Our senior instructor will be Kuramoto Sensei, a senior at the Higaonna Dojo in Naha, Okinawa, who has been a student of Morio Higaonna Sensei for more than 40 years.
Masakazu Kuramoto was born on the island of Yonaguni, far to the south of the main island of Okinawa, but moved to the Japanese mainland for his education, where he graduated from high school in Nagasaki. He then studied economics at Meiji University in Tokyo-a highly regarded institution founded in 1881. He began his karate training with Higaonna Sensei at the infamous Yoyogi Dojo in Tokyo.
At the age of twenty-seven, he returned to his homeland of Okinawa and went to work as the personal secretary to the Governor of Okinawa (1978 – 1990) Junji Nishime.
When Governor Nishime left office, he returned to executive positions in private industry. Kuramoto Sensei’s teaching schedule is intense as he regularly trains students in Russia, South America, Australia. He is also a great favourite of the students that we take to Okinawa for training every year.
As his own teacher is considered one of the best karate men in the world who was awarded the title of Living Intangible Cultural Treasure of Karate in 2013, the level of his karate is exceptionally high. His regular training in hojo undo has made him extremely fit and strong, and his basics and kata are also superb.
More to the point, he has the reflexes, speed and instincts of a fighter who has clearly been moulded by the traditional karate training process.
If you were not already persuaded, Kuramoto Sensei also has a well developed, wry sense of humour which, while not immediately evident, really does exist below his stoic and rather foreboding exterior.
Okinawa Prefectural Hall of Martial Virtue (Budokan).