International Martial Arts Federation

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International Martial Arts Federation
Kokusai Budoin Kokusai Budo Renmei
International Martial Arts Federation Logo.gif
TypeSports organization
HeadquartersTokyo, Japan
Official language
English and Japanese
Mr. Yasuhisa Tokugawa
WebsiteInternational Martial Arts Federation

Kokusai Budoin, International Martial Arts Federation (国際武道院・国際武道連盟, Kokusai Budoin Kokusai Budo Renmei) (IMAF) is the oldest continuously operating Japanese organization promoting international Budō.[1] The organization, founded in 1952, has headquarters in Tokyo, Japan.[2]

IMAF has branches in 17 countries.[3][4]

IMAF organizes world Budo Galas, congresses, international training, Maintains Historical records on BUDO and issues the magazine, named Gendo newsletter.[1] IMAF further aims to maintain and preserve traditional Japanese BUDO

IMAF is a member of the UNITED NATIONS Department of Economic and Social Affairs.


The International Martial Arts Federation (IMAF) is dedicated to the promotion and development of the martial arts worldwide.[2]

Among other objectives of IMAF are the expansion of interest in Japanese martial arts, the establishment of communication, friendship, understanding and harmony among member chapters, the development of the minds and bodies of members, and the promotion of global understanding and personal growth.[2]


The International Martial Arts Federation (IMAF) was founded in 1952 by a group of some of Japan's most prominent martial arts practitioners, including:[2]

The first President (chairman) was Prince Kaya Tsunenori (uncle of Emperor Hirohito, former lieutenant general in the Imperial Army) from 1952 to 1965, and was followed Prince Higashikuni (the first post World War II Prime Minister, the only member of the Japanese Imperial Family to have held this post). IMAF, then known as the National Japan Health Association sponsored the first, large-scale, public, post World War II martial arts demonstration in Japan in Hibiya Park in downtown Tokyo in February 1952.[5] In 1973, Sueo Kiyoura was appointed the Third President of IMAF. He was a well-known and influential businessman and son of Keigo Kiyoura the 13th prime minister of Japan. In 1983, Gunzo Fukuhara was appointed the fourth President of IMAF and was a former Cabinet Minister of Japan. In 1986, Shinsaku Hogen was appointed as the 5th President of IMAF. He served as the Japanese Ambassador to India and Deputy Foreign Minister.

The current president of Kokusai Budoin, International Martial Arts Federation (IMAF) is Yasuhisa Tokugawa, the great-grandson of the 15th and final shōgun of Japan, Tokugawa Yoshinobu (1837–1913).[6] He was also the Chief Priest for the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo from 2013-2018.

Ranking System[edit]

The International Martial Arts Federation (IMAF) use the shōgō system where the levels are renshi (錬士), kyōshi (教士), and hanshi (範士). The most venerated level is hanshi.[7]


The International Martial Arts Federation (IMAF) has seven divisions and licensed instructors in following divisions:[1][8]

There was a schism in IMAF Europe which led to a separate non-affiliated group with a similar name being formed in 1983 by Minoru Mochizuki,. The issue was raised to the Japanese courts which in 1987, ruled against Mochizuki and separation---IMAF Europe is not affiliated with Japan. [9] In England there was a further divided in IMAF UK in 2005 which led to the formation of two affiliated bodies, UK IMAF [10] and IMAF GB which changed its name to the United Kingdom Budo Federation.[11]

Aikido Division[edit]

The Aikido Division was founded in 1954. The position of Aikido Division has been held by the world’s foremost aikido authorities. Kisshomaru Ueshiba, son of the founder of aikido Morihei Ueshiba, and late director of the Aikikai Hombu. He was succeeded by Kenji Tomiki (founder of Shodokan Aikido), Minoru Mochizuki (10th dan Aikido), and Gozo Shioda (10th dan Aikido, founder of Yoshinkan Aikido). The current Division heads are Takeji Tomita and Shinji Tsutsui.[12]

