Tetsuhiko Asai (June 7, 1935 – August 15, 2006) was a prominent Japanese master of Shotokan karate who was a former Technical Director of the Japan Karate Association (JKA), founder and Chief Instructor of the International Japan Martial Arts Karate Asai-ryu (IJKA), and founder of the Japan Karate Shoto-Renmei (JKS; also known as the Japan Karate Shoto Federation).
In 1958, Asai graduated from Takushoku University, where he had trained in karate under Gichin Funakoshi, Masatoshi Nakayama, and Teruyuki Okazaki. He trained hard and was allowed to sleep in the karate dormitory. At Nakayama’s recommendation, he entered the Japan Karate Association‘s (JKA) instructor training program and graduated from the course three years later. Asai won the JKA championship in kumite (sparring) in 1961, and in kata (patterns) in 1963. He was overall JKA champion in 1961, having come first in kumite and second in kata that year. Asai became the first instructor to introduce karate to Taiwan. Through the second half of the 1960s, he taught karate in Hawaii for five years, with his students including Kenneth Funakoshi (a fourth cousin to Gichin Funakoshi).
Over the years, Asai advanced within the JKA, and was appointed as Technical Director. Following Nakayama’s death, the JKA experienced political troubles and divided; Asai and colleagues (including Keigo Abe and Mikio Yahara) formed one group, while Nakahara Nobuyuki and colleagues formed another group—which in 1999 was officially recognized as the JKA. In 2000, he founded the International Japan Martial Arts Karate Asai-ryu and the Japan Karate Shoto-Renmei. Apart from the ranking of 9th dan in Shotokan karate, he also held the ranks of 3rd dan in jodo, 2nd dan in judo, 2nd dan in jukendo, and 2nd dan in kendo.
The following video was recorded in 2005 at one of his courses and contains over an hour of footage showing this legendary Karate teacher in action.