IMA / ASAI

Asai Shotokan Association International (ASAI) was founded by Shihan Kousaku Yokota in 2013 to promote Asai style bujutsu Karate
浅井流武術空手. Independent Martial Arts (UK) and Chief Instructor Andrew Nightingale are founding members.

The purpose and mission of Asai Shotokan Association International (ASAI) and Independent Martial Arts (IMA) is to openly extend traditional Karate-do to help advance practitioners to further understand and develop true bujutsu as seen through functional Karate. Asai ryu Karate and its philosophy is hopefully going to help create “next generation Shotokan”. ASAI & IMA combine a strong Japanese Karate Association (JKA) heritage and foundation based on Funakoshi/Nakayama Shotokan Karate with the added techniques and personal style of Tetsuhiko Asai Sensei including the guiding principles of the Dojo Kun. Asai Karate is unique as it combines the long distance fighting method of Shotokan with a short distance fighting method of White Crane Kung-fu.
 
Master Tetsuhiko Asai created this, his unique style, based upon the powerful long distance techniques of JKA Shotokan and the equally powerful short distance techniques of White Crane Kung Fu. Asai Shotokan Association International – United Kingdom (ASAI) along with the Independent Martial Arts (IMA) group headed by Sensei Andrew Nightingale of the UK are both non-political Shotokan Karate groups and as such we welcome all Karate-ka and dojos who wish to practice advanced Shotokan techniques in an open minded environment and who would like to become members. Membership is open to any Shotokan Karate practitioners regardless of their organisations or Shotokan style. If you are a passionate practitioner of Shotokan Karate and are one day thinking of opening your own dojo maybe we can help start a new generation and way of thinking together! Visit Asai Shotokan Assocation International
 
“Due to many areas of respected and mutual common ground shared between Shihan Kousaku Yokota the founder of Asai Shotokan Association International (ASAI) and Independent Martial Arts - IMA/Nightingale Shotokan Karate (IMA) group, we will be looking to be featuring more reference material about the Tetsuhiko Asai style of Karate and its approach and philosophies regarding Shotokan Karate and Martial Art training in general. We hope by supporting Shihan Yokota and his work will aid students in a refreshing and simple approach which we hope you will enjoy and at the same time learn and increase your Martial Art knowledge”.
Mr Andrew JM Nightingale.
 
 
1) Kumite with Mikami Sensei (left) Asai (right)   2) Asai and Nakayama Sensei    3) Kumite with Kanazawa Sensei    4) Nakayama Sensei  and many JKA notables. Asai is sat 2nd back to Sensei’s right.
 

A short profile on the Late Master Tetsuhiko Asai courtesty of Shihan Kousaku Yokota and on the behalf of the Asai Shotokan Association International community.

Master Asai was born in 1935 in Ehime, Shikoku prefecture, Japan, to a policeman father. Raised in the countryside, Master Asai grew up to become a very strong, fast, and energetic young man. As a young boy, he often practiced Sumo, sometimes competing in the traditional five-man challenge, and winning every time. He also learned Judo, Kendo and the Spear from his father. Even at a young age his athletic ability was easily recognized. A pivotal point in his life came when he was 12 years old. One day he saw a boxer fighting a Karate-ka (a practitioner of Karate) in a real fistfight. Master Asai was highly impressed and intrigued because the Karate-ka’s kick disabled his opponent from any further attacks. Thus the image of Karate became etched in Master Asai’s mind. This event happened just after the end of the Second World War at a time when the Japanese community was uncertain about their future. Master Asai wanted to be both physically and mentally strong. So he started to train in Karate.
 
Master Asai studied hard and gained entrance into Takushoku University. Takushoku highlighted Master Asai’s great determination. One hundred and fifty people started with Master Asai at the Karate club, but within a month they were reduced to only a handful. There was no leisure in the dojo, or at the university at large, just training. Most people could not sustain such a path, but Master Asai persevered and soon he was allowed to live at the Karate dormitory. It was a great honour to be allowed to live there, as all of the renowned Shotokan masters attended and trained at Takushoku University. Master Asai, despite the hardship, was happy that he had a chance to training rigorously and extensively. Others, amazed by him, claimed that the only time he did not train was when he slept.
 
