Before 1945 awareness of Karate in Canada was largely confined to certain obscure scholars of oriental studies and a few returned Canadian servicemen who had come into contact with martial arts while serving in the East. It was in this year, 1945, that Masami Tsuruoka, born in Cumberland, B.C. , of Japanese parents journeyed to the land of his fathers, to begin his studies. He first studied Judo, attaining the rank of Black Belt, 1st.Dan, and began his long career in Karate under the guidance of Dr.Tsuyoshi Chitose, 10th.Dan , Supreme Instructor of Chito Ryu Karate. Dr. Chitose was a contemporary and partner of Gichin Funakoshi.
   In a few years, Masami Tsuruoka was promoted to Black Belt rank and had obtained wide tournament experience during the years when Japanese masters were developing viable rules for Sport Karate. Returning to his homeland, he started Canada's first ever accredited Karate school ( Dojo ) in Toronto Ontario, with only 15 pupils in 1959.

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   Shortly after his return, he initiated the first Karate tournament ever held in Canada or the United States and laid the foundation for the National Karate Association, now the official governing body for the sport, as recognized by Sport Canada. Graduating his first black belts in 1964, he participated in the establishment of many other accredited  schools in Canada and the United States, thus fathering the spread of his art to many thousands of students of all races, creeds, and colors. It was one of his first students that led to the beginning of Karate in Thunder Bay ( Fort William ).  In 1967, the Canadian government invested Mr. Tsuruoka with the Centennial Medal in recognition of his unique service to his country. At the time, Mr. Tsuruoka held the rank of Black Belt 8th.Dan and was the President of Shotokan Karate for the National Karate Association of Canada.  In 1999 O-Sensei Tsuruoka was honored by the Provincial government with the Order Of Ontario.  
O-Sensei Tsuruoka also founded and heads the Tsuruoka Karate Federation of Canada, with dojos, and students from coast to coast.
On May 13, 2006 O-Sensei Tsuruoka was awarded his 10th. Dan by the N.K.A

Click here to see a link to the early history on Tsuruoka O-Sensei and click on biographies


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