Hidetaka Nishiyama

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in Tokyo in 1928, Hidetaka Nishiyama began his Karate training in 1943 under Gichin Funakoshi, founder of modern Shotokan Karate. Two years later, while enrolled at Takushoku University, he became a member of the university's Karate team and in 1949, its captain. He co-founded the All Japan Collegiate Karate Federation and was elected its first Chairman.
In 1951, after graduating with a Master of Arts degree in Economics, Nishiyama co-founded the Japan Karate Association (JKA) and was elected to the JKA Board of Directors.
In 1952, he was selected as a member of the martial arts combat instruction staff for the United States' Strategic Air Command (SAC) Combat Training Program. In this program, SAC personnel received training in Judo, Aikido and Karate from top martial arts instructors including Gichin Funakoshi, Masatoshi Nakayama and Isao Obata.
In 1953, SAC invited Nishiyama as part of a ten-member Budo Mission from Japan to visit SAC bases in the United States for three months to give instruction in the martial arts.
In 1960, Nishiyama's book "Karate: The Art of Empty-Hand Fighting" was published and even today, is considered the definitive textbook on the subject. Now in its 80th printing, it is believed to be the best-selling Karate textbook in history.
In 1961, Nishiyama came to the United States on the invitation of SAC Karate students and JKA members residing in the country. That same year, he organized the All American Karate Federation (AAKF) as a nationally based amateur Karate organization. In November 1961, he organized, under the control of the AAKF, the first National Karate Championship in Los Angeles, California where he also established his dojo. Since then, Nishiyama has been a major force in the propagation of the JKA-Shotokan style of Karate in the United States and abroad.
In 1965, Nishiyama organized a cooperative effort of the major Japanese Karate styles that led to the first United States vs. Japan Goodwill Karate Tournament, the first truly international Karate competition.
Then in 1968, Nishiyama organized the first World Invitational Karate Tournament held at the Los Angeles Sports Arena in conjunction with the Olympic Commemorative Tournament in Mexico City, hosted by Mexico Karate Federation. A conference that took place during the tournament culminated in the formation of an international Karate organization that would hold its first World Championship in Tokyo.
In 1970, during a reorganization of the AAKF as the Traditional Karate governing body, the JKA Karate group separated and became the JKA-US part of the AAKF. Nishiyama continued as Chairman of the JKA-US and also Chairman of the AAKF. In April of the same year, the AAKF became a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee. In 1973, Nishiyama co-founded the Pan American Karate Union (PAKU) and was elected its first Chairman with the first PAKU Championship held in Rio de Janeiro.
Based on a 1968 agreement during a Mexico City conference, tournaments were held in Tokyo (1970) and Paris (1973), but these World Championships resulted in disagreement caused by the lack of formal international organization. An international meeting in New York City then resulted in the formation of the International Amateur Karate Federation (IAKF). With Nishiyama as Executive Director, the IAKF held its first World Championship in Los Angeles in 1975.
In 1976, Nishiyama oversaw the formation of the Mediterranean Karate Championship Committee and the Bolivian Karate Federation. Also that year, acting on behalf of the IAKF, he submitted an application to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) seeking Olympic recognition for Karate.
In 1977, Nishiyama supported the formation of the Central America/Caribbean Karate Confederation and the Asia/Oceania Amateur Karate Federation.
In 1979, in accordance with U.S. Public Law regulating national amateur sports governing bodies, the All American Karate Federation was succeeded by the American Amateur Karate Federation, a public benefit, non-profit corporation and Nishiyama was elected its first President.
In 1981, Nishiyama lent support to the formation of the South American Karate Confederation and the North American Karate Confederation.
Then, in 1985, the IAKF changed its name to the International Traditional Karate Federation (ITKF) because the word "Karate" had become a generic term applied to a variety of kicking/punching sports. The ITKF, under Nishiyama's direction, wanted to make it clear it was the governing body of Traditional Karate. This was confirmed in 1987 when the IOC confirmed that the ITKF was the sole governing body for Traditional Karate.
In recognition of Nishiyama's decades of effort on behalf of Traditional Karate and his contribution towards the physical and psychological health of Americans through Karate, the U.S. National Flag was flown over the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on October 10, 1999 on the occasion of his 71st birthday.
In May 2000, Nishiyama was further honored when the Nishiyama Cup was held in Moscow, the first official Karate event conducted in Russia since the end of the Soviet Union.
Then in November of 2000, the Emperor of Japan awarded Nishiyama with "Kun-yoto" – Fourth Order of Merit and was decorated with "Zuiho-sho" The Order of the Sacred Treasure – for his many contributions to promote Japanese culture through Traditional Karate.
In addition, the Republic of Poland honored Nishiyama in October 2001 when the President of the Republic of Poland, Mr. Aleksander Kwasniewski, bestowed upon him one of the highest medals in Poland, the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, on the occasion of the first Traditional Karate World Cup.
Because of his superior technical expertise and disciplined instruction, Nishiyama's reputation has spread worldwide. He has trained thousands of students, many of them now well known themselves as national and international champions and instructors.
Nishiyama continues to instruct daily at the National Karate Institute (NKI), also known as the Los Angeles Central Dojo, and travels frequently to conduct seminars and courses around the United States and abroad.
Despite a heavy teaching and travel schedule, he continues to steadfastly pursue the study of the original Karate-do technical training systems in order to better integrate those fundamental concepts into modern methods of instruction.
The year 2005 marked the completion of his over three decades long study. He said, "At this time, I am very proud to have finally completed this lifelong project and have confidence that we can now pass on the true art of Traditional Karate to future generations. Now it is your time to meet the new challenges and accept the opportunities offered by this body of knowledge so that Traditional Karate may continue to grow and develop for the benefit of all that strive for higher levels of understanding both mind and body."

