A tribute to Sensei Taiji Kase

Shihan TAIJI KASE  (1929-2004)
Founder of Kase Ha Shotokan Ryu Karate-Do passed away on November 24, 2004 in Paris

But his legend will live on…

One of the last samurais of modern times belongs to history.

Following his father’s footsteps, one of the greatest teachers of Shotokan Karate-Do primarily began to practice Judo when he was six years old and by the age of 16 he was 3rd Dan. At that time he saw Yoshitaka Funakoshi practicing Karate-Do in the Shotokan Dojo, which sealed his fate, making it crucial for him to chose Shotokan Karate-Do as his life choice.

During W.W.II he was a trainee in the camp for kamikaze pilots. It was desitny’s plan that he survived his kamikaze duty due to the fact that the day of his flight coincided with the capitulation of Japan. After the war he was the first and the youngest holder of 3rd Dan, joining the JKA and wanting to fulfill his wish to be a fulltime karate instructor. In 1963, as one of the most qualified Chief Instructors of JKA he trained younger instructors (Shirai, Enoeda, Kanazawa) and led them to a world tour, on mission 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. The modern development of Karate led to its separation from the Budo concept. His belief was that modern, sport development of Karate-Do, leads to its separation from Budo concept  and that  causes karate to loose its authentic soul. He considered sport competition only one phase of development, due to the fact that competition is only a limited reality of Karate-Do. It is restricted by rules of competition and the referee’s objectivity. In martial art’s philosophy mind must be free with no limits. Therefore, there should be a level above the competiton and that is Budo Karate.

His deep affection towards japanese samurai’s tradition and principles of the Bushido code, marked his approach to Shotokan Karate-Do, finally resulting in a distinguished line of Shotokan karate style that bares his seal, the Kase Ha Shotokan Ryu Karate-Do. In his approach to the different aspects of practice (physical, mental and spiritual)  he had only one aim, and that was  to go beyond the limits, in order to reach a level beyond the technique and physical power. Following his teachers ideas and tirelessly searching for ways of elevating his own abilities, he achieved the level of total energy control.

His legendary breathtaking demonstrations cannot be logicaly explained, they are more like metaphysical phenomenon questioning the ultimate human abilities. On the other hand he had a precise and personal choice, to teach Karate-Do free of any sport-political conditionment. He manged to preserve this attitude and survived many changes in the world’s karate policy, which has often poisoned the international karate environment. Taiji Kase Sensei embodied love towards Karate-Do, to which he had devoted his life to. The integrity of his behaviour, the loyalty towards friends and students and his deep humanity, made Kase Sensei a precise reference point for those who love Karate-Do above any logos. A Karate-Do that comes to us directly from Gichin and most of all from Yoshitaka Funakoshi. Today it continues to live as the Kase Ha Shotokan Ryu Karate-Do.