A Short History
The road to the creation of the American Shotokan Karate Federation (ASKF) began when Richard Gould, serving as a US Marine, on the fields of the Korean War. Richard served in combat before being stationed in Tokyo, Japan. There, he lived among the native Japanese rather than on base and one day walked into a karate dojo under the guidance of Gichin Funakoshi. After proving himself to retain proper etiquette training in the judo dojos, he was allowed to train in one of Gichin Funakoshi’s Shotokan dojos. Gould trained under Akiyama Sensei, other Japanese Shotokan yudansha, and in master classes from Gichin Funakoshi himself.
Directed to Hidetaka Nishiyama in Los Angeles by his Japanese sensei, after his Marine service and time in Japan came to its end. Richard remained a senior and loyal student of Nishiyama, being promoted to Go Dan (5th-degree black belt) in July of 1985.
After some time, with Nishiyama’s AAKF and fellow students such as Robert Fusaro, Sensei Richard C. Gould ran the North Central region of the International Shotokan Karate Federation (ISKF) region working alongside Yutaka Yaguchi and Teruyuki Okazaki. He trained with many famous karateka such as the Frank Smith, Ray Dalke, and Kenneth Funakoshi and made his mark as one of the “five founders” of the American Japanese Karate Association (AJKA), working within and with productivity in organizations such as the AAU. These groups remain internationally respected forces of Shotokan and greater karate-do in the world today.
He then continued promoting Shotokan in the Midwest working with the famed senseis such as Masatoshi Nakayama, Teruyuki Okazaki, Shojiro Sugiyama, Masahiko Tanaka, and hosting his fellow sensei such as Leslie Safar, Ray Dalke, Tom Frobel, and Ramon Perez just to name a few. He created new karate schools and holding national tournaments that became into the interest of the karate world as he developed his own Shotokan karate organization, the ASKF.
Richard began teaching karate in P.E. classes in the 1960s at South Dakota State University (SDSU) and Dakota State University (DSU). While teaching as a professor at universities and other dojos, he helped numerous karate groups hold tournaments and held national tournaments along with many sensei’s Gasshukus. Included in these events were large rank examinations with senseis abroad, with numbers of participants including senseis only read about today. At one time, Mr. Gould helped examined over 100 white belts testing in a single event.
Perhaps his most cherished accomplishments became the creation of the ASKF in 1982 in South Dakota. This became his life’s work while laboring with many the production of many other karate organizations, students, dojos, and anything to help the art of karat-do progress.
Within the ASKF, growing clubs of their own, students graduated from universities along with sho dan (first black degree belt), and higher, ranks in Shotokan Karate-do. Gould’s students’ teaching and efforts built an organization with the strength of true tigers. From then on, the world became gifted with a wonderful, respected, powerful organization that sits today as being one of the forefront organizations in the furthering of the teachings of true traditional karate-do. And with it, his most productive and loyal students. Perhaps namely one in particular, David.
In the eighties, Mr. Gould began training karateka in the presence of a very small boy, his son David. He was not allowed to join his father’s ASKF until age five but began learning in his father’s children’s class at age four. At age five, he was assigned his first sensei, James Howard. His instructors to follow would retain names such as Ray Dalke, Leslie Safar, Louis Stifter, Thomas Casale, and Patrick McCarthy. His son would grow to learn as much as he could from his father and learn the combative art of Shotokan Karate. He never left the art or his father’s side and continues his father’s legacy with the desire and spirit.
Shihan Richard Charles Gould passed away in 2017 in Denver with pneumonia complications brought on by cancer. He never gave up and stated, “(giving up) it’s not in me.”
Shihan Richard C. Gould’s final days were spent with his wife, son, and fellow karate leaders by his side.
Today, the ASKF’s most studied students continue the ASKF legacy, including his senior students Jerry Larson (8th Dan), Shakir Gushgari (8th Dan), James Howard (5th Dan), and his son, Richard David Gould (6th Dan).
Among the teachings and memories of a karate-do legend, Shihan Gould has left a massive library of teachings, writings from karateka throughout the world, philosophies from the greatest karate minds, ideas from the most creative intellects, and items from the earliest times of Shotokan. Some of this library holds items for all while others remain only for Gould’s coveted ASKF members. Whatever the case, the ASKF continues with much direction left by the great sensei Richard C. Gould.
The ASKF, with its resiliently wonderful history, will never depart. The organization’s mission and its legions of friends will only excel and continue to exemplify the learning and spirit that sensei Gould dedicated his life to. Long live the ASKF!
The ASKF is now accepting all national and international ASKF membership in all respect to every culture and nation worldwide. All is under the total discretion of the ASKF national directors.
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