I first heard the name Tatsuo Suzuki back in the late sixties, my brother had been training in Kenpo karate but when he saw Suzuki Sensei giving a demonstration on Irish National Television he changed over to Wado karate, this was in 1966.
I started training in Wado karate in 1973, I was 13 years of age and a 6th kyu green belt when I first meet Suzuki sensei but I had heard so much about this man, it was like I new him all my young life, but I was still very nerves. When he walked in to the dojo I just felt so calm but the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up, I knew then that this was someone very special. His Karate was brilliant; it was like his body was specially made for karate technique.
As the years rolled by I trained under Sensei many times but I never took it upon my self to talk to him. In 1984 I traveled to Japan for the 50 th anniversary of Wado, one day we were visiting the Emperor's palace grounds, Sensei came up to me and began asking me how I was and was I enjoying myself. H e made me feel very special that day taking time out to talk to me.
We were training in tanto dori one evening in Dublin , it was number 1, and Sensei came down to correct us. He asked me to attack him, I had attacked many senior Instructors in this technique before, as usual I was ready to roll out of the throw but before I knew what was happening my back hit the ground, this had never happened to me before or since.
On another occasion Sensei asked me to try to kick him with a roundhouse kick to the head, which I did as fast as I could but Sensei just slipped in side the kick and kicked my standing leg away, again I landed on my back not knowing what had happened.
Sensei never used brut force but pure Wado technique. This is what makes him a true Wado Ryu Master.
Suzuki Sensei worked very hard to keep our Wado pure as though by Otsuka Sensei and he brought together like minded karate-ka from all over the world as a family to help in this task.
Sensei helped me many times over the years; he was always there for me with advice and guidance. His real help to me was the inspiration I got from him every time I train with him.
I feel I am very lucky to have trained under Sensei but also to have sat down talking with him over a glass of Guinness. I once asked him after he had just done a demonstration on Irish national television if he ever gets worried before a demonstration?
His answer was, NO! I train everyday for months before hand so my body knows what to do I do not have to think so I do not worry.
Tatsuo Suzuki Sensei was a hard karate instructor but he was always a gentleman and gave his time to everyone from the very young to the old and I am very proud to be his student. It is said that you should never meet your heroes as they may let you down but as a 13 year old I met my hero who became my instructor and never let me down.
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