Soke Leif Hermansson - 10 dan Karate, Okinawa Kobujutsu

1963 groing Leif Hermansson interest in Japanish Martial Arts up but there were only judo and jujitsu at the time in Turku, Finland, where he was born. 1969 they opened a karate division at the Judo Academy in Turku there he was active and he could now begin also karate training.

His interest in karate, however, was much larger than anything else, and after a while he left off with judo to be able to train more karate. 1970, he was also begin to instruct in karate in his judoclub and 1972 sent the judoclub him to the very first course for instructors as Finnish Karatefederation arranged.

1973-1975 he worked as military in Turku and Pori, and was made responsible for close protection training for military, and 1974 he was elected to the board of Finnish Karatefederation.

Leif Hermansson was now instructing several groups of the week, and he also started the new karateclubs in south-western Finland as Salon Viesti Samurai in Salo 50 km east of Turku where he became both the instructor and chairman 1975-1976.

1976 he started and named Shaolin the chool of Martial Arts in Turku there he where the instructor, together with Ilpo Jalamo. He also where the first chairman of Shaolin until 1978 when sensei Hermansson moved to Sweden.

His first martial arts club in Sweden, Budoclub Keiko he started in Katrineholm and then started to spread bujutsu with Yuishinkai karatejutsu and Okinawa kobudo by starting several martial arts club in various locations as Nykoping, Orebro, Flen, Eskilstuna, Kumla, Falkoping, Stockholm, Taby, Vaxholm, Vallentuna and Akersberga.

1979 began he also kenjutsu in which, above all, iaido became an important part of his life when he oscillated from Katrineholm to Vällingby 2 times a week for a couple-hour training in 2 years time! It took all evening and half the night before he was at home again in Katrineholm and would then be up and working at 7 in the morning!

In those days there were not so much opportunities for training with samurai sword in Sweden, but if you want to learn there is no distance (360 km) for long!

After 2 years, however, he had learned so much that he could start an iaido division in his karateclub, begin to teach himself also in iaido, and take there a instructor (Mikael Bornholm) once a month.

In the early 80's became Hermansson then a student of Komaki-sensei, 7 dan renshi in iaido, after to have seen his impressive iaido show in a karate competition in Stockholm.

In the early 90s he trained iaido and also jodo under sensei Ishido Shizufumi, 8 dan hanshi together with Takao Momiyama, Istvan Gubas and Rolf Radakovits and in 1999 he meet an iaido-sensei with the name Hiroshi Nishihira, 8 dan kyoshi in Okinawa and could now also train iaido during his trips to Okinawa.

After few years sensei Nishihira returned and did not teach any more and actually died short after that. At the same building Okinawa Prefectural Budokan, soke Hermansson saw an other iaido master train in the 1st floor with name soke Hamamoto Hisao and he now continue his iaido train with Hamamoto sensei in Mugairyu and Hachimanryu iaido and Battojutsu.

Soke Leif Hermansson write of his training in Japan

Sensei Leif Hermansson is one of the few Westerners who have received training with the legendary Motokatsu Inoue-sensei in Japan for a longer period. Her is his story from his training with o-sensei Inoue:

"I started to go to Inoue Motokatsu sensei in Japan almost every year in the late 70's, sometimes made it 2 times a year. Stayed from a few weeks to several months, as long as the money was enough, and trained privately with him several hours each afternoon. Since I was of course in his dojo when he taught his students in the regular classes, in the morning and evening classes. It became 8-10 hours of training 6 days a week!

Inoue Motokatsu Sensei get always up at 5 in the morning and started to train for himself. Then, I heard when I woke up that he began to throw shuriken (sharp arrows) of a target or rattle with his weapons. I was asleep, often in the Dojo and his house was side by side with the Dojo. In his house, he had a small private Dojo, where he trained himself.

I get usually up at 6, and ran up to the high mountains that rise up to heaven just behind the Dojo. The mountain is covered with dense jungle-like vegetation, and mandarin threes, and the road was winding up. A look that closely winds and a snake across the road in front of me. They were not very big, only 1-2 meters, blue, green and brown, and I began to accustom myself to them until by chance I once heard someone say that I would look up with the brown one, which could be dangerous!

Each morning, I ran up the mountain on one side and down the other side, it took me about 40 minutes. After that I went into the Dojo again and began to stretch and to the breakfast before the morgnings class began at 9.

