Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Masataka Mori, Sensei (1938-2018)


Masataka Mori of Closter, age 85, born in Fukuoka, Japan, he attended Takushoku University and became captain of the Karate team. He came to the United States in 1963 as a karate instructor for the Japan Karate Association of Hawaii.   In 1968, he and his family moved to New York City, where he became the Chief Instructor of the JKA of New York and the Chief Instructor of JKA-Shotokan Karate-do International and attained the 9th Dan. In addition to teaching at his dojo, he had taught for years at New York colleges, including SUNY at Stony Brook, Columbia University, and CUNY, as well as a local schools, the Japanese Children’s Society. He often travelled abroad, acting as tournament arbitrator or judge, or teaching at various seminars.  This year marks his 50th year of teaching in New York City. He was an avid golf enthusiast and often participated in locally hosted Japanese American events.  Masataka Mori passed peacefully at his home in Closter, where he lived and gardened for forty years, surrounded by his devoted family. He is survived by Keiko, his wife of 61 years, his daughters Mayumi and Sayuri, their spouses Stephen and Alex, his four grandchildren, Allison, Kimiko, Andrew, Natalie, and Alexa and Kaitlin.
The Talmud advises us to "Provide for yourself a teacher and get yourself a friend..." Mori Sensei was a great teacher and an inspiring friend. I met him when I matriculated at Columbia in 1968, and his teaching and friendship were among the most memorable and important parts of my years there.

I last saw Sensei Mori in 2013, and my wife Emilie finally got a chance to meet him, after often hearing about him:
Sunday, June 9, 2013
Here's a video of a recent basics class (which even advanced students take with some regularity, to go over the very basic movements that are taught to beginners), which reminded me of learning the unfamiliar commands in 1968, and sometimes not being completely sure which were in Japanese and which in English...

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