Meitoku Yagi is the oldest and senior living student of Goju-Ryu founder Miyagi Chojun. Born March 6th, 1912 in Naha, Okinawa he began his training in 1926 at the age of 14. Master Miyagi was impressed when he learned that Yagi was directly descended from the original 36 families who settled in Okinawa in 1392. Yagi learned so quickly that by age 16 he was teaching classes for Miyagi Sensei. The kata’s he remembers training the most were Sanchin,Sanseru, Sesan and Seipai. When Miyagi died suddenly in 1953 Yagi continued teaching in the Daido district of Naha. At a public ceremony in 1963 the family of Miyagi Chojun presented Yagi with their fathers karate uniform and belt. Yagi had accepted the responsibility of carrying on the teachings of his teacher as the “Menkyo Kaiden” (inheritor of a style). Master Yagi has faithfully carried on in the footsteps of his late teacher.
He does not advertise or publicly seek fame or promote himself. He has refused to write any books or make videos saying this is not the traditional way to promote karate. His feelings are that when students of Goju-Ryu research their roots they will find him and The Meibu-kan. He is one of only two karate men to receive the 4th Order of Merit. He was presented this in 1986 by Emperor Hirohito. This is the title of “Living National Treasure”.
Soft spoken and an easy manner he has the aura and demure of a true Master. His teaching is soft but he is quick to correct you if you make an error. His karate is as traditional as can be found, uncompromising and very real. He has two sons who are already Masters in their own right; Meitatsu and Meitetsu. They are carrying on the teachings of their father, Grandmaster Meitoku Yagi Hanshi- 10th Dan.
Grandmaster Meitoku Yagi Hanshi passed away February 7, 2003.