ASAI Shotokan Association International
Asai Shotokan Association International (国際浅井流松濤館空手協会) was founded by Shihan Kousaku Yokota to promote Asai style bujutsu karate 浅井流武術空手.
ASAI (Asai Shotokan Association International) is a non-profit organization founded by Shihan Kousaku Yokota, 9th dan in 2013. Yokota chose the name of ASAI for the organization as he wished to keep the name of late Master Tetsuhiko Asai (1935 – 2006), one of the greatest Shotokan masters in karate history. This organization is also the first and most successful karate organization that utilizes the internet tool for communication and its promotion.
Tetsuhiko Asai (浅井 哲彦 Asai Tetsuhiko, June 7, 1935 – August 15, 2006) was a prominent Japanese master of Shotokan karate. He was technical director of the Japan Karate Association (JKA), founder and chief instructor of the International Japan Martial Arts Karate Asai-ryu (IJKA), and founder of the Japan Karate Shoto-Renmei (JKS), also known as the Japan Karate Shoto Federation.
In 1958, Asai graduated from Takushoku University, where he was trained in Shotokan style karate and his instructors were: Gichin Funakoshi, Masatoshi Nakayama, and Teruyuki Okazaki. He entered JKA's instructor training program and graduated three years later. Asai won the 1961 JKA championship in kumite, and in kata in the JKA championship in 1963. He was the absolute JKA champion in 1961, taking first place in kumite and second place in kata that year. Asai became the first instructor to introduce karate to Taiwan, being considered the father of karate in Taiwan.
From 1965 to 1970 he taught karate in Hawaii, with his students including Kenneth Funakoshi (Gichin Funakoshi's fourth cousin). Over time, Asai advanced within the JKA, and was appointed as Technical Director.
Tetsuhiko Asai concerned about the tendency to give too much importance to competition in karate, thought that they should emphasize the aspects of karate as a martial art, and that practitioners should try not only to win competitions, but also develop karate skills more deeply to build a healthy body and mental discipline.
Shihan Yokota, 9th dan, was born in 1947 in the city of Kobe, Japan and has extensive martial arts experience of nearly 60 years. Not only does he have over 50 years of Shotokan Karate experience, he has also studied other styles of karate, Goju-Ryu and Kyokushinkai. He is also familiar with the art of Judo and Ki. He has experience with Kobudo (weapons) too; Nunchaku, Sai and Nanasetsubin (7 chain whip) to deepen and supplement his knowledge and skills in Karate-do.
Yokota started his martial arts training in 1960 when he was just 13 years old. He started taking lessons in Judo at the Hyogo Prefecture Police station, where he met a fellow student who also practiced karate. (This student was practicing Judo to further improve his fighting skills.) Yokota was so impressed by him that although he had been training in Judo for three years, he made the decision to switch his training to Karate. Yokota, thus, joined the JKA Prefecture headquarters in Kobe and started his training in Karate-do in 1963.
In 1973, Yokota moved to Philadelphia, PA where he was a full time instructor at the ISKF headquarters, as well as a personal assistant to
Master Teruyuki Okazaki, 10th dan, ISKF Chairman. Yokota was one of the top competitors in the East Coast Regional Tournaments in the 1970’s. In 1981, he returned to his hometown of Kobe to complete his instructor’s training under the late Master Jun Sugano, 9th dan, JKA Vice Chairman. While in Japan, Yokota competed in the Prefecture tournament and won the championship two years in a row.
The style of karate at ASAI is based on Funakoshi/Nakayama JKA style Shotokan with the advanced techniques developed by Master Tetsuhiko Asai which we call Asai ryu karate.
The world famous Master Asai trained White Crane Kung Fu in Taiwan when he stationed there as a dispatched JKA instructor in the 70’s. After learning the techniques from this style, he combined the long distance fighting method of Shotokan and the short distance fighting method of White Crane Kung Fu. He also trained kobudo (Okinawan weapons) such as sai, nunchaku and 9 chain whip. Asai ryu karate is the advanced version of Shotokan karate.
Asai karate supplements that short fall with the techniques from White Crane Kung fu. Master Asai trained this Chinese martial art while he lived in Taiwan in the seventies. Most of those kung fu techniques are not new or unknown to Shotokan karate. They are simply not taught much in their regular training. Thus, they may seem foreign to many of the Shotokan practitioners. Such techniques involving the elbow and knee, short stances such as neko ashi and sanchin, open hand (whip arm and leg) techniques, tenshin (body rotation) techniques and many more.