History of the AAK System

My most senior student, German "Hermie" de Leon Lopez delivering a Yoko-Tobi-Geri.

In January 1964, I, together with two other karate instructors, started a karate club in a dojo built from used machinery crating materials for floors, interwoven bamboo slats (sawali) for walls, and second hand roofing materials. This was built in a vacant lot in Scout Lozano St. in Quezon City, which was loaned to us by a family friend. The club started with just a handful of students. Later, due to the demands of other increasing responsibilities, two of my associates were forced to resign from the organization in June 1964, leaving me alone to continue with the club.

On July 21, 1964, together with some 30 students, we inaugurated the Kuroi Samurai Karate Dojo (KSKD), which was later to become the pilot organization of the Association for the Advancement of Karatedo (AAK). In the same year, the KSKD was invited to join 40 other clubs to form the Karate Federation of the Philippines (KaFePhil). This was to be the first attempt to unify all karate clubs in the country. In the first national seminar of karate instructors organized under the KaFePhil in December 1964. These seminars and examinations were held annually and blackbelters from the KSKD consistently topped them.

The KSKD transferred to a bigger dojo, which was built adjacent to the Veguillas residence in Plaridel St., Quezon City in 1968. The first branch of the KSKD was also founded in the high school of Ateneo de Manila in Loyola Heights, Quezon City in July of the same year.

Also on the same year, the KaFePhil organized the first National Open Karate Championships. KSKD gained national prominence when most of its players won the tournament.

In 1970, various Karate Federations decided to put up a grand championships among members selected from each federation. Each federation had to field its best players only. The majority of the winners of said tournament – Asian Festival of Combat Sports – came from the KaFePhil. This was to be the last participation of KSKD in the KaFePhil.

In 1973, the Kuroi Samurai Karate Dojo with its 14 other branches established the Association for the Advancement of Karatedo (AAK).

The AAK, together with the other major karate organizations in the country, formed the Philippine Karate Association (PKA). This national federation was recognized by the Philippine Amateur Athletic Federation (now Philippine Olympic Committee) and the World Union of Karatedo Organizations (now World Karate Federation). This was in May 1974. After its last participation in the KaFePhil in 1970, the KSKD decided to concentrate on the development of its organization. The first KSKD age-group championships was held in 1970. In 1974, due to a change in its organizational structure, the annual championships was renamed the AAK Age Group Championships. Subsequently, Karatedo by AAK was included among the sports in the Milo Summer Sports Clinics.

National coach and player Norman “Sonny” Montalvo also comes from the AAK.

In 1986, the Association for the Advancement of Karatedo transferred its Honbu dojo to the 300 square meter penthouse of the Milelong Building on Amorsolo Street, Lepaspi Village. This was in the heart of the Philippines business district in Makati.

The 14th South East Asia Games in 1987 had Karate in its program. Because of this, a national tryout was organized by the Philippine Olympic Committee to form the national Karate team. In as much as most of the winners of the tournament came from AAK, Pocholo Veguillas was designated by the Philippine Olympic Committee as training director of the national karate team.

After the 14th South East Asian Games, the Philippine Karatedo Federation (PKF) was organized and I was elected as its first President; I would serve from the years 1987-2000. The Philippine Karate National Team would win a total of 72 medals, 41 of them gold, in international competitions. And also, several Filipino Karatedo technical officials would be accredited internationally.

Embracing Different Karate Styles and Edifying the System

Gojuryu (Hard – Soft Style) was introduced to AAK in 1987 by Shin Tsukii, a student of Goshi Yamaguchi. In order to further their knowledge of Gojuryu, a group of AAK instructors led by Richard Lim were invited by Goshi Yamaguchi to train under him in the Gojukai Honbu Dojo (Headquarters Gym) in Tokyo. Upon his visit to Gogen Yamaguchi, founder of Gojukai, we agreed to include Gojuryu in the AAK curriculum.

In 1989, Hitoshi Kato introduced Shitoryu to AAK. AAK members were invited to Shitoryu Championships in Japan and Genzo Iwata trained AAK instructors at the Shitokai Honbu Dojo in Tokyo. During the foundation of the World Shitoryu Karate Federation in Chiba, Japan in 1993, the AAK was invited as its Philippine representative.

Another group of AAK instructors were also sent to Japan to train under Hiroyuki Seitoguchi sensei of Hosei University, (Shotokan) where Takayuki Mikami used to be the Chief Instructor.

In 1990, the AAK Honbu Dojo transferred to the Metropolitan Club in Estrella St., Makati City. In 1993, the AAK Honbu Dojo, moved to its present location at the 5/F Building B, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City.

My most senior student, German “Hermie” de Leon Lopez delivering a Yoko-Tobi-Geri.

Since then, several Japanese instructors have come to AAK to introduce their various styles: Among them were Takeo Fujiwara and Toshiatsu Sasaki of Shotokan, Kasuya Mitani of Okinawan Shurite, Hidehisa Haseme of Shitoryu, Kanzo Miyahira of Toguchi Goju, Seiji Nishimura and Hisao Murase Sensei of Wadoryu and Tsuguo Sakumoto of Ryueiryu.

Today, the AAK has embraced the teachings of these karate masters and has evolved a unique system of Karatedo known as the AAK System. It has produced World Champions in all styles competitions as well as in the tournaments of each individual karate style. It has been in the forefront in the development and advancement of Karatedo both nationally and internationally.

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