SHIHAN TAIJI KASE
Following in his father’s footsteps, one of the greatest teachers of Shotokan Karate-Do began to practice Judo when he was 6 years old and by the age of 16 he was 3 Dan.
At that time he saw Yoshitaka practicing Karate-Do in the Shotokan Dojo, sealing his fate and making it crucial for him to choose Shotokan Karate-Do as his life’s choice.
During W.W.II, Taiji Kase, was a trainee in a kamikaze pilot camp. But it seemed that fate intervened with his kamikaze duty, leading to his survival, due to the fact that his scheduled flight coincided with the capitulation of Japan.
After the war, Taiji Kase, was the first and youngest holder of 3 Dan, joining the JKA and fulfilling his wish to be a full-time karate instructor. In 1963, as one of the most qualified Chief Instructors of JKA, he trained younger instructors, such as Shirai, Enoeda and Kanazawa, and led them on a world tour to spread Shotokan karate throughout the world. In 1965 he arrived in Europe and from 1967 until his death in 2004 he lived in Paris.
Though he was a member of JKA and one of the creators of the first competition rules, he never ceased to practice Karate as a Budo martial art. However, the modern development of Karate led to its separation from the Budo concept. His belief was that the development of Karate-Do into a modern to its separation from the Budo concept, causing karate to lose its authentic soul.
Taiji Kase considered sport competition only one phase of further development, due to the fact that competition is only a limited reality of Karate-Do. Competition is restricted by the rules and the referee’s objectivity. In martial art philosophy the mind must be free with no limits, leading to a level above the competition, which is Budo Karate.
His deep affection towards Japanese samurai’s tradition and principles of the Bushido code marked his approach to Shotokan Karate-Do, resulting in a distinguished line of Shotokan karate style that bears his seal, the Kase Ha Shotokan Ryu Karate-Do.
In order to reach a level beyond technique and physical power, Kase Sensei’s approach towards different aspects of practice, such as physical, mental and spiritual, had only one aim and that was to go beyond the limits.
Following his teachers’ ideas and tirelessly searching for ways of elevating his own abilities, Kase Sensei achieved exuberant levels of total energy control. His now legendary and breathtaking demonstrations cannot be logically explained, as they are considered more of a metaphysical phenomenon which brings to question the ultimate human abilities.
Kase Sensei had a precise personal vision and that was to teach Karate-Do free of any sport or political conditioning. Frequent conflicts and changes dominating the world karate scene did not unhinge his vision, which he managed to preserve and pave the way for the development of his own karate style.
Taiji Kase Sensei embodied love towards Karate-Do to which he had devoted his life. The integrity and humility of his behavior, as well as the loyalty towards friends and students made Kase Sensei a precise reference point for those who love Karate-Do above any logos.
His life is exemplary for all those who love Karate-Do, which comes to us directly from Gichin and Yoshitaka Funakoshi. Today it continues to live as the: