Simply  the  Best


Sensei  JAN   KNOBEL

9.Dan WJKA President / Co-Founder  WJKA

Autobiography Sensei Jan Knobel

Born May 30th 1950, married and father of 3 sons. Went working on a cruise ship when he was 18 and visited many times the USA, what he still finds his favorite country. This resulted in a 3-week motorcycle trip at the West coast during his 25th wedding anniversary. 

After his sailing period and after getting married to his wife Hanny, he went searching for something to do during the evening times. After seeing him play soccer, his father, former soccer coach of Ajax Amsterdam and the Dutch National Soccer team, advised him to hang his shoes to the tree because to his opinion: "He could not crash an egg with his feet".  So he did and he went to practice karate.

His first foreign teacher was sensei Miyazaki and his assistant Sawada. They made such a big impression on him that Jan committed himself fully to Karate. It started for him as a hobby and became a lifestyle and his living.

After a period of teaching karate at a local sports school, Jan started his own dojo in 1983. The dojo was and still is called UMO, meaning feather. This crest was a description of Jan's character and lifestyle, done by his former Japanese teacher sensei Miyazaki, who has passed away. He thought the feather in the air is swift and uncontrolled, attached to an arrow the feather directs and controls the arrow. This he thought Jan's character was, happy and fun but straight to the point and honest. Jan himself thought this a great honor sensei Miyazaki described him this way.     

Jan practiced karate in those early days with sensei’s as Nakayama, Kase, Enoeda, Shirai, Ochi, Asai, Yahara, Abe.  Sensei Abe he met in 1985 during his first visit to Japan. He practiced with sensei Abe during the Gaijin class for several weeks. At that time entering the JKA instructors class or training with the JKA Instructors class was impossible.

In the early days Jan had a lot of success during competitions. Several times Dutch champion, individual and team. Especially in his specialty Kata .

In 1993 he transferred from the National Organization to his old love the JKA. He was sick and tired of politics and only wanted to practice and enjoy karate his way. Also the national organization was an all style organization and being so left a little room for traditional Karate. So he went to the JKA Asai fraction and stayed there until the last split. During his stay with sensei Asai he met sensei Amos and since then always stayed in contact with him. Jan developed his Karate under Asai sensei and became more exited. He still wanted to compete and he became European champion, 2nd in Johannesburg during the World Championships 1993 and World champion in Greece 1996. This, in his eyes completed his Karate and he devoted himself to coaching his sons and the rest of his team. Until now the successes are hardly to count, several European champions, high scores during World championships, several 1st - 2nd and 3rd places.

Being independent, after the Asai split, Jan and his team competed with all kinds of organizations. He thought of himself as a Ronin, a samurai without a master. He kept contact with all those organizations and finally founded the WJKA, a traditional organization which was and still is in Jan’s blood.       

Nowadays Jan shares his time between his dojo and courses he is giving throughout Europe. He is a well seen instructor in the Balkan countries and due to his efforts these Karateka’s are now able to travel throughout Europe to compete in several competitions.     

Although he is a very busy man Jan still finds some time for his hobbie speed cycling.  Jan likes to workout alone in the wood and likes driving through the country on his motorbike with his wife Hanny.  

  •      Born - 30 mei 1950 in Roosendaal, the Netherlands
  •      Profession - Karate Instructor
  •      Started karate in 1973
  •      Grade 8. Dan WJKA-WUKO
  •      President JKA the Netherlands.
  •      Chief Technical Director JKA the Netherlands.
  •      Founder of the World JKA Karate Alliance.
  •      Founder of Karate dojo Umo Jan Knobel
  •      World Champion JKA 1996 - Greece
  •      European Champion JKA 1997 - Netherlands
  •      World Champion WJKA 2007 - Netherlands

Amongst countless students sensei Knobel educated numerous well known Dutch instructors such as:     

