Shihan Kenneth Yoshinobu Funakoshi, founder and advisor of the Funakoshi Shotokan Karate Association is fourth cousin to Master Gichin Funakoshi – the founder of Modern Shotokan.
He started judo training in 1948 under Arakaki Sensei at the Fort Gakuen Japanese Language School in Honolulu, Hawaii. He attended Farrington High School in the Kalihi District and was on the football team and captain of the Territory of Hawaii (Hawaii was not a state yet) Championship swim team. While attending at the University of Hawaii on a swimming scholarship Funakoshi Sensei started Kempo training under Adriano Emperado from 1956 to 1959.
In 1960, Funakoshi started shotokan training when the Japan Karate Association (JKA) assigned its first grand champion, Hirokazu Kanazawa to teach at the Karate Association of Hawaii for three years. For the next three years, Funakoshi trained under Masataka Mori, another senior instructor from the Japanese Karate Association.
From 1966 to 1969, he trained under the third and last instructor sent by the J.K.A., the legendary Tetsuhiko Asai, another former grand champion from Japan. In 1969, after training 10 years under three of Japan’s top instructors and winning the grand championship of the Karate Association of Hawaii for five years in a row (1964 – 1968), Kenneth Funakoshi was appointed as the Chief Instructor for the Karate Association of Hawaii.
Funakoshi moved to San Jose, California to teach karate in December 1986, in 1987, the non-political Funakoshi Shotokan Karate Association was founded with its world headquarters now in Milpitas, CA and affiliates throughout the United States, Mexico, Europe, Africa, Middle East and South America.
1938: Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, September 4th 1948: Began Judo under Arazaki Sensei 1956–59: Attended the University of Hawaii after winning a swimming scholarship. Continued training in Judo and commenced training in Kenpo under Kajukenbo Founder, Adriano Emperado. Won 1st place Kumite in the first Kajukenbo tournament in Hawaii. 1959-60: Joined the USAF and taught Kenpo in Mexico. 1960-63: Transferred to Hawaii and began training in Shotokan under Hirokazu Kanazawa. 1963: Travelled to Japan to compete in the JKA Championships 1963-64: Moved to L.A. in order to train under Hidetaka Nishiyama. 1964–68: 5 Times Grand Champion of JKA-Hawaii Runner up in H. Nishiyama’s All American Karate Federation Championship kata and kumite several years. 1965: Captain of Hawaii Team that defeated the All Japan Collegiate Championship Team 1966–69: Trained under Tetsuhiko Asai. 1967: Captain of Hawaii Team in JKA Championships in Tokyo. Advanced to the final day of competition in individual kumite. 1968: Coach of Hawaii Team that defeated All Japan Collegiate Championship Team. 1969: Appointed Chief Instructor of JKA-Hawaii. 1978: Awarded ‘Instructor of the Year’ by Black Belt magazine. 1984: Trained at JKA Instructor’s classes in Japan Appointed Chief Instructor of JKA Pacific region by Masatoshi Nakayama, Chief Instructor of JKA 1985: Awarded 7th Dan by Hawaii Karate Kodanshakai, a multi-style karate association of senior instructors. 1986: Moved to San Jose to teach Karate. 1987: Founded Funakoshi Shotokan Karate Association to develop perfection of character through karate training and following the philosophy of Gichin Funakoshi’s Twenty Precepts. 1994: Awarded 8th Dan by Hawaii Karate Kodanshakai 1995–2005: Travels the world over teaching seminars, oversee gradings and supervise tournaments 2001: Awarded 9th Dan by Hawaii Karate Kodanshakai 2003: Sponsor of Annual FSKA World Championship in Las Vegas Sponsor of Annual FSKA European Championship in a different country every year 2007: Sponsor of Annual FSKA European Championship in England.