Kato Shihan was born on July 22nd 1943 in Kochi, Japan. He attended the world famous Takushoku University in Tokyo and trained under Sensei Tsuyama, Kanazawa and Urui. Sensei Kanazawa's influence was very strong and he won a place on the JKA Instructors Course. Upon completion of the Instructors Course, Kato Shihan went to teach in Germany and in 1966 he was sent by the JKA to the UK.
Kato Shihan (Master) has now been resident in England and teaching karate throughout the world for more than 40 years during which time his loyalty was to the late World Chief Instructor for IJKA, Tetsuhiko Asai Shihan 9th Dan, until his sad passing in 2006.
Kato Shihan is the only person to have passed an 8th Dan grading under Asai Shihan, a testament to the technical complexity of Asai's examinations and Kato Shihan’s awesome abilities as a true karate master.
At the 2007 IJKA congress meeting held in Budapest, Hungary, following one year of respect for Asai Shihan 9th Dan, Kato Shihan was asked to take over the mantel of IJKA World Chief Instructor.
In July 2013 Kato Shihan celebrated his 70th birthday but as the above photograph taken in early 2013 shows, age is no barrier, for a true karate master.
Whilst it was Asai Shihan's unbelievable ability to demonstrate his style, it was and is Kato Shihan's ability to interpret and teach, that has seen the organisation grow and gain popularity with the karate instructors who are still hungry for knowledge. His unique style of teaching and, attention to the historical detail of Shotokan karate make his coaching seminars a must for every serious Shotokan karateka.
Kato Sensei is known for his technology for applying basic techniques in which both hands work in a typical way. Thanks to this technology, the same technique can be used in numerous ways and applied simultaneously, both as protection against different attacks at different levels and as an attack. This is how Kata applications of Kato Sensei becomes alive, constantly changing and applicable to various attacks from different directions. Recently, many schools and organizations outside IJKA have been adopting and implementing this technology.
Other developments include his 5th dan diploma work, known today as Kanazawa no bo, and Kata series of training for different stancees, how to move around in them, and different ways of working with the hips, legs and feet:
Zenkutsu dachi no Kata Include 4 types of zenkutsu dachi and different methods of hips, legs and feet work.
Kiba dachi no kata
Kokutsu dachi no kata
Sanchin dachi, Hangetsu dachi, Fudo dachi no Kata
UchiHachiji dachi, Kake dachi, Sagiashi dachi no Kata
Kata for beginners:
Dai Itsu ken for 12kyu
Dai Ni ken for 11kyu
Dai San ken for 10kyu
Dai Yon ken for 9kyu
So-rin Dai ikken
So-rin Dai nikken
It is known that Asai Sensei planned to create a few more Kata, but unfortunately one life is not enough to develop his potential in Karate. Based on the names of these Kata, left behind by Asai Shihan and the principles of his Karate, based on his personal experience in 2009. So far, Kato Sensei has been developing several Kata as a continuation of the legacy left by Asai Sensei. These are:
Fushu (Kaze no te)
Kato Sensei also created Meikyo Sandan based on his research into this lost Kata.
An interview with Sadashige Kato Sensei 9th Dan, Chief Instructor of the International Japan Karate Association.
Enjoy the video interview with the genius of the modern Shotokan Karate Do.
Kato Shihan interview
With grateful thanks to:
Latchezar Nenov - IJKA Bulgaria chief instructor.
Gligor Gligoroski - IJKA Macedonia chief instructor.
Tsvetomir Gospodinov - Funakoshi Dojo instructor.