Hideki Okamoto

Today sports Karate has developed, it is a mistake! Sport kills the spirit and the technique of Karate; we must return to the practice of Traditional Karate.

Hideki Okamoto

There are many unsung Karate instructors who have been responsible for the growth and spread of Karate around the world. Hideki Okamoto was one such instructor. A graduate of the JKA Instructors Course, he was responsible for developing Shotokan Karate in Africa and the Middle East. Considered a phenomenal teacher, he was known for teaching self-defence techniques.

Hideki Okamoto was born in Okayama, Japan on 30 July 1941. He graduated from Tsuyama Commercial High School in 1956. It was around this time that he started practising Karate.

Okamoto enrolled at Kokushikan University to study a BA in Economics. He graduated from the University around 1966. He was invited to enrol on the JKA Instructors Course. His main instructors were Masatoshi Nakayama and Hidetaka Nishiyama.

On graduating from the Instructors Course Okamoto started teaching at the JKA Hombu. He also started teaching at the Japan Defence Force, Kokushikan University, and Tokyo Economic University.

Okamoto was part of the first generation of JKA instructors sent around sent abroad to teach Karate. In January 1970 he was dispatched on behalf of the Japanese Government to Syria. While in Syria he taught at the Syrian Central Police College, the Syrian Defence Force, and the Syrian Sports and Youth High Council. He stayed in Syria for five years.

In 1975 Okamoto relocated to Lebanon to teach Karate. The classes he thought were open to men, women, and children. He taught Karate in several locations, including the Lebanese Karate and Judo Federation; the Palestinian Karate Federation; the Jordan Security Force; and the Iraq Force and Army.

Okamoto was invited to Egypt in 1976 by President Anwar Sadat. While in Egypt Okamoto trained police and military forces. He adapted Karate practice into their training curriculum.

In 1980 Okamoto moved to Cairo, Egypt, making it his home. He established the JKA Middle East, Arab and African Head Office. The mandate of the office was the spread of Karate around Africa and the Middle East. He taught in over 65 countries and introduced Karate into more than 40 countries. He was given numerous awards and accolades for his teaching.

Away from Karate Okamoto was also a practitioner of Daito-ryu Aikijujitsu. He also helped establish the Association of Supporting African AIDS Children. The charity was responsible for caring for children suffering from AIDS.

Hideki Okamoto died from stomach cancer on 30 April 2009. By the time of his death, he had been promoted to 8th Dan.

Part of the first generation of JKA instructors to teach Karate abroad, Okamoto helped establish local and regional Karate Federations in many African and Middle Eastern countries. He is missed by his many students, for his great teaching.

Author: Patrick Donkor

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