Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, Shihan Minakami began his formal martial arts training at age 7. He belonged to the Jujitsu/Kodokan Judo school under Takagi Sensei. Takagi Sensei was a 9th Degree Kodokan Black Belt.
Shihan Minakami came to the United States in 1963. During his first years in America, Shihan Minakami made a name for himself as an outstanding karate man. By age 21 he was the first man ever to win both Kata and Kumite at the All Hawaii Championships.
His most outstanding accomplishments include winning 5 Gold Medals at the Hayashi-Ha Shitoryu-Kai International Championships and 5 Gold Medals at the All Japan Karate Championships. He was also the first man ever to win 5 Gold Medals (every division possible) at the AAU National Championships.
In 1983 Minakami received his Shihan Certificate – 6th Degree Black Belt from both Hayashi-Ha Shitoryu-Kai and from the Federation of All Japan Karatedo Organization – FAJKO. The Federation of All Japan Karatedo Organization is the governing body for Karate in Japan. Shihan Minakami was the first individual ever to receive a unanimous passing grade, meaning all 11 Masters (representing the 4 major styles) on the examining board, gave him their approval. This is an amazing honor for which he will always be known.
In 1985, Shihan Minakami founded the Minakami Karate Dojo (formerly known as the United Karatedo Organization). It was his goal to teach traditional Japanese Karate and to pass his knowledge onto dedicated students who would learn and enjoy the techniques, as well as attitudes, of the true martial artist.
Today, Shihan Minakami holds an 8th Degree Black Belt in Hayashi-Ha Shitoryu-Kai, a 7th Degree Black Belt from the Federation of All Japan Karatedo Organization (also known as JKF – Japan Karatedo Federation), a Black Belt in Judo and a 3rd Degree Black Belt in Kendo.
The Minakami Karate Dojo Headquarters is located in Seattle, Washington. Shihan Minakami continues to teach regularly at his home school along with Sternod Shihan and the Black Belts. He also travels around the world teaching martial arts seminars, including an annual trip to Europe.
*shihan means “Master Instructor” in Japanese.