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7/17/2010 9:07:31 PM | I had the honor of having Mr. Nishiyama as the head grader in our belt exams. Though I was very young when he came to our school, I could very a sense of power from him that was almost overwhelming but also a extreme sense of peace from him. When you shook his hand it felt as though it was crushing you yet it was gentle. I have never met any human being that I have had as much respect for as Mr. Nishiyama and I will always remember the foundation that he gave me to proceed on in life and the skills and desire to cross train in other arts. Goodbye honored teacher.

Michael Trainor

11/12/2009 12:22:58 AM |  I met sensei Nishiyama on Sept/1967 I remember he was teaching an evening class at AAKF-Dojo Olympic Blvd. Los Angeles. On that evening I was impressed by his karate teaching. By October 11, 1967 I began my Karate training,Master Hidetaka Nishiyama become my role model, also during my trainig-years I learned from his teaching the (5) karate principles: character, sincerity, effort,etiquette and self-control. Since then Shotokan Karate became a vital and important part of my life for ever, thanks to sensei Nishiyama. Every day I do the "bow ceremony" with my respect to sensei Nishiyama. In 1967 I had the honor to initiated my karate training under the teaching of two great intructor; Master HIdetaka Nishiyama and also for few years Master Yutaka Yaguchi together in the AAKF-Dojo Olympic Blvd Los Angeles.
Sensei Nishiyama lives in my heart, my condolences to his family.

Doctor. Ruben G. Padilla

5/23/2009 2:56:22 PM | Uno de los grandes nos deja.Nuestras mas sinceras condolencias a la familia y allegados del Maestro Nishiyama.En su momento en nuestra estadia en Japon fue Gracias a este explendido ejemplo de ser humano que pudimos tomar clases y alojarnos en casa de sus parientes.Que en paz descanse.Rudy Presedo ( New York).

Rudy Presedo


Domingo Rodriguez

1/1/2009 3:16:40 PM | our sincere condolences to the family of Master Nishiyama. Sensei Kunio Sasaki and all the PTFK family will surely miss him.

Ruben M. Dumdum

12/19/2008 3:45:51 PM | My deepest condolences to Nishiyama Hidetaka O Sensei Family friens, and fellow karateka, our lost is only physical, his knowledge given to us by him it will live forever, as is our duty to transmit this to future generations of karateka. A fuct not well known is that on November 1, 2003 Nishiyama Hidetaka was awarded with Ju Dan (10th Dan) by the International San Ten Karate Association, said Association has being under the umbrella of the ITKF,AAKF, The award was presented by the Founder Vincent Cruz and the Yudansha of said Association in a special ceremony in Fresno California.

