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Shinji Akita in Malta: A Seminar Report

Shinji Akita in Malta

Shinki Akita hold a seminar in Malta. The focus of the course laid on efficient technique and mindful bodywork. A seminar report by Luke Rocco

Between October 18 and 20, 2019, Shotokan Karate-do Association Malta hosted world-renowned Shinji Akita Sensei, 6th Dan, to lead a training seminar for the first time in Malta. Amongst the 100 Maltese participants, were also international guests from Belgium and Scotland. All came to Malta specifically to join us for this special event.

  • Shinji Akita in Malta
  • Shinji Akita in Malta
  • Shinji Akita in Malta

Focus of the Seminar

The three-day seminar focused on intriguing concepts in Kihon, Kumite and Kata. It emphasized especially on using body bio-mechanics to enhance the effectiveness of technique regardless of age or gender. Akita Sensei’s passion for deep technical knowledge was effortlessly conveyed to all students. He utilized simple, practical exercises that lead to

  • immediate improvement in effectiveness of technique,
  • a gradual progression in mindful bodywork,
  • integrating proper posture, shime and spirit to produce an even more powerful technique.
  • Shinji Akita in Malta
  • Shinji Akita in Malta

Shinji Akita

Shinji Akita Sensei started his karate journey at the age of 12 under Matsuda sensei and Aragane sensei. Then he joined the famous Takudai Karate Club at Takushoku University, Japan. Here he trained under Katsunori Tsuyama Sensei. He later moved to Europe, founding the Shotokan Karate-Do Association International (SKAI). His ultimate vision for the SKAI was to create a platform for high standard, traditional karate regardless of gender, age, race and politics.

  • Shinji Akita in Malta
  • Shinji Akita in Malta

About SKA Malta

SKA Malta always strives to seek further knowledge and promotion of true traditional Budo-Karate. We give this opportunity to all who want to grow within their martial art journey, irrespective of any political backgrounds. We would like to thank Akita Sensei for sharing his exceptional knowledge throughout the seminar. His dedication and genuine approach towards teaching traditional Karate made it a truly memorable event for all.

We also wish to thank: The Shotokan Times, ST Hotels, Media-Link, Union-Print and Chamar D Owl Photography for their outstanding support at Sponsoring this Event.

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Master of the Masters: Katsunori Tsuyama

The picture shows Katsunori Tsuyama the head coach of Takushoku University karate club called Takudai.

Katsunori Tsuyama is by far the master of the masters. In this article we are going to portray this extraordinary Shotokan master. By Dr. Christian Tribowski

Have you ever thought about who the master of Shotokan masters might be? Who trains or has trained, for instance, Tatsuya Naka? The answer is: Katsunori Tsuyama.

Although he is widely unknown – except for some experts – he has been one of the most important figures in Shotokan over the last 50 years. The reason for his importance is that he has been coaching the famous Takudai Karate Club at Takushoku University in Tokyo. In this position he formed many excellent Karateka like Tatsuya Naka, Manabu Murakami, and Richard Heselton.

Who is Katsunori Tsuyama?

Katsunori Tsuyama and Takushoku University

Katsunori Tsuyama (津山克典) was born in Saga on the island of Kyushu in 1936. Not unsual for Japan, he got in touch with Karate during his highschool years. He was around 16 when he started to learn Shotokan Karate. Two years later, he moved to Tokyo. Tsuyama became a student at the already very famous Takushoku University. Gichin Funakoshi and Masatoshi Nakayama taught at this institution. While he enrolled in business administration he also joined its Karate club. Only two years later and not in his senior year, he became the captain of the team.

His rigorous training during his university years led him to historical success. At the first ever held JKA All Japan Championships in 1957, he reached the 2nd place in Kumite right after legenday Hirokazu Kanazawa.

The picture shows Katsunori Tsuyama with the famous Takushoku Karate Club. He is squatting second for the right side.
Katsunori Tsuyama with the famous Takushoku Karate Club. He is squatting second for the right side.

From Tokyo to Saga to Tokyo

After he finished his studies in Tokyo, he moved back to Saga and worked as a manager. A few years later, worked for the company of his wife. Besides his business activities he also began to teach Karate. First, he taught at the University of Saga, a local highshool, and at a military academy.

Over the course of the years, Karate became again the major part of his life. In 1968, he got an offer to teach Karate at Takushoku University. He accepted and moved back to Tokyo in order to work as a sports teacher. To professionalize his teaching he enrolled in the faculty of sport science at the University for Education in Tokyo.When he passed the exam he became head coach at his alma mater Takushoku University. At the same time, he was teaching at the Honbu Dojo of JKA.

During this time, he also taught Karate at the JKA headquarter. Many famous instructors learnt in his class. Amon them were Hideo Ochi, Masao Kawasoe, Hideo Yamamoto, Tomio Imamura, Tatsuya Naka, and Yuki Mimura.

Head Coach at Takudai

Since the death of Masatoshi Nakayama, Katsunori Tsuyama leads as head coach the Karate education at Takushoku University. In this capacity he has formed many extraordinary Karate within the JKA, SKIF and JKF. Although Tsuyama Sensei has reached 83 years now, he is still active and teaching. Even abroad he has given seminar in the last 10 years.

Katsunori Tsuyama: Master of Kihon

Master of Kihon characterizes the style of Katsunori Tsuyama best. His major focus lies on basic training. Kata and Kumite always come second. Only when the body has memorized the right execution of a technique it will be really effective. For some this might be tedious. But Katsunori Tsuyama describes his approach in following way:

“At the end there is only one thing that is Kihon. Many complain about the monotonous basic training. The body may, however, be aware only by a uniform constant repetition of movements. One should look for the connection of conscious art and physical strength. The technique must be so trained that it settles in the subconscious. If it is needed, it shoots out, as easy as if you were speaking a word.”

Katsunori Tsuyama

To get an idea of him and his way of training for yourself, we have attached the following video. If you see some familiar faces in the video, please, write their names in the comments. Sorry for the poor quality.