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.
THE LEGACY CONTINUES
Left to right: Shihan Asai & Jan Knobel sr. – Jan Knobel jr. & Shihan Asai.
Jan Knobel 9th Dan began his karate training in Holland in 1970, where he was influenced by his Japanese instructor Miyazaki Satoshi 8th Dan to continue with a karate journey that would become his life.
Knobel sensei was a formidable tournament participant where he became Dutch National Champion on several occasions, JKA (Asai faction) European Champion, and finally JKA (Asai faction) World Champion 1996. He has also coached his squad through to places in several European and World Championships.
As a former member of the JSKA, he was certified as a member of their Shihankai by Abe Keigo 9th Dan and he is a Fellow, Technical Committee member and holds the shogo: Hanshi with the International Shotokan-Rye Karate-Do Shihankai.
During his 50 years+ in karate, he has trained with some of the most senior Japanese instructors in the world both at in Europe and Japan to include such notables as Nakayama Masatoshi 10th Dan, Kase Taiji 9th Dan, Shirai Hiroshi 9th Dan, Enoeda Keinosoku 9th Dan, Abe Keigo 9th Dan and Yahara Mikio 8th Dan however one of the main influences was to be Asai Tetsuhiko 10th Dan, former JKA Technical Director and founder of Asai Ha.