Kazuo 'Crando' Saito
Born in the tail end of World War 2 Asakusa, Japan, Kazuo had to learn how to defend himself. True to the original spirit of karate, he practiced pure traditional karate designed to finish fights instantly and efficiently.
He was taught directly under the late Master Gogen Yagamuchi, 'The Cat', the late Shuuji Tasaki Sensei and Akio Takahashi Sensei for 20 years. Throughout the 60s and 70s, like most dedicated martial artists, Kazuo competed every Sunday in Japan winning national tournaments such as the Taito-Ku Japan Championship in 1972, the Tokyo Metropolitan Championship in 1973 and the Kanto Goju-Kai Group Championship in 1974.
Serving as Tasaki Sensei's English interpreter, he met singer, Kate Ceberano's father, Sensei Tino Ceberano who sponsored him to move to teach karate in Australia. In 1978, Kazuo opened Shinbukan in Australia.
Kazuo studied various other martial arts such as Igaryu Ninjutsu under the late 15th Soke and novelist, Heishichiro Okuse. Past his prime years, Kazuo felt he needed something beyond training the body and mind and sought spirituality in Shingon Buddhism, where he trained and was ordained as an Abbott in Koyasan.
Kazuo leads by example and takes on a 'challenger mindset' daily. He teaches with aged wisdom and pedagogically balances seriousness and light-heartedness, encouraging students to organically arrive to their own conclusions. Speaking to him can give one a taste of what training in 20th Century Japanese dojos was like.
For his dedication on Buddhism, please refer to www.shingon.org.au