Kendo Division[edit]

The International Martial Arts Federation (IMAF) defines Kendo as 'the way of the sword', it is a modern martial art based on ancient Kenjutsu (the art of swordsmanship).[13]

Representatives from the kendo division teaches and holds international exhibitions in kendo.[14] Furthermore, highranking Japanese masters holds international seminars in kendo.[15][16]

IMAF members demonstrated Nihon Kendo Kata at Kameido Katori Jinja on April 29, 2009.[17] Originally, Nihon Kendo Kata was called Dai Nippon Teikoku Kendo Kata created in 1912 but was revised in 1912, 1917, 1933 and 1981. In 1933 the Dai Nippon Teikoku Kendo Kata was changed to the name 'Nihon Kendo Kata' and the last revision in 1981 was made by the All Japan Kendo Federation.[18] A YouTube clip exists showing IMAF members demonstrating Nihon Kendo Kata.[19]

Iaido Division[edit]

The Iaido Division has been led by some of the greatest iaido figures, including Tsugiyoshi Ota, Meijin Iaido 10-dan, Katsuo Yamaguchi, Meijin Iaido 10-dan, Tadao Ochiai, Hanshi Iaido 10-dan, and Kenji Tose, Hanshi Iaido 10-dan.[20] The Current division head is Kunikazu Yahagi Sensei.

Karatedo Division[edit]

Some of the leading members of IMAF Karatedo division have been *Hironori Otsuka, Meijin Karatedo *Gogen Yamaguchi, Hanshi Karatedo and *Kazuo Sakai, Hanshi Karatedo. Currently *Hirokazu Kanazawa, Hanshi Karatedo is on the IMAF board of directors. The Current Division heads are Tadanori Nobetsu Sensei, Goju Karate and Ikuo Higuchi Sensei, Shotokan Karate.


  1. ^ a b c Journal of Combat Sports and Martial Arts. MEDSPORTPRESS, 2011; 1(2); Vol. 2, page 50.
  2. ^ a b c d "Frequently Asked Questions". International Martial Arts Federation. International Martial Arts Federation. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  3. ^ "About". International Martial Arts Federation. International Martial Arts Federation. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  4. ^ The East. East Publications. 1999. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  5. ^ ":: History ::". Retrieved 2014-03-02.
  6. ^ ":: Biographies ::". Retrieved 2014-03-02.
  7. ^ Wanda Hurren, Erika Hasebe-Ludt (ed) (2014) Contemplating Curriculum: Genealogies/Times/Places. Routledge. Page 5. ISBN 978-0-415-64058-9
  8. ^ ":: Divisions ::". Retrieved 2014-03-02.
  9. ^ International Martial Arts Federation Europe
  10. ^ "". Retrieved 2014-03-02.
  11. ^ "History of the United Kingdom Budo Federation". United Kingdom Budo Federation. Archived from the original on October 19, 2013. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  12. ^ "Aikido". International Martial Arts Federation. International Martial Arts Federation. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  13. ^ "Kendo". International Martial Arts Federation. International Martial Arts Federation. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  14. ^ "Nihon Jujutsu Newsletter : 2009 May" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-03-02.
  15. ^ Active Interest Media, Inc. (October 1988). Black Belt. Active Interest Media, Inc. p. 15. ISSN 0277-3066. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  16. ^ Active Interest Media, Inc. (November 1991). Black Belt. Active Interest Media, Inc. p. 79. ISSN 0277-3066. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  17. ^ "Nihon Jujutsu Newsletter: 2009 May" (PDF). Nihon Jujutsu. 3. May 2009. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  18. ^ Budden, Poul (2000). Looking at a far Mountain. Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 0-8048-3245-5 ISBN 978-0-8048-3245-8
  19. ^ "IMAF Kendo no Kata 4-29-09". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-03-02.
  20. ^ "Iaido". International Martial Arts Federation. International Martial Arts Federation. Retrieved March 1, 2014.

External links[edit]