Oldest Karate Players in the World

Oldest Karate Players in the World

Karate is one of the oldest martial arts in the world, and has been around for several centuries now. It has seen thousands of people practice and master it all over the world, and in this article, we’re going to look more closely at some of the oldest karate players and practitioners. Let’s get right into it.

2 Oldest Karate Players 

2. Takayuki Kubota

Age: 89
Style of karate: Gosoku-ryu Karate, Kubojitsu, Kubotactical, Toshin-ryu Iaido
Location: Glendale, California, United States of America

Takayuki KubotaPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

Takayuki Kubota is another one of the oldest karate players in the world. He was born and raised in Japan, and grew up in a family with four older brothers. His siblings were all interested in sports from the time they were children, and three of his four brothers grew up to be experts at their sports. One of them is a volleyball coach, another a jujitsu master, and the third a kendo master.

Kubota learned how to do karate during the Second World War, and later moved to Tokyo to earn money. When he was 14, the Tokyo police noticed him practicing his martial arts. They eventually hired him, and he soon started teaching hand-to-hand combat and baton combat to the Tokyo cops. He was later hired by the American military, and went on to have a long and industrious instructional career.

Did you know? 

Takayuki Kubota founded the International Karate Association and is the president of it even today.

1. Tsutomu Ohshima

Age: 93
Style of karate: Shotokan karate
Location: California, United States of America

Tsutomu OhshimaPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

Tsutomu Ohshima is the oldest karate player in the world. He began learning and practicing martial arts when he was only five years old, and studied various forms of martial arts like judo and sumo wrestling. However, although he had begun learning about the different types of martial arts as a child, he only started to learn karate when he was 18 years old.

He trained under Gichin Funakoshi when he was a student at Waseda University and eventually became so good at karate that he joined the university’s team and became its captain. He got his black belt in 1952. Although he was becoming more and more skilled at karate, he was still studying economics at university. Ohshima later traveled to America to continue his academic studies at the University of Southern California, and founded the university’s first karate club.

Did you know?

Tsutomu Ohshima became even more interested in martial arts and physical fitness after witnessing a young boy getting beaten up by a group of bullies. He was ashamed at not being able to jump in to help that boy, and eventually trained to get physically stronger.


In this article, we walked you through a list of the oldest karate players in the world. Although there have been various others over the decades, the two men mentioned in this article are the oldest surviving karate players in the entire world. We were interested to learn about how they managed to make careers out of teaching and practicing karate in Japan and America, and we hope you learned something new as well today. 

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