Alex Huichapan

11/27/2008 9:23:49 AM | Another one of the great Masters passed away; after Nakayama, then Miyazaki, Kase, Enoeda... Nothing can stop that. But eternity is given to their way of karate, followed for ever by mankind. Also humble me trained hard under these Masters. I remember Nishiyama Sensei, at the age of 50, performing a brilliant Niju Shiho kata during the World Chamionships in Los Angeles in 1978; just a few meters from where I was sitting, waiting for my next fight.

Benoy Geoff

11/26/2008 2:59:09 PM | mi tristeza fue grande al enterarme de la muerte de Nishiyama Sensei, un gran hombre que vivia bajo los ideales del Budo. espero en ITKF se emntengan sus ideas y direccion de esa organizacion. Oss

Nestor Cubas

11/19/2008 6:44:54 PM | A Great Master has passed on,....... we are saddened by the loss of this "World Treasure". MAY HIS WORKS AND DEEDS BE MADE KNOWN TO ALL OF MANKIND,EVEN UNTO THE GENERATIONS THAT FOLLOW

Thomas G Mitchell

11/18/2008 8:23:45 AM | its been a day of mourning to hear the passiing away of this legendary grandmaster,,master nishiyama,,i had the rare honour and priviledge to meet him in Losangeles,thanks to our master and president ITKF -Srilanka ,master J.B.Dedunupitiya.. i hope and will give my maximum effort to support the ITKF legend to Perpetuate ,to flourish the prospects of our dear grand master

milindu chanaka makandura

11/17/2008 8:38:00 AM | Our prayers and thoughts are with Master Nishiyama"s Family
Jerry Holt Isshinryu Karate-Do Minneapolis MN

Jerry Holt

11/17/2008 8:37:22 AM | We at USA Martial Arts Center and on behalf of World Kanzen Budo Kai Federation are sad to hear of the passing of Master Hidetaka Nishiyama. Too bad we must, some day, say good-bye to these great figures of world of martial arts community. It is truly a loss for the entire world; as their influence reaches beyond the dojos. And our prayer goes out to his family, friends and students.
This is a big loss in the Martial Arts world.
With Respect and Honor,

Morteza Alborzi

11/17/2008 8:36:29 AM | It is indeed sad to hear that the Living Karate-Do Legend Master Nishiyama is no longer with us.
I have trained with him and he was/is a true legend.
We all miss him.
Deddy Mansyur
Shotokan Karate-Do
University of Houston

Deddy Mansyur

11/17/2008 8:35:40 AM | as a young airman in the 1950s i was fortunate to study directly under mr nishiyama and mr okazaki. they would ride the train up to fuchu air station to teach us because they wanted to introduce karate to the US thru us. we were the fuchu karate club and looking back ill say we never knew how good we had it. they always liked to go to the snack bar after the lessons and they would tell stories and talk karate. i have been out of karate for many years now and have been out of touch with mr nishiyama. i have often thought of him and wondered how he was doing.his passing has come as a shock to me as im sure other members of the old club.he was a part of my youth and some how i thought he would go on forever. i will miss you sensei.

charles collinsworth

11/12/2008 6:22:06 PM | La Asociacin de Ligas de Cinturones Negros de Venezuela (ALCNV EDV) se une al duelo del Maestro GRANDMASTER HIDETAKA NISHIYAMA desde caracas Venezuela, lamentamos mucho el haber perdido a tan excelente maestro leyenda de artes marciales de todo los tiempos mis mas sentidas condolencias, GRANDMASTER LIC. CARLOS A. GUACHE DI

Grandmaster Lic. Carlos A. Guache



11/12/2008 6:21:02 PM | My condolences are sent out to the people who were affected by Nishiyama"s passing. He was a pioneer in the style of Karate and his contributions will be felt for future generations to come. !

Johnny Hunter

11/12/2008 12:16:38 PM | It"s a great sorrow for all karate people in the world.
He was my only role model since I have read his book when I was a teen ager in Korea. I had a chance to visit his class at Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles and personally met him on Jan. 1968. it was a great honor. He is a true and pure traditional karate teacher who taught the principles of Martial Arts.
A great Karate teacher who stays in our memory forever...... Master Kim Soo
Kim Soo Karate, Inc.
Founder of Chayon-Ryu Martial Arts
Houston, Texas

Pyung-soo Kim ( Kim Soo)

11/12/2008 12:15:53 PM | Too bad we must, some day, say good-bye to these great figures of our martial arts comunity. It is truly a loss for the entire world, as their influence reaches beyond the dojos. On behalf of Team Elite of Team Karate Centers, Woodland Hills, California, my condolences.

