Historical photo of Hideyuki Ashihara
December 5, 1944|
|Died||April 24, 1995
|Rank||10th dan karate|
|Notable students||Kazuyoshi Ishii, Jōkō Ninomiya|
Hideyuki Ashihara (芦原 英幸 Ashihara Hideyuki?, December 5, 1944 – April 24, 1995) was a Japanese master of karate who founded the Ashihara karate system in 1980. This karate style is based on Kyokushin karate. Ashihara, often attributed as one of the originators of the tai sabaki (whole body movement) method, held the rank of 10th dan in karate and wrote three books on his martial art.
Ashihara was born on December 5, 1944, near Hiroshima, Japan. He was raised by his grandparents in the village of Nomicho, and began studying kendo at the age of 10. In 1960, Ashihara moved to Tokyo, where he began working at a petrol station. In September 1961, he began training in what would later become Kyokushin karate, under Kyokushin founder Masutatsu Oyama. Ashihara was promoted to 1st dan black belt on either March 26, 1964, or March 21, 1965.
In 1966, Ashihara was appointed as a Kyokushin instructor, and was due to travel to Brazil to introduce Kyokushin karate there. Before this could happen, however, he got into a fight with five opponents on the street, was interrogated by police, and was suspended from Kyokushin karate as a result; after two months the suspension was lifted. Given the option of traveling to Brazil, Ashihara instead chose to go to Nomura, on the island Shikoku, to teach. He later moved to Yawatahama where he opened a Kyokushin karate school.
Ashihara began developing the concept of sabaki around this time, which focused on preparation, timing and evaluation, and stance. He later moved to Matsuyama to teach karate. One of his students, Joko Ninomiya, won the 1978 All-Japan tournament, and would later go on to establish Enshin Karate. Ninomiya described Ashihara as his "first and only karate teacher" (p. xiii). Another of Ashihara's notable students is Kazuyoshi Ishii, perhaps best known for founding the K-1 kickboxing competitions.
Tensions with other Kyokushin instructors led to Ashihara either leaving or being expelled from Kyokushin karate's International Karate Organization in 1979. In September 1980, Ashihara founded the New International Karate Organization (NIKO). He held the rank of 10th dan in his organization. Over the next 15 years, Ashihara wrote three technique books on karate and three autobiographical books which included: Fighting Karate (1985), More fighting Karate (1989), and The word of life: For those who love Karate (1997, published posthumously).
In 1987, Ashihara had begun to show signs of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive and fatal disease also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. His condition worsened in the 1990s, and he died of complications of the disease on April 24, 1995, in Matsuyama. His son, Hidenori Ashihara, became the second head of the Ashihara karate system, and today continues to lead the NIKO. Other groups have emerged from the NIKO, such as the Ashihara International Karate Organisation based in the Netherlands.
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- Ashihara, H. (1985): Fighting Karate. Tokyo: Kodansha. (ISBN 978-4-0610-1508-1)
- Ashihara, H. (1989): More fighting Karate. Tokyo: Kodansha. (ISBN 978-0-8701-1872-2)
- Ashihara, H. (1997): The word of life: For those who love Karate. Copenhagen: Tsuba. (ISBN 978-8-7986-3900-8)
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- New impulse for Ashihara Karate Sri Lanka Sports News (February 19, 2010). Retrieved on March 12, 2010.