I was the youngest of 7 children in my family. Each of my brothers and sisters was involved in a variety of different sports and a few were members of …
I am Nagaki Mitsuru and it is nice to e-meet you. Today I would like to share with everyone my karate life experience.Japan is made up of four large islands, Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku and also other smaller islands 6,000 islands.
Our dojo is located in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture in Shikoku, which is the fourth largest island in Japan. Ehime Prefecture faces the Seto Inland Sea. The Seto Inland Sea is dotted with 700 islands and is said to be one of the most beautiful seas in the world.
I was born and grew up in Ehime here. Actually, I started martial arts when I was a kid doing judo and when I was in high school I took my qualification for 3rd DAN. It seemed to suit me and I was confident about my strength. After graduating from high school, I went to study Civil engineering and Technology at Nihon University in Tokyo.At the university, I happened to meet a senior student from my high school who invited me to join the karate club at the university. There was also a judo club right next to the karate club dojo, but I was very curious about another martial arts too, so I took the invitation and joined the karate club, having never trained in it before.
Nihon University has many faculties in many places. For the first year of my studies, my classes were in Narashino, Chiba, and from the second year to the fourth year the campus moved to Ochanomizu, Tokyo.
While being at Narashino, we got to learn first-hand experience from the fellow senior students of Ochanomizu dojo, they would and teach us twice a week. The more, I became involved in Karate, the more I felt I’m loving this martial art. I wanted to practice more often, so every day for my first year of university I would take the train for 1 hour and commute from Chiba to Ochanomizu dojo, just to get a real “taste of karate”.The training at the university karate club was very hard and challenging, especially as we were junior students so the senior student would defeat us every day very strongly.
In addition, the seniority culture was very strict and hard to follow in training, and discipline from seniors to juniors in the karate club was very strict and there were a lot of which was unreasonable things. So everyone thought my behavior was strange as I would show up very happy to the Ochanomizu dojo every day.I remember one day, our senior students said to us that we needed to participate in a joint practice with the Chiba Institute of Technology.
It was the day that Keigo Abe sensei from JKA would come to teach. At that time, Abe Sensei had been an instructor at the JKA Head Dojo and was dispatched to teach karate at 4 universities, including our Nihon University and Chiba Institute of Technology, as well as at the top elite of the Japanese army, the paratroopers.
Abe Sensei had just turned 30 years old in vigor. In those days the JKA had many unique talented karate-ka led by Chief Instructor Masatoshi Nakayama. Even among these karate-ka, Abe Sensei had a special aura. It was rumored that there would be no students left at the JKA HQ dojo when they knew that Abe Sensei’s would teach for that hour.
At JKA tournaments, there were many fans who would come to see Abe Sensei take down his opponents with a single blow. In fact, Abe Sensei’s those days fights often ended by losing with his foul play because the opponent was down.
In spite of losing a match, there was always a big cheer and applause from the audience for the samurai brave figure of Abe sensei who pulls stood up proudly. We used to only watch that in awe as if we were facing a god.
No one was able to win against his simple and orthodox karate style. His simple effortless and basic techniques had been recognized to have tremendous destructive power. It was needless to say, in that training all the students even our seniors were very nervous and fearful to be under the guidance of Abe Sensei.
One day, after a long practice session, one of the seniors introduced the new first-year students to Abe sensei. When I was introduced and it was conveyed that I was from Matsuyama, the same city as him, graduate of the same high school and now in the same university, the same faculty of Civil Engineering and Technology, he smiled happily and said in his Ehime local accent “Really!?” This was my first encounter with Abe Sensei.Since that day, I have continued without fail to practice karate and 50 years has passed in the blink of an eye.
Abe sensei, who I have been following for so long, is no longer there, and I never imagined that I would be the person to take his JSKA to the future which he remained.
I am deeply moved and at the same time, I feel a great sense of responsibility. I’m sure that Master members who have supported the JSKA with Abe Sensei over the years feel the same way. Thanks to them, the JSKA has become one of the most a widespread global organization, one of a kind! It would be a great pleasure to see the JSKA become a place of friendship for members from all over the world, regardless of race, religion, or politics! I wish from here that each member will be able to create many wonderful memories from the karate life we may all share together!