JKA Karate Kumite – Japan
Music from Matrix: Club to death
Japan Karate Association (日本 空手 協会; Nihon Karate Kyokai; JKA; sometimes referred to simply as Kyokai 協会 in Japan) is one of the most influential Shotokan karate organizations in the world. It is also one of the oldest karate organizations continuously in operation until the present.
Gichin Funakoshi played a major role in introducing karate from Okinawa to Japan, adjusted to reduce injury and merged with approaches for athletic training. On May 27, 1949, some of his senior students, such as Isao Obata, Masatoshi Nakayama, andHidetaka Nishiyama, formed a karate organization dedicated to research, promotion, events management, and education: the Japan Karate Association. Funakoshi, then around 80 years old, held a position equivalent to emeritus chief instructor. Nakayama was designated as the chief instructor.
The JKA emerged from karate clubs at Japanese universities located in the Tokyo region. Most of these universities, however, distanced themselves from the JKA during the 1950s. Takushoku University always kept strong ties with the JKA, being the alma mater of many of the senior JKA instructors, such as Nakayama, Nishiyama, Okazaki, Asai, Kanazawa, and Enoeda, who were responsible for the JKA’s consolidation during the 1960s and 1970s.
General uneasiness on how karate was taught by the JKA instructors and disagreements on Funakoshi’s funeral arrangements in 1957 motivated some of the senior karateka connected with Funakoshi, but not associated with the JKA, such as Shigeru Egami, Genshin Hironishi, and Tsutomu Ohshima, to form their own organizations, such asShotokai and Shotokan Karate of America). They claimed to practice Shotokan karate closer to what Funakoshi taught, as compared to the JKA style. The JKA Shotokan approach is also based on Funakoshi’s karate, but with significant adaptations introduced mostly by Nakayama, who was JKA chief instructor until his death in 1987. Under Nakayama’s leadership, a generation of respected instructors spread karate worldwide, guided from the JKA’s headquarters in Tokyo.
Nakayama’s books, which include Dynamic Karate and the Best Karate series, are fundamental references on Shotokan karate as practiced under the JKA. Clive Nicol, in his classic book Moving Zen, describes the karate practice at the JKA’s honbu dojo (headquarters training hall) in Tokyo during the early 1960s, from his unique perspective as a western karate student going from white to black belt in a few years.