Bill Null

11/12/2008 12:15:22 PM | My condolences on Mr. Nishiyama"s passing. He will be missed. A true contributor to the Martial Arts world.

Chad Hamblin

11/12/2008 12:14:53 PM | My prayers and thoughts to his family and Students.Being that I started in Chinese Goju Karate it was my foundation at that time that has brought me more to understand the system that has been taught to me by my teacher Joe Musse in the Wing Chun Kali thatI presently teach in Westchester,N.Y...I believe that all arts is a self expression of oneself in a form of liberation to a totality of Spiritual freedom..So with this it"s a great loss to all of us that Sensei Nishiyama"s has left this world..Peace to all and God Bless..

Sifu/Guru Angel E. Mercado,Jr.

11/12/2008 12:14:08 PM | I met Master Nishiyama in the late 1960"s when he enthusiastically attempted to teach me how to do a side kick, I was impressed with his teaching. I felt he was a great example of what a Karate Master should be.
May his memory serve as a blessing to his family and students

Harvey Kurland

11/11/2008 4:07:33 PM | My Sincere Condolences to all who love Karate, and respected Master Nishiyama, for this great loss. He will greatly be missed as he was of the greatest. May he Rest in Peace.

Reza Pirasteh

11/11/2008 9:26:14 AM | It is truly a sad day when we have to say goodbye to a martial arts legend and great master. My thoughts and prayers go to Master Nishiyama"s family and the whole martial arts world.

Farshad Azad

11/11/2008 9:25:48 AM | May God grant you all the comfort of his holy spirit in this time of loss.

ralph a. kern

11/11/2008 9:25:23 AM | On behalf of Zen Karate, I would like to express my sincere condolences to Master Nishiyama"s family. May his soul rest in peace

Renshi. Senbag Rajamani

11/11/2008 9:24:58 AM | I am terribly sorry to hear this news. Nishiyama sensei was truly one of the greatest karate masters of all time and his contributions to the art of karate are immeasurable.
He will be sorely missed. I pray the the ITKF will carry his light and tradition forward.

Phillip Starr

11/11/2008 9:24:24 AM | We at Texas Karate Academy are sad to hear of the passing of Master Hidetaka Nishiyama and our prayer go out to his family, friends and student"s. This is a big loss in the Martial Arts world. With Respect and Honor, Kyoshi Bob Brewer and students..

Kyoshi Bob Brewer

11/11/2008 9:24:02 AM | My Sincere Condolences to All who loved, admired and respected Master Nishiyama. He was truly one of the All Time Greats! May he Rest in Peace.
With Respect, David Peterson
"Melbourne Chinese Martial Arts Club"

David Peterson

11/11/2008 9:23:28 AM | dear masters around all world we going to los an great pionner of martial art in world and we will miss him much nishiyama more than master he is school and eash master how lett us they lett behand them great students

boutafgha aziz

11/11/2008 9:22:19 AM | We are Humbled by his ability & his contribution to his art & this world I *BOW* with much respect to a warrior,My prayers and thoughts are with Master Nishiyama"s family. Sir you will never be forgotten.

Mr.Traylor Master Combat Instructor

11/11/2008 9:21:07 AM | Cada vez que un hombre, de la talla del Gran Master, NISHIYAMA,deja la tierra, nos deja un gran hueco, esperemos que hotro hombre Igual o especial llene ese hueco, que siempre tendra una area sin cubrie, mis mas sentidas condolencias para la Familia del Sensei Nishiyama. Oss..!

Oscar Benavente

11/10/2008 10:37:01 PM | What a giant in our industry, Our prayers and thoughts are with Master Nishiyama"s family. I first became aware of his impact back in the early 80"s while training with Master Shimabuku in Isshyn Karate, he spoke very highly of him. A true pioneer that will be missed.

Master Dan Anderson

Web Site: http://www.hidetakanishiyama.com/
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hidetaka_Nishiyama

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