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Master Hirokazu Kanazawa
 
   

 

Kanazawa was born on 3 May 1931 in Iwate Prefecture, Japan.[4][5][6] He trained in judo during his school years, and held the rank of 2nd dan in that martial art.[3] He began training in karate whilst at Takushoku University under the then-head instructor of Shotokan karate, Masatoshi Nakayama.[5] Kanazawa also learned from the founder of the Shotokan style, Gichin Funakoshi,[7] and is one of the few living karateka (practitioners of karate) to have done so.

Kanazawa was promoted to the rank of 1st dan in Shotokan karate with less than two years of training in the art; promotion to 2nd dan came three years later.[5] In 1956, he graduated from university and joined the JKA.[8] That same year, he was promoted to 3rd dan.[5] Kanazawa won the inaugural All Japan Karate Championship’s kumite (sparring) championship in 1957.[9] He reportedly won the kumite competition with a broken hand.[9] That same year, Kanazawa was among the first to graduate from the JKA's instructor training programme. In 1958, Kanazawa won the kata (patterns) title and shared the kumite title with Takayuki Mikami.[9] Mikami and Kanazawa had been classmates and roommates for a long time and, because they knew each other well, they launched a minimal number of attacks, mainly just circling until the time was up; thus, they shared the kumite title.[9]

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