Masatoshi Nakayama, Former Chief Instructor of the JKA - Japan Karate Association was born on April 13th 1913, and came from a Martial Arts background, and it wasn't unnatural that he would gravitate towards the Martial Arts since his ancestors were renown practitioners of kenjutsu (the art of swordsmanship). Upon entering Takushoku University in 1932, Nakayama Sensei came under the instruction of Gichin and Yoshiyaka Funakoshi, and it wasn't long until he made the decision to decided his life to karate, deciding to travel to China to further study and train. The Second World War however had left the dojo in ruins and upon his return to Japan in 1946, Nakayama helped rebuild and in 1949 he helped establish the JKA (Japan Karate Association) and in 1955 a hombu dojo was built at Yotsuya in Tokyo, which then led to sub branches being open widely thoughout Japan. With a group of karateka, Nakayama helped develop the teaching methods of shotokan karate, which saw the art being scientifically studied and understood, laying the foundations of an understanding that developed the art further. He established an instructor’s programme, which was and remains incredibly successful, and it is because of this programme the art was spread so effectively throughout the world, reaching even the smallest of countries. Along with others he also developed the first ever contest for shotokan karate, which was a major success, which in its own way helped to propagate shotokan throughout the world, bringing limelight to a Martial Art. Also, he made vital contributions such as the ‘Dynamic Karate’ textbook, considered the bible of the art, along with the ‘best karate’ series, which is the definitive kata collection, which today, decades later are the primary reference for many regardless of group. Nakayama sensei is, with an exception of Funakoshi Sensei, possibly the most important and successful man to have promoted karate. He was devoted to the art, and dedicated his life to its promotion and instruction. Until his death in 1987 at the age of 74, he taught and toured the world teaching seminars, spreading karate in his charasmatic way. If one man must be credited for why you can enter any nation in the world and practice shotokan karate, it would have to be Nakayama. He picked up where Funakoshi left off, and left a legacy that few will match.
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