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- Published: Saturday, 07 October 2006 10:00
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Suzuki Sensei was born in Yokohama, Japan in 1928. At age 14, he joined the YMCA to learn English but discovered they also taught karate. He studied karate under Mr. Kimura, a 5th dan in Wado-ryu and one of the top students of Otsuka Sensei. Suzuki Sensei fell in love with the study of karate and trained directly under Hironori Otsuka, the founder of the Wado-Ryu style of karate. Suzuki Sensei would often train 10 hours per day and would learn from Otsuka Sensei everyday.
At age 19 in 1946, Suzuki Sensei earned his 3rd Dan, and in 1951, he was awarded his 5th Dan by Otsuka Sensei. This was highest grade awarded in Wado-Ryu karate at the time, and it was earned for outstanding courage and ability. In 1963, Suzuki Sensei, Mr. Arakawa, and Mr. Takashima were dispatched by Otsuka Sensei to travel across the world to spread Wado-ryu karate. Suzuki Sensei focused on Europe and in 1964 opened the first Wado Federation in England and based the Wado-ryu European Headquarters in London where he lives today. In 1972, Otsuka Sensei was awarded the highest honor ever awarded to a martial artists\ in Japan. He was bestowed the title of Meijin by the ruling Japanese Royal Family and President of the International Martial Arts Federation.
In 1975 Suzuki Sensei received his 8th Dan, the highest grade ever given by the Federation of All Japan Karatedo Organizations. In that same year he also received the highest title in the Japanese martial arts, Hanshi, awarded to him by the Uncle of Emperor Higashikuni. Suzuki Sensei is the only living Wado-ryu karateka to hold this title. On January 29, 1982, Suzuki Sensei’s mentor and teacher, Otsuka Meijin peacefully passed away after naming his son Hironori Otsuka II as his successor.
Suzuki Sensei continued to train and teach Wado-ryu throughout the world and especially Europe where Wado is one of the most popular styles of karate. In 1991, Suzuki Sensei founded the Wado Kokusai Karatedo Renmei, the Wado International Karatedo Federation (WIKF), in an attempt to maintain the quality of Wado-ryu as taught to him by his teacher, Otsuka Meijin.
In addition to his accomplishments in karate, Suzuki Sensei earned a 2nd Dan in Tenshin Koryu Bo-Jitsu and a 1st Dan in Judo. Suzuki Sensei also studied Zen doctrine with the high priests, the late Yamamoto Genpo and Nakagawa Soyen.
On July 12, 2011 at the age of 83 Suzuki Sensei passed away. His example and dedication continues to be an important part of every student who ever had the honor of training with him.