly good kihon too. Jiyu ippon kumite (semi freestyle) teaches good kumite. Also do not forget kata. We must practice everything equally, then kumite will improve for sure.

Yoshikazu Sumi

Known for his great spirit and sense of humour, Yoshikazu Sumi’s movement has been described as being strong and fluid. Although he is not a professional instructor, his knowledge and skills are well-respected.

Sumi was born on 23 June 1936, in Shiritori, Japan. Like most boys of the time his first introduction to the martial arts came through Judo.

In 1954 Sumi enrolled at Keio University. He joined the university’s Karate club. The club was the oldest university Karate club in Japan. It had been established by Gichin Funakoshi on 15 October 1924.

Sumi trained under Sensei Takaura of the JKA. As a white belt, Sumi also had the opportunity to train under Gichin Funakoshi.

In 1957 Sumi was promoted to 1st Dan by Takura.

Sumi officially joined the JKA in 1962. He was sent to teach Karate at a US Air Force Base in Japan.

After the JKA’s world tour by Taiji Kase, Hirokazu Kanazawa, Keinosuke Enoeda, and Hiroshi Shirai, in 1965, there was much demand for JKA instructors.

In 1966 Sumi was sent by the JKA to assist Enoeda, he was the resident instructor in Liverpool. After several years, he moved to Milan, to assist Shirai. Sumi regarded Shirai as a genius, who improved his Karate.

On 2 June 1967, Kanazawa, who was the Chief Instructor of the KUGB (Karate Union of Great Britain) organised a week-long training course. The course was held at Crystal Palace, which would become the home of the course for many years. The guest instructors on the course were Taiji Kase, Hiroshi Shirai, Satoru Iwai, Akio Nagai, Shotaro Takahashi, and Sumi.

By the 1980s Sumi had returned to Shiritori, where he worked.

In 1987 Masatoshi Nakayama, the Chief Instructor of the JKA, died. Tokyo businessman, Nobuyuki Nakahara was appointed the Chairman of the JKA. Some of the younger JKA instructors led by Tetsuhiko Asai, disagreed with the appointment. This led to a split in the JKA into two opposing fractions.

The Nakahara fraction included Masaaki Ueki, Yoshiharu Osaka, and Masahiko Tanaka. Motokuni Sugiura was the Chief Instructor of this fraction.

The Matsuno faction was led by Tetsuhiko Asai. The faction included Keigo Abe, Akihito Isaka, Mikio Yahara, and Masao Kagawa. It was this fraction that Sumi joined. It was also around this time that he became an instructor for the JKA.

In 1991 TSTK (The School of Traditional Karate) was established in Windsor, England. It was an independent association and Sumi was named the Chief Instructor of the association. Over the years he has made frequent visits to the UK to conduct courses.

Alongside Keigo Abe, Sumi, visited Australia in 1996, to conduct a course. Over the years Sumi has developed a close relationship with the Australians. In the same year, he was also invited to England and the Netherlands to conduct training courses. He also visited both countries the following year.

Currently ranked as an 8th Dan, Yoshikazu Sumi is a traditional Karate master. However, he has an open mind to new ideas. He knows that Karate has to adapt for it to continue being a relevant martial art.

He is also the Chief Instructor of the ISKA (International Shotokan Karate–Do Alliance).

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