Yoshiji Soeno (Shidokan)

Born September 9th 1947 in Tokorozawa-Shi, Saitama, Japan. From an early age Yoshiji Soeno had a keen interest in martial arts especially Judo and Kendo. To strengthen his skills he joined the Oyama Dojo (now known as Kyokushinkai-kan).

When attending Johsai University Kancho Soeno founded his own dojo training in karate and kick-boxing. After entering his debut tournament he was considered the favourite and went on to win the First All Japan Karate Championships. He was named the "Tiger of Johsai" or "Brave Tiger of Kyokushin". Soeno would train in many forms of martial arts, seeking out different styles in as many different countries including Muay Thai in Bangkok and America. Also whilst at the Oyama Dojo he won the World Open Kyokushin Knockdown Championship.

At the end of his time at Johsai University he opened the Soeno Dojo and Soeno Gym giving lessons in both Karate and Kick-boxing.

Shidokan as we know it today was founded in 1981 as the World Karate-do Association Shidokan, Japan Fighting Association New Fighting Shidokan. Respecting Japanese Bushido spirits, Soeno incorporates all the good parts from all his experiences with different styles culminating in a complete and progressive Martial art style. Ever changing his ideas and teaching, Kancho Yoshiji Soeno has Dojos in all corners of the world. Travelling constantly to visit his Branch chiefs, he keeps the style evolving and alive. Shidokan is a globally recognised style with a living Master.

After Mas Oyama, Soeno was the only other Karate-ka mad enough to launch a solo challenge on the strongest fighters in Thailand. Surprisingly, he inspired the creation of the famous Street Fighter game character Ryu two decades later.

Many people have heard of the legend of how Kyokushin Karate Founder Mas Oyama challenged and defeated the invincible Muay Thai fighter "Black Cobra" in 1954 at world famous Lumpinee Stadium, Bangkok for the very first time. It was said that he brought Black Cobra down with an elbow strike, followed by an aerial triple kick; but he admitted it was a very close fight. There are, strangely, no existing historical reports in Thailand to verify this. But that does not imply that the fight did not took place. It may be that there was a news cover-up due to national pride. In 1974, soon after the 5th All Japan Open, Yoshiji Soeno, the "Tiger of Kyokushin" decided to follow in the footsteps of Mas Oyama. With Sosai Oyamas blessing, he went on a solo mission to Thailand to re-determine which is the ultimate striking art on Earth - Kyokushin Karate or Muay Thai?

The following accounts are legend that have inspired many a Manga magazine and cartoon character based on these Kyokushin tales and exploits. Upon arriving in Bangkok, Soeno went immediately to the Rachdamnern Stadium, and approached its Organizer, "Hasat" asking to fight. Hasat was unconvinced of Soenos prowess, but Soeno proved it to him by a simple "test" involving an available Thai fighter who was there at the time. Hasat then asked Soeno to head to Chiang Mai, to make a name for himself in Northern Thailand before coming back to Bangkok again to fight.

And so Soeno flew to Chiang Mai and the Organizer there, "Osman", who already knew in advance he was coming, put him up to fight on that very night. Soeno ran into difficulty in the very first round, getting knocked down by a surprise flying knee kick (rebounding from the ropes) from his Thai opponent. In the second round he fought back, and using the very same tactics, managed to KO his opponent with a spinning kick to the head. After that match the jealous Organizer set him up, tricking him into reducing his weight to lightweight, then putting up a middleweight fighter to fight him. Soeno was much affected physically & as a result almost got killed in the subsequent match. It was his mastery of Judo (threw his opponent out of the Ring) and superhuman belief in Kyokushin Karate that saved his life and the match. In a dramatic reversal, when his opponent grabbed his leg & was bout to deliver a coupe de grace, he used a "Sutemi Waza" (sacrifice technique), completely stunning the Thai with an aerial roundhouse kick to the neck from that position.

That bout finally caught the attention of "Reiba", whom they call the "Dark Lord of Muay Thai". Perhaps he was as strong as "Black Cobra" was, if not more so. Reibas prowess struck fear deep into Soenos heart. He too knew the aerial triple kick, which he first learned when he saw Oyamas fight with the Black Cobra 20 years ago. Osman wasted no time in arranging a fight between Soeno & Reibas disciple "Mongkut Kalop", the "Dark Warrior". Preluded by a pompous press conference, this fight began with the high anticipation of all Muay Thai fans in Chiang Mai. Soeno immediately felt the deadly force of Mongkuts kicks in the first round. But to amazement & shock of everyone present, he suddenly unleashed a jumping attack again using the ropes, knocking out the Thai with a powerful strike to the head in that very round. Reiba, shocked as he was, immediately gathered himself and asked Soeno to increase his weight to middleweight - he would take him on personally! However a gangster, Reibas brother "Daya", intervened & said he would slaughter Soeno in his brothers place. So it was. This time, with live coverage on national TV, this fight would be seen by all of Thailand. Halfway through his "Wai Kru" dance, the wild Daya suddenly attacked Soeno, even before the starting bell was rung! He had no regard for rules & was like an animal, fighting using the "Pahuyuth" system that hit with every physical weapon available. It was bloody & brutal, as both fighters fought with all the techniques & strength that they had. Finally in the fourth round, when both of them were almost exhausted, Soeno leapt into the air and struck Daya with an elbow drop to the top of his skull - sending him flat on to the canvas unconscious instantly.

Reiba, already fuming by now, knew that only he himself could take this Karate-ka. But it was a fight that never was. Four days before the destined battle, Reiba was shot dead by a Thai gangster who was part of a mob to ambush him, controlled by the gambling syndicates. Ironically, not even the gangsters with weapons could take Reiba; he was shot by one of them whom he spared. In a grand funeral, the mighty "Dark Lord of Muay Thai" disappeared forever into the darkness. Soeno returned to Bangkok soon after, fighting and winning the top fighters in Lumpinee, but in those victories he felt no joy; the death of Reiba had left an eternal void in his heart of what might have been.

At the end of his time at Johsai University he opened the Soeno Dojo and Soeno Gym giving lessons in both Karate and Kick-boxing.

Shidokan as we know it today was founded in 1981 as the World Karate-do Association Shidokan, Japan Fighting Association New Fighting Shidokan. Respecting Japanese Bushido spirits, Soeno incorporates all the good parts from all his experiences with different styles culminating in a complete and progressive Martial art style. Regularly competing in Knockdown, K-1 and MMA events. Kancho Yoshiji Soeno has schools in all corners of the world. Travelling constantly to visit his Branch chiefs. Shidokan is a globally recognised style derived from the Kyokushin school of Martial Arts.


www.shidokan.org.uk

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