SENSEI 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.
Just like Yoshitaka improved the style founded by his father, Taiji Kase sensei managed to change the course of the traditional Shotokan style. The structural changes which he made were so radical that we should speak of it as a completely new and unique style which bares his seal, the Kase Ha Shotokan Ryu Karate-Do.
He was fascinated and profoundly influenced by the Japanese samurai tradition and their moral Bushido code which he respected to the end of his life. Kase sensei was enigma even to his Japanese contemporaries. His legendary, breathtaking demonstrations of released Ki energy which resulted in awesomely powerful techniques defied common logic and questioned the ultimate human abilities. They belonged in the realm of metaphysical phenomenon.
Besides numerous technical innovations and corrections to the accepted techniques, he introduced the concept of Ibuki breathing which triggers enormous body power and that is by far the most important domain in practice, which does not even exist in traditional Shotokan.
Kase sensei had a precise personal vision which was to teach Karate-Do free of any sport or political conditioning. The frequent conflicts and changes dominating the karate world did not hinder his vision, which he managed to preserve and pave the way for the development of his own karate style. The logo of his style is Gi which means moral obligation and expresses his deep beliefs in ideals of Bushido code such as dignity, loyalty, sincerity. The integrity and humility of his behavior, as well as the loyalty towards friends and students made Kase sensei a role model for those who love Karate-Do above any logos.