Karate (karatedo) is arguably the most famous Japanese martial art. Karate training focuses on developing defensive and counterattacking body movements. While fighting and self-defense are key components of traditional karate training, the mental and moral aspects aim to improve the individual as a whole through discipline and persistent effort. A core principle of karate is never to attack first, as emphasized by Funakoshi Gichin, considered the father of modern karate. The term karate comes from the combination of two Chinese characters, “kara” and “te”, meaning empty hand. Sometimes the suffix "-do" is added, meaning "the way/path," of karate, and like all other budo disciplines, represents a complete way of life that extends beyond self-defence. In traditional karatedo, individuals strive to compete and excel against themselves. Karateka are taught the importance of not hurting people, and to be respectful of opponents and training partners. This respect ideally extends beyond the confines of the dojo or arena. Practitioners also learn perseverance, and the value of making efforts to improve their immediate surrounds. Concern and appreciation for others, and a sense of responsibility to society are fundamental components to karatedo’s goal of self-perfection.


Kanazawa Hirokazu

Translated by

 Alexander Bennett 

Step into the world of martial arts mastery with “Karate My Life” by the legendary 10th dan karateka, Kanazawa Hirokazu (1931–2019). In this captivating autobiography, Kanazawa takes readers on an inspiring journey through his life, from his early years in post-war Japan to becoming one of the most respected karate masters in the world. He reveals the profound impact that karate has had on him, and the countless lives he has touched through his dedication to this ancient discipline.

Kanazawa Hirokazu is a name synonymous with karate excellence. Having trained under such luminaries as Nakayama Masatoshi and Funakoshi Gichin, Kanazawa dedicated his life to practising and teaching karate in Japan and around the world. 

This book offers an intimate look into the mind and heart of a true martial artist, and what it takes to succeed. Kanazawa discusses the challenges he faced, the moments of triumph, and the personal philosophies that guided his journey to becoming a karate legend. Readers will gain valuable insights into the discipline, resilience, and unwavering dedication required to achieve greatness in any field.

“Karate My Life” is not just a memoir; it’s a guide to life’s most important lessons through the lens of martial arts. Kanazawa’s wisdom extends beyond the dojo, teaching us about the power of perseverance, the importance of humility, and the rewards of a life lived with purpose.

“Karate My Life” is a testament to the profound impact that martial arts can have on a person’s life. Whether you’re a karate practitioner, a fan of martial arts, or simply in search of an inspirational and captivating autobiography, this book promises to be a cherished addition to your library.

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Translator’s Note


CHAPTER 1—A Father’s Wisdom

  1. Kanazawa Hirokazu
  2. Father’s Wisdom
  3. Nature as Teacher
  4. To Scold with Compassion

CHAPTER 2—Revenge

  1. Revenge
  2. Yasuo
  3. The Duel

CHAPTER 3—Karate Encounter

  1. Karate Encounter
  2. Rules of Engagement
  3. The Ideal Karate Club

CHAPTER 4—Takushoku University Karate Club

  1. Takushoku University Karate Club
  2. Dorm Life and Post-war Karate
  3. The Sumo Geezer and Beyond
  4. The All-Night Pilgrimage

CHAPTER 5—Japan Karate Association Instructor’s Course

  1. The Film
  2. First Apprentices at the JKA Instructor’s Course
  3. The First National Karate Championships and My Broken Hand.

CHAPTER 6—Mission Hawaii

  1. Mission Hawaii
  2. Building the Foundation for Hawaiian Karate
  3. Two Precious Weeks in Okinawa
  4. Teaching in the UK

CHAPTER 7—Come Home

  1. Nakayama Shihan in Europe
  2. The African Continent
  3. Come Home


  1. The 2nd World Championships
  2. Jomei
  3. Break-up with Nakayama Shihan

CHAPTER 9—Shotokan Karate-Do International Federation

  1. SKIF
  2. More Trips Overseas

CHAPTER 10—The Never-Ending Road

  • The Spirit of Oss
  • The Never-Ending Road


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