Tsutomu Ohshima is the founder and "Shihan" (lead instructor) of Shotokan Karate of America and several other Shotokan organizations around the world including France Shotokan, Canada Shotokan, Swiss Shotokan …
Mr. Ohshima was born on August 6, 1930 and from the age of 5 entered the disciplined and rigorous world of Japanese Martial Arts.
Training daily, he practiced sumo from 5 to 15 years old, kendo (Japanese "fencing") from 8 to 15 years old and judo from 9 to 13 years old.
Mr. Ohshima's successful union with Shotokan karate began at Waseda University (Japan) in 1948 when he trained directly under the direction of the founder of the Shotokan style Master Funakoshi until 1953. His training was also influenced by essential seniors such as (in order of seniority):
- Hiroshi Noguchi, Waseda's first captain
- Shigeru Egami
- Toshio Kamata-Watanabe
- Todao Okuyama
Seniors Egami, Kamata-Watanabe and Okuyama later came to the United States to observe and teach SKA members with Mr. Ohshima.
During the "All-Japan Sandan" promotion of 1952, Master Funakoshi personally presented Mr. Ohshima with his sandan (third degree of the black belt), honoring him with the highest score among all participants. Thus in 1952 he became the Captain of the Karate Club of Waseda University, working directly with Master Funakoshi.
Also in 1952, Mr. Ohshima made changes in the arbitration system, changes still in effect in modern competitions. However, for karatekas wishing to participate in these competitions, he warns that this should not be seen as the true expression of karate.
Mr. Ohshima left Japan in 1955 to continue his studies at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where, in January 1956, he conducted his first training in the United States.
In 1957 Mr. Ohshima received his godan (fifth degree of the black belt) from Master Funakoshi, this rank is the highest awarded by Master Funakoshi and still the highest achievable to France Shotokan and all Shotokan organizations in the world.
A few years later, he came to Europe and especially to France where in 1962 he directed courses at the Ste Geneviève mountain in Paris. He trained the pioneers of karate in France (including Jacques Dupré) and the first executives of the Karate Federation at the time section of the French judo federation.
More photos of Ohshima Sensei on Shotokan Karate Magazine