Yutaka Yaguchi

Yutaka Yaguchi


name = Yutaka Yaguchi
residence = Denver, Colorado
other_names =
caption =
birth_name =
birth_date = 14th November, 1932
birth_place = Hiroshima, Japan
death_date =
death_place =
death_cause =
martial_art = Shotokan
teacher =
rank = 9th Dan
students =
website = http://www.iskfmountainstates.com
footnotes =

Yutaka Yaguchi (1932-present) is the Chief Instructor and Chairman of the International Shotokan Karate Federation (ISKF) Mountain States Region. He was born in Hiroshima, Japan in 1932 and began karate training in 1952. He later tested under Master Funakoshi for his first Dan black belt and Master Masatoshi Nakayama for his second through eighth degree black belts. As one of the first graduates of the JKA Instructors Training Program in 1959, he has played an important role in the growth of JKA karate and the internationalization of Shotokan karate. Sensei Yaguchi first arrived in the United States on June 5, 1965 and continues to reside in the US to the present day. In 1974 Sensei Yaguchi founded ISKF of Colorado the regional headquarters for the Mountain States Region.



The Early Days

Yutaka Yaguchi was born in Kure, a suburb of Hiroshima, on November 14, 1932 into a farming family. The youngest of five children, he had a carefree youth but was aware of the clouds of war. World War II intruded upon his life at the end of the war when he was assigned a job at a ship yard. On the morning of August 6, 1945, while he was waiting to enter the factory building at the ship yard, he saw the flash of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. [Mind and Body - Like Bullet p. 1-4]

After the war, Yutaka Yaguchi was able to resume his education, and was even able to go to university unlike many of his former school mates. He went to Nihon University in Tokyo and this is where he first started Shotokan karate. He also joined the JKA at that time. Training was very intense and heavily oriented to conditioning. Mr. Yaguchi graduated with a degree in Marine Biology, but was averse to sailing. After graduation, he found a job with a construction company. [Mind and Body - Like Bullet p. 5]

One day in 1957, Sensei Masatoshi Nakayama asked Mr. Yaguchi to quit his job and join the JKA Instructor Training program full time. Mr. Yaguchi quit his job the very next day and enrolled. When he graduated from the program in 1959, he was the fourth graduate behind Hirokazu Kanazawa, Takayuki Mikami, and Mr. Eiji Takaura. [Mind and Body - Like Bullet p. 10]

The First Tournaments

Although Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of Shotokan karate, was adamantly opposed to tournaments, Masatoshi Nakayama was convinced that the future of karate depended on using tournaments to popularize karate to a worldwide audience. At the first JKA All-Japan Karate Championships in 1957, Mr. Yaguchi achieved the unfortunate distinction of being the first contestant to foul out. [Mind and Body - Like Bullet p. 27] Over the next half dozen years or so, Mr. Yaguchi faced many of the greatest karate competitors, many who have subsequently been recognized as true masters of the art: Hirokazu Kanazawa, Hiroshi Shirai, Keinosuke Enoeda, Tetsuhiko Asai, Takayuki Mikami, etc.

Moving to the United States

Sensei Nakayama sent Yutaka Yaguchi to America in 1965, and he began teaching in Sensei Hidetaka Nishiyama's dojo in Los Angeles. [Mind and Body - Like Bullet p. 53] Soon after, he was invited to teach in Denver, CO by Joe Costello, and he relocated there for about a year, but finances were extremely tight. He returned to California and continued to teach at Sensei Nishiyama's dojo through the late 1960s and early 1970s. Some of the students he helped teach and coach during this time were: Ray Dalke, Paul Hamasaka, Ray Fujikawa, Frank Smith, George and Gene Takahashi, Ray Ochoa, Eddie Shinfuku, Bob Shibasaki, Larry Foglino, Tak Aoki, and Greer Golden. [Mind and Body - Like Bullet p. 60]

The Colorado Years

In 1972, the year Sensei Yaguchi permanently relocated back to Denver, he was the coach for the US team at the 1972 Shotocup World Tournament in France. This was a very controversial tournament that ended up with the US team walking out of the tournament under objections to unfair refereeing. In addition, Joe Costello (the karate instructor who had originally invited Sensei Yaguchi to Denver in 1966) passed away. It was a time of upheaval in the new dojo, with many divided loyalties. After things began to settle down, the dojo began to grow. Some of his dedicated students at that time were Cathy Cline, Lucy Queeney, Mary Johnson, Gary Swain, and Bruce Green.

Formation of the ISKF

Tension among the Japanese instructors in the AAKF, the American organization recognized by the JKA, lead to a heated meeting at the Olympic Motel in Los Angeles in 1977 which resulted in the split of the organization into two. Hidetaka Nishiyama retained control of the AAKF. The only Japanese instructor at the meeting who stayed with Nishiyama was Sensei Masataka Mori. The other five instructors formed a new organization called the ISKF: Teruyuki Okazaki, Takayuki Mikami, Yutaka Yaguchi, Shojiro Koyama, and Shigeru Takashina. [Mind and Body - Like Bullet p. 78] The first organizational meeting was held in Denver, Colorado in 1978.

ISKF becomes independent

In June of 2007, Sensei Okazaki made the decision to split away from the JKA. In this decision, he was supported by Sensei Yaguchi; however, the other three Japanese masters that were part of the ISKF hierarchy decided to remain with the JKA: Takayuki Mikami, Shojiro Koyama, and Shigeru Takashina. As Vice Chairman of the ISKF, and as Chairman of the ISKF technical committee, Sensei Yaguchi plays a central role in the future growth of the ISKF in the United States and around the world.

Published Works

Yutaka Yaguchi with Catherine Pinch. (May 2008) "Mind and Body - Like Bullet", GreenLight Communications ISBN 978-1-57833-400-1


Magazine Articles

Masters Magazine, Summer 2008 "Yutaka Yaguchi: A Cut Above" (Magazine Cover Story and Photo plus Video on included DVD) p. 24 - 29
Shotokan Karate Magazine, July 2005 #84 "Sensei Yutaka Yaguchi" (Magazine Cover Story and Photo)


Notable Students

* James Field, 8th Dan
* Cathy Cline, 7th Dan
* Gary Swain, 7th Dan
* David Jones, 7th Dan
* Larry Loreth, 7th Dan




External links

* [http://www.iskf.com/ ISKF Main Web Site]
* [http://www.iskfmountainstates.com/ ISKF Mountain States Regional website.]
* [http://www.yaguchikarate.com/ Yaguchi Karate]

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