The training was over at 11 and after lunch I began my private training with Sensei Inoue. The lesson on the evening with the other students at the dojo was between 19 and 21 and after that we all went out together to eat and relax and talk about the sovereign workouts, and if our incredible teacher.

It was a very nice atmosphere and everyone was friendly and happy and helped me a lot with my training. Especially shihan Kawasaki, which was one of the shihans at the dojo and that of Inoue Sensei ordered to constantly stand beside me and be my personal trainer from the very first day.


Inoue Motokatsu karate dojo, the headquarter for Yuishinkai in Shimizu, Japan

Yuishinkan karatejutsu - very variable style

We trained a lot of Kata (form) in which bunkai (applications) is the most important part of training in Inoue Motokatsu senseis Yuishinkan karatejutsu. We also trained exercises such as different take downs, restraint and locks, low kicks and defense against knife attacs etc. Technologies that are effective in the street, but that does not fit for competition.

Training with the weapons (Ryukyu kobudo / kobujutsu) took a very long time and is an important part of the system. The most karatemasters trained with the different kobudo weapons such as BO, SAI or TONFA, because they had understood that they could do better in their own karate if they completed their training with weapons.

Inoue Motokatsu-sensei said often that we must understand the meaning of these technologies, and if we are attacked, we should defend ourselves without arms only if there is anything at all in our neighbourhood which can be used as weapons. Important was also that if we defend ourselves with weapons, we must be able to handle them.

By Kobujutsu training we learn to use various objects that are available (such as handbag, belt, umbrella or almost anything) to defend ourselves in a more efficient way!


Leif Hermansson gets his diploma as branschief for Sweden under Inoue sensei for his karate and kobudo 1979 in Japan

Inoue Motokatsu -sensei often compared the principles of his karate with water flowing down a mountain. When the water meets resistance such as a stone, round the stone and find new ways all the time, past the opposition if it can not move the stone. With that, he meant that we have to be flexible and able to adapt the defence all the time after opposition and the situation can change at any time.

The basic idea is to use the movements and parades to come off the attackers line in a more sheltered position, and from there attacking his vulnerable and sensitive body parts with the nerve (kyusho jitsu / Tuite / dim mak). The techniques are very simple and natural, and anyone can learn this when no acrobatic exercises type high kicks or volts is present.

It is simple and effective technologies, and if a technology fails, it must be able to gently move to the next. Several techniques in a flow, until a consensus is down, or that he gives up.

The techniques will always float without interruption, either in thought or action. Therefore, use parts of different system in combination with each other in which this philosophy is that a red line across the teaching.

This makes that Inoues Motokatsu-senseis karate karatejutsu is perfect for example, girls, when you do not need big muscles, or the stewards, police, bodyguards and soldiers when the techniques are realistic and efficient and can adapt to different situations. Inoues godfather Fujita-sensei was, of course, professional bodyguard, and this has influenced his teaching!

Inoue-sensei would never disclose his style too much. He wanted instead to keep the almost familial relationship, which he had for his students. He learned, therefore, to know the students well and became something of a kultfigur for us, and the subject of our boundless respect and love.

It was difficult for a novice to become a student of him and it could go 5 years without a single new pupil was approved, but once it was with were on hand at a personal and humble way.

His kindness, warmth, patience and understanding of the students when he taught was an almost unique and, unfortunately, quite unfamiliar concept in many of the other major Japanese karatemasters when they taught their students, especially in the case of foreign students. Inoue-sensei was both able and willing to share his knowledge and he was always very fair.

To train Martial Arts should be a way of life, so be it anyway for Inoue-sensei "never stop practicing".

Motokatsu Inoue changed his way of interpreting his first name Motokatsu at budo connection to Gansho 1988. At the same time changing even his son Takakatsu Inoue his first name to Kisho.

Suddenly became Inoue-sensei old and sick. He cunnot train so much anymore but we tried to work even harder. The time catch up with us anyway, we can not change fate, we all become old at some point and die. It is the inevitable. I may be happy that I still had so many years with my sensei.

Inoue-sensei died of cancer on January 1, 1993 in Tokyo and he was 74 years old.

According to Japanese customs, he appointed his son Kisho Inoue to his successor, to lead the organisation Ryukyu Kobujutsu Hozon Shinko Kai and style of Bujutsu called Yuishinkai.

Motokatsu Inoue was one of the last great masters, and he was much more than just a teacher to me, he was also my piritual father.

