Always, whenever possible, stop thinking negatively, always think positively, be faithful and then your life will start to change for the better.Yoshizo Machida
One of the most respected Karate Masters in Brazil, Yoshizo Machida has helped develop Shotokan Karate in the country. He has passed on his love of Karate to his sons.
Yoshizo Machida was born in Ibaraki, Japan on 29 January 1946. Growing up, he loved fighting. He started practising Goju-Ryu Karate in an attempt to get better at fighting. At the age of 15, he began training under Soichi Yamamoto.
In 1964 Machida enrolled at Nippon University to study Civil Engineering. He joined the University’s Karate club. He transitioned from Goju-Ryu to Shotokan Karate. He trained under Masahiko Tanaka. He later trained under Tetsuhiko Asai, Hidetaka Nishiyama, and Chief Instructor of the JKA, Masatoshi Nakayama.
Machida realised that he wanted to pursue a career in Karate. However, his father was against this, so he focused on his studies.
In 1966 Machida entered the 1st Okinawa Championship. He became the Kumite Champion. The following year he entered the All Japan University Championships. He became the Kata Champion. In the kumite event, he finished in third place.
After graduating from University Machida received a one year contract, working for a Japanese road construction company, as a civil engineer.
In April 1968 Machida travelled from Japan to Brazil by boat. It was a 40-day journey. He arrived in Belem, Brazil only speaking Japanese and no Portuguese.
It was around this time that Machida met his future wife, Ana Claudia. After his contract ended, he decided to make Brazil his permanent home. He decided to pursue his dream of teaching Karate.
In 1969 Machida moved to Rio de Janeiro where he trained at the dojo of Yasutaka Tanaka, a Shotokan practitioner. From there he moved to Bahai at the invitation of Denilson Caribé. In Bahai, Machida began to teach and establish Shotokan Karate.
In 1970 Machida won both the kata and kumite titles at the Olympics Championship held in Brasilia.
Through the 1970s Machida worked hard at establishing Shotokan in Bahia. By 1971 he established the Bahian Karate Team. As a coach, he took the team to the 2nd Brazilian Karate Championships in 1971. For the next couple of years, the team performed well at the Brazilian Karate Championships.
Machida was becoming recognised as a top instructor. In 1973 he was appointed the National Coach of Brazil, for the Pan-American Championships held in Rio de Janeiro.
By by 1975 Machida had married Ana Claudia. In 1975 his first son Take was born. He is second son Chinzo was born on 9 March 1977. Third son, Lyoto, was born on 30 May 1978.
In 1980 Machida moved from the state of Bahia to Belem. By the time he left he had over 1000 students. He looked to repeat the success he had in Bahia..
Machida was always looking to improve his Karate and keep it more realistic. This led to him establishing Machida Karate. His style of Karate incorporates all the techniques found in Shotokan, i.e. punches, knees, kicks, elbows, takedowns, and submissions.
In 1981 Machida’s sons Chinzo and Machida joined their older brother, Take in learning Karate. He developed a love of Karate and martial arts in his sons, something they have to this day. He would inspire them with tales of the samurai.
Machida was a strict teacher, teaching in the traditional Japanese way, as he had been taught. His sons have said that it made them tough and developed a strong fighting spirit within them.
In 1987 Mochida left the Brazilian Confederation of Karate. The following year he established the Brazilian Confederation of Traditional Karate. By the 1990s he developed Shotokan and Belem into a major force.
Machida’s son Lyoto started developing an interest in Mixed Martial Arts in 1993. Initially much Machida did not like the idea of his son practising MMA. However, in time he was won over.
On 1 May 1997 Machida established JKA Brazil. He helped put Shotokan Karate on the Brazilian martial arts map. He did this mainly through conducting seminars and training courses and running classes at his dojo.
In 2019 Machida was promoted by the JKA. Or 16 February JKA Brazil announced that the JKA Instructor Committee had recommended that he be promoted to 8th Dan. This was mainly due to his work of developing Shotokan Karate in Brazil.
On 11 April 2019 Machida officially received his 8th Dan grade from Masaaki Ueki at a ceremony held in Tokyo, Japan.
Yoshizo Machida has been a major factor in the development of Shotokan Karate in Brazil. He has transferred his love of Karate to his four sons. His three older sons Take, Chinzo, and Lyoto, are all black belts and have followed him into the family business of teaching Karate. His youngest son, Kenzo, has also trained but works as a journalist.
Machida’s sons Chinzo and Lyoto have had successful professional careers in MMA. He has helped train them for some of their bouts and has also worked as a cornerman for them.
Their performances have helped to put Traditional Karate in the public eye as an effective martial art.
A member of the JKA Shihankai, Machida still conducts seminars and training courses.