Nakayama was born in 1913 in Kanazawa, Japan. His family had a medical background,
his father being a medic in the army and his grandfather was a surgeon in Tokyo.
They were also instructors in the Martial Arts of Japan, his Father studied Judo
and his Grandfather was an instructor in Kendo. As a young person Mr. Nakayama
practiced Kendo, Judo, Swimming, Skiing, Tennis and Athletics.
entrance examinations to Takushoku University, a University that specializes in
preparing students for foreign employment, and arriving there in 1932 he thought
about continuing Kendo. When he visited the dojo he observed karate being practised.
He was fascinated with what he observed and was invited to the next class. As
he would mention later, "I forgot kendo completely".
time Sensei Funakoshi was teaching there and the training was exhaustive. Only
approximately 10% of the students lasted more than six months. The training consisted
of 50 or 60 repetitions of a single kata, and the repetition of 1000 blows to
makiwara. Nakayama's generation who practised Judo or Kendo were accustomed to
several types of encounter where they faced a real antagonist. This experience
was used in the development of karate. In autumn of 1936, Nakayama and other students
of Funakoshi gave the first public exhibition of these new methods of training
in a demonstration in the Civic Centre of Tokyo.
In addition to five daily
hours of practice of karate, Nakayama followed a course in history and Chinese
language. He spent 3 or 4 months in Manchuria during 1933 and returned to China
in 1937 in an exchange program with the University of Beijing, and he remained
to work for the Chinese government. During his stay in China, Nakayama not only
continued practicing and teaching karate, but also studied several Chinese martial
arts. Being in China saved him of the horrors of World War II that were experienced
his return to Japan, Nakayama found that several of his companions of karate,
and the dojo the Shoto-kan, had perished in the war. He began to organize classes
again and, in May of 1949, he helped to set up the Japanese Association of Karate
(JKA). Although Funakoshi was the honorary head of the new organization, he was
81 years old, and chose Nakayama to be the Main Instructor of the J.K.A, which
was fully established in 1955.
In 1952 Nakayama was head of physical instruction
in the J.K.A. and would ascend to director of that section in the future. Under
Nakayama's direction came the creation of karate-do sport, the program of training
of instructors of the J.K.A., and together with Funakoshi, the expansion of karate-do
to the United States and the rest of the world.
Funakoshi died in 1957 and
in 1958 the J.K.A. was approved as a corporation, with a great deal of help from
the young Kanazawa, by the Japanese Ministry of Education. In that same year the
J.K.A held the first all-Japan karate championship tournament, now an annual event,
which helped to establish karate as a competitive sport and bring with it worldwide
popularity and acceptance.
1965 Nakayama's book Dynamic Karate was published which is the major reference
work for Shotokan karate and an important acquisition for any student serious
on learning Shotokan karate.
Masatoshi Nakayama died at the
age of 74 years on the 14th April 1987. Until his death, he continued travelling,
teaching, writing books on karate-do (more than 20), and watching the J.K.A. grow
to a world-wide organization of more than 10 million people in 155 countries.
He was a true teacher of karate-do who completely absorbed all the philosophy,
techniques and ideas of Funakoshi, and spent all his life transmitting them to
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