The organization was never the same after his death, and in 2001 I left the organization due to some people, who were interested in power and had destroyed the entire fine familial atmosphere inthe style. The organization had in recent years marked by internal infighting, power struggles and intrigues, and I had no future in this organization any longer.

I joined the other, larger organizations, instead, to continue to develop my karate and kobudo, primarily through new contacts on the island of Okinawa, birthplace of karate and kobudo. "

WTMAS - World Traditional Martial Arts Society

Together with some of the greatest masters of Okinawa, has soke Hermansson then innovated WTMAS - World Traditional Martial Arts Society, that is a worldwide association to develop and preserve traditional Martial Arts from Okinawa!

To train Martial Arts - bujutsu is enough for a lifetime. You will never be finished when you can develop all the time. The human body has its limits which will be reminded of different ways especially when you get older, but for the development of your soul (kokoro)and mind, there are no borders!

Soke Leif Hermansson - 10 DAN HANSHI

In July 2007 did soke Hermansson his 31st trip to Japan and Okinawa, this time with 8 of his students from Sweden for 3 weeks of intensive training. At the end of July, he became then graduated to 10 dan hanshi in both karatejutsu and kobujutsu, the very highest level that can be achieved in the various Martial Arts! There are only 2 people in the whole world that has such high degrees and one of them are living in Okinawa and the other one now in Sweden!

Hokama Tetsuhiro Sensei, 10 dan hanshi, one of the most well-known karate and kobudo masters in Okinawa, also gave him the permit to start his own style and named the style to Shunahaku after the 3 branches of karate in Okinawa; Shuri (Shu), Naha (Na) and Tomari(Haku), where Hermansson downloaded his knowledge from.

It is never too late to start exercising, but always to early to give up!

After more than 50 years of training and the last 30 years mostly in Japan and Okinawa is soke Hermansson a very qualitative teacher in karate and especial Okinawa kobudo.

His family for more than 1000 years ago was Björn Birka, the famous Swedish warrior and Viking King

Sensei Hermansson started his training of Martial Arts (judo and jujitsu) 1963 in Turku, Finland there he was born.

Became karate instructor (Wadoryu) 1971 and also teach Finish police department and military (special unit) in close combat when he worked as military officer (sergeant) in Finnish army 1973-1975.

1974-1975 the karate-ka in Finland elected him to member of the board in Finnish Karate Federation. He also started 3 dojos in South-West part of Finland 1972-1974.

Become the founder, president and instructor of Shaolin - Academy of Martial Arts 1976 in Turku, Finland. This dojo stil exist at the same place and runs now by the collagua and friend of soke Hermansson, sensei Ilpo Jalamo.

1977 become a student in Yuishinkai karatejutsu and Ryukyu kobujutsu of the legendary Motokatsu (Gansho) Inoue, 10 dan hanshi, as one of the few students outside of Japan who has trained and lived together with Inoue sensei in Japan a longer time, up until the time of his death in 1993

Moved 1978 to Sweden there he started Combat Martial Arts & Security Academy by Kaizenkai 

1979 started his training also in iaido in Stockholm with Komaki -sensei

The president in the Budo Federation for the middle part of Sweden 1980-1983

1984 The Swedish Budo & Martial Arts Federation granted him the highest reward for his work developing martial arts especially karate

1990 started his training also in jodo in Stockholm and become the student of Ishido sensei, 8 dan hanshi in jodo and iaido

Started his training in Brazilian jiujitsu 1996 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, by to become a student of the world champion Alexandre Paiva. 

After that his mentor and sensei Inoue hanshi died 1993, sensei Hermansson went to Okinawa for training with some other masters like hanshi Akamine (Shorinryu karate and Ryukyu kobudo), hanshi Hokama (Okinawa Gojuryu karate and Matayoshi kobudo) and hanshi Nakamoto (Shorinryu karate and Ryukyu kobudo).

Sensei Hermansson travel to teach Martial Arts in many countries like Japan, South-Africa, UK, French, Holland, Austria, Belgian, German, Russia, Italy, Finland, Norwegia, Republic of Moldova, Kazakstan, Poland and USA.

2003 he trained the Swedish national bodyguard team to the world champion.