* Jan Knobel jr. - Karate dojo Umo     

* Gerrie van Tilburg - Karate do Ac. Itosu     

* Otto & Coen Bakker & Eugene van Meel - Karate dojo Tamashii     

* Richard Pluijgers - Karate dojo JKA Zeeland     

* Ad Filius & Wouter Meedendorp - Karate dojo Vlissingen     

* Robin Huijer & Parastu Zahib - Karate dojo Archida     

* Conny Voermans, Kees Langenberg, Martin Michels & Ed Koevoets Karate dojo San 

* Marco de Vries - Shin Gi Tai Karate - Oudenbosch     

* Murat Atesyurek - Karate dojo Atesyurek

History of the WJKA

The Legacy Continues

The WJKA proudly takes its roots from two of the most distinguished Shotokan instructors the world has ever seen:          

  • Nakayama Masatoshi 10th Dan, (1913 -1987) Chief Instructor, Japan Karate Association          
  • Asai Tetsuhiko 10th Dan (1935-2006) Former Technical Director, Japan Karate Association.

These paths, although from the same roots, function as individual entities within the shotokan system itself and are: 

Nakayama Ryu, which was the style of shotokan taught at the JKA up to 1987 whilst Nakayama Shihan was headmaster. It was the basis on which the JKA, in its heyday, ran its teaching syllabus both in Japan and abroad.

Asai Ryu, which was developed by Asai Tetsuhiko Shuseki-Shihan, throughout his lifetime and most certainly during his time at the JKA and beyond, and subsequently was taught to his students after he left to follow his own path.

Gichin Funakoshi appointed Master Nakayama, JKA headmaster. Asai Shihan held the position of JKA Technical Director under Nakayama Shihan and was in post at the time of his death in 1987. No successor had been named and a split within the JKA occurred with Asai shihan leading one of the groups. This group was officially disbanded in March 2000.

Asai Shihan dedicated his life to studying and developing his karate, pioneering new techniques and ideas leading to him gaining the title of  ‘The Thunderous Storm'.

His studies covered  a wide range of martial arts and karate styles and it is reputed that he knew and practiced around 140 Kata (forms) some of which he developed himself.

The uniqueness and efficiency of Asai Shihans karate can be attributed to his constant search to make his body as supple as a willow tree. As a direct students of Asai Tetsuhiko, the legacy which is Asai Ryu, continues within the WJKA under the direct guidance of Jan Knobel 9th Dan WJKA President.


The aim of the World JKA Karate Association is to propagate pure JKA Shotokan karate steeped in the teachings and traditional methodology of the Japan Karate Association of the 1960's through to the early 1980's, prior to the death of Masatoshi Nakayama, and as outlined in the Best Karate Series. The concept of the WJKA was first put to an international board in 1994 in Brussels, by Sidoli Sensei and Knobel Sensei at the 2nd JKA Euro-Camp in 1996. The reasoning for this was the fact that both felt that karate-ka from both sides of the JKA (as prior to political divisions) should be able to train together and test together.

They proposed that a neutral and non-political 'friendship society' of JKA karate-ka should be created, where no individual association should be in control of any other, allowing autonomy and the freedom to fully develop. Between 1997 and 1999 there were several discussions between the European   instructors. At the conclusion of these discussions all seemed keen to try and alma gate in friendship.

The concept was not to create yet another JKA body, but to create a 'union' where everyone was in communication, affording everyone access to instruction, regardless of which association an instructor.

A meeting was held in Germany in May 2000 between students of Mikami Sensei, Yahara Sensei, Asai Sensei and Ochi Sensei. All agreed on the need for such an organization in order that JKA Karate could still be enjoyed by all, rather than one association being in total control of the mantle of JKA style karate. At the 12th (Asai faction) JKA World Karate Championships, held in Cardiff in July 2000, discussions took place between high grade non Japanese instructors. All agreed with the need to begin the international friendship, and to draw from the experiences of senior karate-ka from around the globe and at this point the WJKA was born.

Sensei Jan G. Knobel, 9.Dan Founder WJKA