View Full Version : Tabata Kazumi, long-time Shotokan karate teacher and shihan in the US, passes away.

Cady Goldfield
7th December 2020, 17:16
Shared from the NACKC North American Collegiate Karate Conference Facebook page on December 3, 2020:

"We share with a heavy heart the news of the passing of Grandmaster Kazumi Tabata. He died peacefully at his home in Lynn, MA, USA near Nahant Beach. Until his death, he continued to be involved in the education of Shotokan Karate at the college level. Tabata Sensei was a graduate and Captain’s Team of Waseda University, and he came to the US from Japan in the late 1960s with the mission to spread Shotokan Karate to college students. He showed his students that Karate was not just about punching and kicking. It was about the development of a strong mind and leadership skills, which he knew could help achieve success in life both inside and outside of the dojo.

Tabata Sensei had a direct lineage to the founding of Shotokan Karate. Many who trained with Tabata Sensei often took pride in the fact that Tabata Sensei's instructor was Isao Obata, who was a senior student of Master Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of Shotokan Karate. He has written many books on both Karate technique as well as developing a strong mind. He was an Amazon bestseller for his books: Power Karate I, Power Karate II, Power Karate III, Secret Tactics, Warrior Wisdom, Mind Power, Kudensho, L'esprit martial de la force mentale ŕ la stratégie du combat (French Edition), Trésor des samouraďs) (French Edition) Tattiche Segrete. Lezioni dai Grandi maestri di arti marziali (Italian edition),
Secretos de las Artes Marciales: Lecciones de los grandes Maestros de las Artes Marciales (Spanish Edition)Complete Karate, Free Sparring (Japanese Edition) soon to come his official autobiography.

Tabata Sensei's Karate style was unique: he emphasized never backing up and fearlessly attacking forward in kumite, even against an oncoming opponent. The strength of this drive came from his heavy emphasis of fudo dachi, his favorite stance. He included fudo dachi even in the Heian kata. He also never underestimated the capabilities of motivated college students. To gain a black belt from Tabata Sensei, you needed to learn 15 kata and perform all of them in succession, demonstrating an understanding of various kata choreography, rhythm, and complex technique combinations. For kumite, to gain a black belt, you needed to fight 20 successive opponents. This was to test the resilience of the mind and the ability to maintain control even with a tired body. He also favored kumite matches with multiple opponents.

Part of the promotion requirements were fighting multiple opponents at the same time. For added amusement, he would add to the number of attackers. His tournaments featured his very own two on two matches, called The Boston Battle or later on Battle for Boston. The first point scored would eliminate that competitor leaving two against one. Only when both competitors were eliminated would that team receive a point. It was sometimes mayhem and Sensei loved it. Sensei’s other notoriety came from his “Special Trainings”. Three days of intense physical and mental training. 1,000 stepping punches, 1,000 push-ups, 1,000 situps, 500 Heian Kata, and the list would continue.
It didn’t matter how young or old you were or how to fit, you were expected to try until you could do no more and then try again. He carried a BO or Shinai to help motivate and in the early days confiscated car keys prior to the start of the training.

Tabata poured his heart and soul and dedicated countless hours to make the vision of spreading Shotokan Karate at the college level a reality. He would often drive all the way to New York to teach classes and come back to MA for more classes. He would go on to teach up until the start of COVID. This altruism, this selfless sacrifice to teach and pass on Karate was what was most inspiring, and is one of the strongest tenants with which the NACKC operates. He was the original founder of the Karate clubs at MIT, Harvard, Lesley, Boston University, Boston College, Cambridge College, Tufts University, Carnegie Mellon, Dartmouth, University of Massachusetts Boston, UMASS Lowell, Emerson College, Graham Junior College, Southeastern Massachusetts University, Wellesley College, University of Pittsburgh. He was the US Karate team’s captain for 20 years and was the technical director of the US National Olympic Committee. It was his commitment that helped propel Karate to be recognized as an Olympic Sport.

Even with all of his time dedicated to Karate, Tabata Sensei shared much more with others. He conceived and hosted the Boston Asian Festival in 1993. He owned and operated two successful Japanese restaurants, Gyuhama of Japan and Gyosai. He implemented what would be the late-night hot spot in Boston “Midnight Rock and Roll Sushi” which featured Rock n Roll music, Sumo matches on TV, Neon lights, Love Bowls, and all the Sushi you could eat. He operated a successful import and export business and owned a number of properties.

During the past few years, his organization, the New England Collegiate Karate Conference (NECKC) was enlarged to become the North American Collegiate Karate Conference (NACKC), with the goal of becoming a bridge to college students learning Shotokan Karate in the US, Japan, Europe, and more places to come. Recently, the teaching of Shotokan Karate has been extended to Middle Schools and High Schools in the area. While Karate classes will never be the same without him, the best way to honor his legacy is to continue on his vision. To practice Karate diligently, focusing on not just technique development, but also the mind, and to give freely your time, much as he did, to teach and spread Karate to college students everywhere.

We will host a zoom memorial for Tabata Sensei on Sunday, December 20th from 10am-2pm. If you would like to be included and we don’t already have your information please email us at info@nackc.us. You will be able to share your stories but we ask that you limit the time to 2 minutes. We are also collecting pictures and videos of Tabata Sensei to compile into a montage in his honor. If you would like to contribute the deadline is December 13th, please email what you have to the same address: info@nackc.us or post to his Facebook page

Those that do not appear in the Montage will be available to be seen on a dedicated site."

Domo Arigato Gozaimashita Tabata Sensei!


You can see the original post on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/NACKCUSA

Cady Goldfield
23rd December 2020, 01:43
Here is a link to the public obit that ran in the Boston Globe on Dec. 19-20, 2020: