Yuichi Negishi

Sport is necessary for it to be known worldwide, so that it can be a discipline in the Olympic Games. The sporting part, however, is just the beginning. One must not forget its origins. When you are young you can practice the sporting part, but when you reach a certain age you can no longer compete, then it is time to return to traditional Karate. You can never forget the traditional part of Karate.

Yuichi Negishi

A student of Shito-Ryu master, Manzo Iwata, Yuichi Negishi had a big influence on the development of Shito–Ryu Karate in Venezuela.

Yuichi Negishi was born on 7 December 1940, in Tokyo, Japan. He was descended from a samurai family, part of the Hasegawa clan on his mother’s side. His grandfather, Kazuyu Hasegawa was clan head and the keeper of the family’s martial arts tradition that went back almost 700 years. Negishi’s father was a judoka who trained at the Kodokan.

At the age of 15, Negishi was involved in a street fight. After the fight, he asked his opponent what martial art style he practised. Negishi began learning Shito–Ryu Karate in 1955 from some students of Manzo Iwata. He did this in secret from his family, as Karate had a bad reputation among some people in Japan.

In 1959 Negishi enrolled at Toyo University where he was a student in the Economics and Political Sciences department. He joined the university’s Karate club. He trained under Manzo Iwata and in time became one of his main students. He was a classmate of another of Iwata’s top students, Shoko Sato. Negishi eventually captained the Karate team.

Negishi graduated from university in 1964.

On 1 October 1964, the JKF (Japan, Karate Federation) was established. The JKF acted as an umbrella for the various Karate styles and as the official governing body of Karate in Japan. The members of the JKF included Ryochi Sasakawa, Hironori Ohtsuka, Gogen Yamaguchi, Manzo Iwata, Kenei Mabuni, Masatoshi Nakayama, and Eiichi Eriguchi.

Negishi became a coach at the Toyo University Karate team in 1965. He held the position until 1970. The following year he began teaching at the Shito Kai Hombu at Aizu–Tajima. He also began teaching at the Iwakura High School Karate Club.

In 1968 Negishi began teaching at the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication’s Karate Club.

Negishi was appointed the General Secretary of the Shito Kai Federation of Japan in 1969. He held a position until 1972. The following year he was appointed the Director of the Toyo University Karate Club.

On 10 October 1970, the 1st WUKO World Championships was held in Tokyo, Japan. Negishi was the coach of the Japanese ‘C’ Team. In the Team Kumite event, the team finished in second place behind the Japanese ‘E’ Team.

In 1971 Negishi was appointed the permanent Director of the Shito Kai Federation of Japan. He held the position until 1983. He was also appointed a Class ‘A’ Judge by FAJKO (Japanese Karate-Do Federation). He was also appointed a Class ‘A’ Instructor, Sports Instructor, and Senior Coach by the Japan Athletic Association.

1971 also saw Negishi begin teaching at Waseda University’s Shito–Ryu Karate Club.

On 5 May 1973, Negishi’s grandfather, Kazuzyu Hasegawa, named him the successor of the family’s martial art tradition. He became clan and family head and the keeper of the 10th Generation of the Shinto Kyu Ryu–Taijutsu Jujitsu style.

In October 1976 Negishi led the Japanese team to first place in the Team Kumite event at the 2nd Asian and Pacific Ocean Championships.

On 1 December 1976 Negishi was promoted to 6th Dan by the JKF. He was further promoted to 6th Dan by Manzo Iwata on 1 February 1977.

Negishi began holding seminars and courses outside of Japan in 1976. In that year he visited Indonesia. The following year, he visited Mexico and the United States and conducted several seminars. In the United States, he visited several dojos, including that of Fumio Demura.

Negishi continued holding seminars outside of Japan, in 1978 and 1979. He conducted several courses in Europe, including France, Germany, and Russia. In 1979, he visited Venezuela, where he taught several courses and seminars.

In 1979, Negishi resigned from the FAJKO. Having visited Venezuela, he decided to immigrate to the country. He had fallen in love with the country and its people. Shoko Sato, his classmate from university had settled in the country in 1969.

Negishi settled in the town of Caja Seca, Zuila State. He later moved to the city of Valera, and shortly after that to the city of Maracay State. In Maracay, he opened the Negishi Dojo.

Negishi’s dojo became one of the main centres of Shito-Ryu Karate in his adopted country of Venezuela. In 1984 he established the Japan Karate Do Sosei-Kai group. The association would soon become one of the biggest Shito-Ryu groups in Venezuela.

Due to his wealth of knowledge, Negishi continued to be invited to give seminars and courses. In 1987 he began making frequent visits to Spain.

Negishi eventually changed the name of the Japan Karate-Do Sosei-Kai to the Nippon Budo Sosei Kai in the 1990s. By this time he had integrated elements of Tso into his teaching. The change of the association’s name reflected this. He eventually established the World Sosei Kai.

In 1995 Negishi established the Negishi Cup, a national tournament in Venezuela.

Between 11–12, March 2000, Negishi travelled to Barcelona where he conducted a course for around forty black belts.

In 2010 a serious illness forced Negishi to take a break from teaching Karate. He was eventually forced to retire.

On 1 September 2012, Yuichi Negishi died in his adopted home in Venezuela, aged 71. At the time of his death, he had been promoted to 9th Dan.

Eiji Negishi inherited the legacy of the Hasegawa family style from his father. Masakazu Nakayama became the head of the World Sosei Kai.

On 30 September 2018, a tribute was held for Yuichi Negishi. It was held at the Pavinder Hotel in Venezuela and was organised by the International Sosei Association.

Yuichi Negishi has left a legacy of Shito-Ryu Karate in Venezuela. Many of his students have continued to follow his teachings.

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