sensei Asai and sensei Jan Knobel (1994)
sensei Kase and sensei Jan Knobel (1985)
Sensei Jan Knobel
The aim of the World JKA Karate Association is to propagate pure JKA Shotokan karate steeped in the teachings and traditional methodology of the Japan Karate Association of the 1960’s through to the early 1980’s, prior to the death of Masatoshi Nakayama, and as outlined in the Best Karate Series.
The concept of the WJKA was first put to an international board in 1994 in Brussels, by Sidoli Sensei and Knobel Sensei at the 2nd JKA Euro-Camp in 1996.
The reasoning for this was the fact that both felt that karate-ka from both sides of the JKA (as prior to political divisions) should be able to train together and test together. They proposed that a neutral and non-political ‘friendship society’ of JKA karate-ka should be created, where no individual association should be in control of any other, allowing autonomy and the freedom to fully develop. Between 1997 and 1999 there were several discussions between the European instructors. At the conclusion of these discussions all seemed keen to try and alma gate in friendship. In 1999, with the agreement of Asai sensei, the WJKA was founded and a concept presented.
The concept was not to create yet another JKA body, but to create a ‘union’ where everyone was in communication, affording everyone access to instruction, regardless of which association an instructor.
A meeting was held in Germany in May 2000 between students of Mikami Sensei, Yahara Sensei, Asai Sensei and Ochi Sensei. All agreed on the need for such an organization in order that JKA Karate could still be enjoyed by all, rather than one association being in total control of the mantle of JKA style karate.
At the 12th (Asai faction) JKA World Karate Championships, held in Cardiff in July 2000, discussions took place between high grade non-Japanese instructors. All agreed with the need to join the international friendship and to draw from the experiences of senior karate-ka from around the globe and at this point the WJKA became effective.
The Legacy Continues
The WJKA proudly takes its roots from two of the most distinguished Shotokan instructors the world has ever seen:
- Nakayama Masatoshi 10th Dan, (1913 -1987) Chief Instructor, Japan Karate Association
- Asai Tetsuhiko 10th Dan (1935-2006) Former Technical Director, Japan Karate Association.
These paths, although from the same roots, function as individual entities within the shotokan system itself and are:
Nakayama Ryu The style of shotokan taught at the JKA up to 1987 whilst Nakayama Shihan was headmaster. It was the basis on which the JKA, in its heyday, ran its teaching syllabus both in Japan and abroad.
Asai Ryu Was developed by Asai Tetsuhiko Shuseki-Shihan, throughout his lifetime and most certainly during his time at the JKA and beyond, and subsequently was taught to his students after he left to follow his own path.
Gichin Funakoshi appointed Master Nakayama, JKA headmaster while Asai Shihan held the position of JKA Technical Director under Nakayama Shihan and was in post at the time of his death in 1987. No successor had been named and a split within the JKA occurred with Asai shihan leading one of the groups. This group was officially disbanded in March 2000.
Asai Shihan dedicated his life to studying and developing his karate, pioneering new techniques and ideas leading to him gaining the title of ‘The Thunderous Storm’. His studies covered a wide range of martial arts and karate styles and it is reputed that he knew and practiced around 140 Kata (forms) some of which he developed himself.
The uniqueness and efficiency of Asai Shihans karate can be attributed to his constant search to make his body as supple as a willow tree. As a direct students of Asai Tetsuhiko, the legacy which is Asai Ryu, continues within the WJKA under the direct guidance of Jan Knobel 9th Dan WJKA President.
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