Tatsuo Suzuki Hanshi
Founder of Wado Kokusai and Director of WIKF.
1928 - 2011.
I was deeply saddened and shocked to hear of the passing of Sensei Tatsuo Suzuki on the 12th of July 2011.
Sensei was an inspiration to me and always will be, from the first time I trained in his class as a 14 year old child to our last meeting in June 2011.
Sensei Suzuki was unique, his karate was dynamic and he expected the best from his students but he was a gentleman and his contribution to Wado karate is remarkable, the last of the Great Karate Masters.
Sensei will be truly missed, He touched the lives of many people. but his legacy will live on in his Wado Kokusai.
I will greatly miss Sensei. He will always be in our hearts and our Karate.
Professor Tatsuo Suzuki was born in Yokohama in 1928 and became interested in Karate at the age of fourteen. He began training at the YMCA in Yokohama under the supervision of Mr Kazuo Ki mura, one of the leading instructors of Master Hironori Otsuka Wado Ryu Karate style.
He was then taught by Professor Hironor i Ohtsuka, Highest Karate authority in Japan, founder of the Wado-Ryu s tyle of Kara te, at the Osaki Police Station which was the headquarters of Wado Ryu Karate He trained very hard every day and night, he practiced karate with the Masters, Students and the alumni of universities who had come back from World War 11 battlefields.
He also trained himself by attending meetings of various Karate schools with alumni of many universities, such as Mr Masatoshi Nakayama, a former student of Takushoku University. He trained himself intensively even in server winter,
Sensei would practiced karate for 10 hours each day. He would shut himself up in a temple in Akagi Mountain every January for intense training. Within six years of beginning to study Karate and at the age of 19, Professor Suzuki was awarded his third Dan. Before he got the grade, the headquarters of Wado Ryu moved from Osaki Police Station to Master Ueno's Dojo, who was an instructor of Tenshin-Koryu Jujutsu. Later, the Headquarters was moved to Tsukiji Police Station and then finally to Sanko Construction Company's Dojo. Suzuki Sensei became Master Otsuka's assistance and in 1951 he was awarded the then highest grade in Wado-Ryu style Karate - fifth Dan - for his outstanding courage and ability. At this time he was a forth year student at Nihon University. At first he refused the grade because no one had ranked to fifth dan before and he thought he did not deserve it. With a strong recommendation from Master Otsuka he finally agreed to accept the grade.
In addition to his accomplishments in Karate, Professor Suzuki is a second Dan in Tenshin Koryu Bo-Jitsu (stick fighting) and a first Dan in Judo. He has also studied Zen doctrine with the high priests, the late Genpo Yamamoto and Soen Nakagawa at Takizawaji temple in Shizuoka. Suzuki Sensei demonstrated Wado technique in US army camps all over Japan twice a week for several years, accompanied by several students from Nihon University Karate Club. He then went on tour demonstration and teaching karate in Europe and North America in 1963 accompanied by Mr Toru Arakawa and Mr. Hajime Takashima.
After returning back to Japan, he received requests from the USA, Germany, Italy, Spain, Holland and England for him to come to these countries and teach karate. He decided to go to England as he could speak English. He arrived in England in 1965. In 1975 he received his eighth Dan, the highest grade ever given by the Federation of All-Japan Karate-Do organizations, Wado-Kai. In that year he also received the highest Japanese martial arts title of 'Hanshi' awarded to him by an uncle of the Emperor Higashikuni.
Sensei Suzuki founded the first Wado Federation in England and from his base in London he spread Wado Ryu throughout Europe. Overcoming many difficulties, he brought senior students from Japan, taught them how to be instructors and sent them to various European countries. Within just a few years Wado Ryu became the most popular style in Europe.
In 1991 Master Suzuki took over from Ohtsuka Sensei in protecting the essence of Wado Ryu and established the Wado International Karate-Do Federation (WIKF).
The WIKF is a worldwide organisation, formed in 1991. Professor Suzuki's' main aim was to standardise authentic Wado techniques throughout all member countries, as taught to him by the founder, Grandmaster Hironori Ohtsuka. He visited over 85 countries to teach Wado Kokusai Karate
Sensei Suzuki was taken from this earth on the 12th of July 2011, a very sad day for Wado Kokusai.May He Rest in Peace.