Welcome to SKIF Yudansha Kai
A Message from SKIF Yudansha Kai President Dr Philip Kwok
About SKIF Yudansha Kai
What is SKIF Yudansha-Kai
SKIF Yudansha-Kai is the Official Black-Belt (Dan Holder) Association of the Shotokan Karate-Do International Federation (SKIF) established by order of Soke Hirokazu Kanazawa. It is an alumnus of SKIF Black Belts globally dedicated to promoting and preserving the teachings of Soke Hirokazu Kanazawa. Membership is entirely voluntary but is exclusively reserved for Registered Black-Belt (Dan) Holders of SKIF.
At the Beginning
The inaugural SKIF World Championships took place in Tokyo in 1983, attracting participation from 16 countries. Over the years, the event expanded significantly, reaching 41 countries by the 4th World Championships held in Mexico City in 1991. During this event, Soke Hirokazu Kanazawa introduced me to the idea of a Yudansha Kai and requested that I assume the role of its founding chairman.
Dr Philip Kwok
The story began in 1957 when Dr Phillip Kwok (now SKIF Hanshi 9th dan) embarked on a journey from Hong Kong to pursue studies at MIT and Harvard, ultimately earning a PhD in Physics. While in the United States, he took up employment at IBM and became a member of a Shotokan-style karate dojo established by a colleague.
In 1971, Dr Kwok returned to Hong Kong, coinciding with Sensei Rikuta Koga's (now Chief Instructor of SKIF Switzerland) relocation to Hong Kong for work, where he established a JKA Dojo and became Dr Kwok's student. The subsequent year saw the arrival of Sensei Kenichi Namikata as a full-time instructor, leading to Dr Kwok's appointment as the chairman of the HK Branch. During that year, he was sent to Japan on karate-related matters, where he had his initial encounter with Soke Hirokazu Kanazawa. From that point forward, Dr Kwok visited Hong Kong three times annually and became a profoundly influential teacher renowned for his exceptional character.
It was also during this period that I first crossed paths with Sensei Satoru Iwai, now SKIF International Liaison. Sensei Iwai adhered to unwavering principles while maintaining an open-minded disposition. When he established the SKI Federation in 1978, Hong Kong became the first foreign country to join. Since then, we have collaborated numerous times, including organising the Yudansha Kai seminars at the world championships.
Why Yudansha Kai?
Soke's vision for SKIF Yudansha Kai involved the gathering of SKIF members and practitioners from various martial arts styles to come together and exchange knowledge under his guidance. He observed that many Japanese martial arts organisations had alumni structures based on specific entry requirements. In the case of this alumni group, it was to consist of yudansha, individuals holding a dan grade (black belt). The intention was for karate-ka from around the world to not only gather for competition but also to train together, foster harmony, and contribute to the growth of SKIF through Soke's teachings and philosophy.
The Yudansha Kai operates as a registered company in Hong Kong and is overseen by a working committee. Its financial accounts undergo external auditing annually in compliance with Hong Kong corporate laws.
Yudansha Kai Over The Years
The 1st Yudansha Kai Seminar was held at the 6th World Championship in Italy in 1997. It was immensely successful and appreciated by all as it was held before the dan examinations and tournament. Since then, the Yudansha Kai Seminar has been a fixture at every world championship, including the current one - the 10th Yudansha Kai Seminar.
In 2002, we organised our inaugural residential seminar in Hong Kong, featuring instruction from the esteemed Kancho Hirokazu Kanazawa, Sensei Manabu Murakami, and Sensei Daizo Kanazawa. Karate practitioners from across the globe attended this event. Its purpose and structure served as a precursor to the SKIF International Seminar, which has been held annually in Japan since 2014 until the unfortunate onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Yudansha Kai has been operational for nearly three decades, during which we have facilitated seminars, procured computers for the Honbu office in the 1990s, introduced English lessons for Honbu Dojo instructors, provided financial support for the SKIF All Japan Championships, shared proceeds from Yudansha Kai seminars with Honbu, and made donations towards causes affecting SKIF karate-ka, such as the 2011 Japan Tsunami Appeal and the 2015 Nepal Earthquake Relief Effort.