Martial Arts Wisdom

Masaaki Ikemiyagi

Contributed by: Wade Chroninger

Masaaki Ikemiyagi was born in Nago-Shi, Okinawa, on December 23, 1953. He began his training under Dai Sensei Yagi at the age of 15 in 1968. He has remained a loyal and dedicated student of Dai Sensei Yagi ever since.

Ikemiyagi Sensei has been Kancho (master) of his own Meibukan Dojo in Okinawa since 1981. Endeavouring continuously to improve his martial arts, he has travelled to China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Hawaii, Brazil, Australia, and the United States to train and conduct comparative research in various martial arts systems. Some of the systems that he has studied are other forms of karate, judo, boxing, capoeira, and various forms of gung fu.

Challenges are a common occurrence among the Okinawan youth involved in the various martial arts systems taught in the collegiate athletics program. When these challenges came, Masaaki Ikemiyagi was always the first to answer. As a youth in Okinawa, he quickly developed a reputation as a skilled karate-ka and powerful fighter. On many occasions, when he would attend local tournaments, competitors would often withdraw once they became aware that he was participating.

Today he is Kancho of the Meibukan Goju-Ryu, Okinawa Dojo in Okinawa-Shi, and holds the rank of 8th Dan. He is one of only a handful of Dai Sensei Yagi’s earlier students who still actively teaches. He has served as the Riji-Cho (Director General) of both the Zen Okinawa Karate-Do Renmei and the Okinawa Goju-Kai. At present time he is the Riji-Cho of the Okinawa Goju-Kai (as of Dec. 1997).

Ikemiyagi Sensei has produced many fine students that help to propagate Meibukan Goju-Ryu in very positive ways all over the world. Under the Okinawa Dojo, he has branch dojo operating in Australia, America, Indonesia, and here in Okinawa. One of his students, Ikemiyagi Shuichi Sensei, serves as the secretary of operations for the <Okinawa Collegiate Karate Training Organisation>. In addition to teaching at the Okinawa Dojo, Ikemiyagi Sensei travels to schools world-wide to conduct seminars and share his knowledge and experience with other martial artists.

We in the Okinawa Dojo have a rare and enviable opportunity to learn from such an accomplished teacher with this kind direct lineage to the great masters of the past. Through his teachings and guidance, we learn pure Goju-Ryu (a precious find in the modern world of martial arts), it is our responsibility to train sincerely, behave as gentlemen of good character and integrity, and remain humble always.

Ikemiyagi Sensei teaches us the ways of Meibukan Goju-Ryu as he learned them from his master, Dai Sensei Yagi. He asks for nothing in return except that we train as hard as we can to become strong, while always remembering that having a kind heart shows a person’s true strength.

Biography of Ikemiyagi Sensei


•Born in Nago city, Okinawa, Japan, 1953.

•Began training under Yagi Meitoku Dai Sensei of Meibukan Goju Ryu Karate-Do at the age of 15 in 1968.

•Has trained under Dai Sensei since then and holds the rank of eighth dan black belt.

•Has operated a dojo in Okinawa since 1981.

•Has produced many high quality students that have propagated Meibukan Goju Ryu in very positive ways around the world, to include dojo in Okinawa, Australia, Indonesia, and the USA.

•One of his students on Okinawa, Ikemiyagi Shuichi Sensei, has become secretary of the collegiate martial arts training system of Okinawa.

•Has travelled to dojo world-wide to teach seminars and share the knowledge he has acquired in 30 years of training in the arts.

•Took a sabbatical to Brazil and lived there for one year to study other types of martial arts on a comparative basis: Judo, Copoeira, and boxing among others.

•Is one of only a handful of Yagi Meitoku Dai Sensei’s earlier students who still actively teach today.

•Is director general of the Okinawa Goju Kai - main governing body of Okinawa Goju Ryu systems - 1992-95,97-98.

•Was director general of the Zen Okinawa Karate-Do Renmei - main governing body of Okinawa karate systems - 1995-1997.


NOTE: These positions (Key positions in the Ren Mei and the Goju Kai) are sometimes appointed on a revolving basis, depending on the need at any given point.