Master Asai graduated in 1958, and Nakayama Sensei insisted he continue his Karate training. So he entered the Kenshusei program (Instructors Course). It was the golden age of the JKA (Japanese Karate Association), with many strong and different characters. He would train with these people daily and it cemented his decision to follow the Karate way throughout his life. This hard training paid dividends and in 1961, in front of the crowned prince, Master Asai became the grand champion (Kata and kumite), beating the favourites, Mikami Sensei and Shirai Sensei. After finishing the Kenshusei program, he became the first person to bring Karate to Taiwan. Later, based on his success, he moved to Hawaii to continue his teaching. After teaching there for five years, he returned to Japan to become the Technical Director of the JKA and he held that position until 1990.
 
Master Asai founded two organizations; IJKA (International Japan Karate Asai-ryu) and JKS (Japan Karate Shotorenmei) in 2000 as a way to further the development of Karate. His focus was on spirit development and not just technique development. He strongly believed in developing one’s spirit as a way to kindness and respect towards others. He had also created wheelchair Karate as a method for introducing Karate to all people regardless of their disabilities. He believed that through this community service, spirit development would be the same for everyone and not only the physically talented or physically fit.
 
Master Asai had spent almost his whole life searching for “The Way”. His Karate path has been likened to a “Thunderous Storm”. He used to say, “People should forget everything and jump head first into what they want to do. Although the average person can’t comprehend such a way of thinking, or to be in such an environment, it is this type of environment that is most essential for one’s success.”
 
If you were lucky enough to see him and to look into his eyes, you could understand the depth of his knowledge. He had eagle eyes, very penetrating, that reflected the unbelievable relentlessness of his training. He had mastered over 150 kata and was technically unparalleled. Master Asai is still a Karate hero in Japan and all over the world.
 
To our sorrow, Master Asai passed away on August 15, 2006. The funeral was held in Tokyo on September 1, 2006. JKS granted 10th degree black belt to late Asai Sensei in September 2006.
 
 
5) Master Asai, head of the JKS, early 2000's      6) Asai Sensei 2002 seminar, Cupertino, California with Shihan Yokota and his students     7) JKA instructors & Nakayama Sensei, mid 1970's
 
Shihan Kousaku Yokota, 8th dan, is a martial artist with extensive experience, a former student of Master Tetsuhiko Asai and is the founder of Asai Shotokan Association International (ASAI).
 
With 50+ years of training and studying Shotokan Karate, he specialises in Asai-ryu Budo Karate; he is always in demand and now travels internationally teaching the ASAI philosophy. Moreover, his wide range of experience also includes training in Kobudo, specialising in the ways of the Nunchaku, practicing and training in the art of Ki and the breathing method by Nishino ryu Kikojutsu.
 
Shihan Yokota started his martial arts training with Judo when he was 13 years old. Three years later, he joined the Japanese Karate Association (JKA) affiliated dojo in his hometown of Kobe, Japan, and started his long journey in Shotokan Karate. He trained under the late Master Sugano, 9th dan who was the vice chairman of the Japanese Karate Association (JKA) and completed his instructors’ training in 1982. In 2002, he followed the late Master Tetsuhiko Asai and joined his organisation the Japan Karate Shotorenmei (JKS), where he remained a dedicated member until 2009.
 
In mid 2013 Shihan Yokota created his organisation “ASAI” (Asai Shotokan Association International) to honour the late Master Asai and to promote Asai style Shotokan Karate around the world after being a life time member of the largest Shotokan Karate organisation in Japan for 40years, the JKA. He is also involved as a partner at ‘Karate Coaching,’ an online Martial Arts instruction service provider based in the USA. He is the author of Shotokan Myths (2010) and Shotokan Mysteries (2013). He co-authored Kata Kyohon Vol. 1-3 (2011 – 2012) and is also a regular contributor to martial arts magazines such as Shotokan Karate Magazine, and Masters and Classical Fighting Arts. Shihan Yokota travels extensively around the world to spread the knowledge and techniques of Asai ryu karate.
 
“Due to many areas of mutually respected common ground shared between the Independent Martial Arts - IMA/Nightingale Shotokan Karate group and its chief Instructor Sensei Andrew Nightingale, Shihan Yokota and the Asai Shotokan Association International, it became a natural evolvement and progression to support and align with Shihan Kousaku Yokota in his ideal regarding his international association”.

Mr Andrew JM Nightingale.