Awards to Hall of Fame 2000 for Lifetime Achievement of International Ryukyu Karate Research Society

Swedish and European Champion in Iaido 1995-2004

The ENSSEE-4 -level examination in Sports Management & Coaching of the Elite by Swedish Sports Confederation and Swedish Olympic Committee in Bosön Sports College, rests with Sisu in Stockholm 2005

Head referee at World Championships in Kobudo 2004 in Austria by WKF

International referee at World Championships in karate kata and kumite 2005 and 2006 in Italy by WTKA

Head referee at World Championships in kobudo and iaido 2005 and 2006 in Italy by WTKA

2005 sensei Hermansson gets his Soke tittle from Jiujitsu International signed by soke Yasumoto, 10 dan, soke Morris, 10 dan and soke Karlsson 9 dan.

Nominated to The Instructor of The Year by Swedish Budo & Martial Arts Federation in March 2007.

Awarded to Hall of Fame 2007 for Golden Life Achievement by WTKA, World Traditional Karate Association.

In July 2007 he made his 31st trip to Japan and Okinawa, this time for 3 weeks training together with 8 of his students from Sweden. 28 of July he get his 10th dan diploma in both karate and Okinawa kobudo.

Member of International Ryukyu Karate Research Society (IRKRS), Ryukyu Kobudo Hozon Shinko Kai, Okinawa (Shinbukan dojo), Swedish Budo- and Martial Arts Federation, Jiujitsu International (lifetime membership) , International Okinawa Karate Organisation (IKO), Traditional Okinawa Martial Arts Association in Okinawa (Bunbukan dojo) and World Traditional Karate Association (WTKA)

The titles of Soke Leif Hermansson :

Degrees in Risk Management (Security director diploma), Paramedic, Marketing and advertising

By Swedish Government authorized bodyguard

Master of Sports Management and coaching of the elite

President of Academia Praetoriae Mundi - APM (The International Security Academy for bodyguards)

Operative chief of Kaizen International Martial Arts and Security Academy in Sweden

Chief instructor of Sweden for APM (Academia Praetoriae Mundi), the International Bodyguard Academy

Swedish national director of International Ryukyu Karate Research Society

Diplomas from the T.E.E.S. (Tactical Explosive Entry School) to Explosive Breacher (Explosive Handlers Course and Explosive Entry and Tactics Courses) in June/July 2001 in USA

President of WTMAS (the World Traditional Martial Arts Society) The Society for Promotion and Preservation of Traditional Martial Arts from Okinawa.

Head master of Kaizenkai Bujutsu Academy in Sweden.

Grades of Soke Leif Hermansson:

Karate, 10th dan hanshi (JJI, WKF), promoted in Okinawa by soke Hokama Tetsuhiro

Okinawa Kobujutsu, 10th dan hanshi  (JJI, WKF), promoted in Okinawa by soke Hokama Tetsuhiro

Okuden in Mugairyu iaido and Hachimanryu battojutsu, promoted in Okinawa by soke Hamamoto Hisao

Daitoryu Aiki Bujutsu, 10th dan hanshi (WJJABF) HR

Nippon Yawararyu Aiki Jujitsu, 10th dan hanshi  (NYRAJJR) HR

Jujitsu, 10th dan hanshi  (Kazoku ryu) HR

Jujitsu, 10th dan hanshi  (Kindai ryu) HR

Kenjutsu, 8th dan (WKF)

Koryu Uchinadi karate, 6 dan shihan (IRKRS)

Kenjitsu, 6th dan (Kindai ryu Bujutsu Samurai)

Yuishinkai karatejutsu, 5th dan

Ryukyu Kobujutsu, 5th dan (RKHSK)

Iaido, 5th dan (EKF)

Jodo, 2nd dan (EKF)

Judo, 2nd dan

Kickboxing, 1st dan

HR = Honorary grade


We teach all over the world Okinawa Martial arts as karatejutsu and kobujutsu but also iaido and self defence for women etc.
We teach very popular special training courses like in bodyguarding and close protection for police & security officers, and people in various occupations such as: chauffeurs, clerks, social-workers and staff on a cruise ships, airplanes, in correctional facilities, hospitals etc.

Please, don´t hesitate to take contact with us to plan one of your best seminars never ever!



Inoue Motokatsu (gansho) with his son Takakatsu (Kisho) Inoue, Swedish branschef Leif Hermansson and behind Ilpo Jalamo, branschef in Finland

Sensei Leif Hermansson is one of the few Westerners who had to train with the legendary Motokatsu Inoue-sensei in Japan for a longer period.