Shihan 師範 Michael A. Monaco
For Shihan 師範 Michael A. Monaco, Kyokushin Karate has been “a way of life” for over 50+ years. He currently holds the rank of 8th Dan "Hachidan" 八段 in Kyokushin IFK Karate and recently was inducted into the Original “World Martial Arts Hall of Fame” in October 2016.
His extensive training in Kyokushin Karate includes 16 years as a direct student of the “late” Soshu Shigeru Oyama, Founder of “World Oyama Karate”, also receiving his 1st dan “Shodan”, 2nd dan “Nidan” and 3rd dan “Sandan” rankings in addition to the prestigious Branch Chief status as well. He also had the unique and special honor for over 10 years training directly under the legendary founder of Kyokushin Karate, Sosai Mas Oyama in the USA and in Japan, achieving and receiving both his ranking of 4th dan “Yondan” and 5th dan “Godan” as well as Branch Chief status in the “International Kyokushinkai Organization” (IKO) until his untimely death in 1994. He is currently a direct student of Hanshi Steve Arneil, Founder and President of the IFK, for over 20+ years and whom he received the rank of 6th dan “Rokudan” and 7th dan “Nanadan” respectively. Michael Monaco received his 8th Dan during the 2019 British Open. His extensive martial arts experience also includes dan 段 rankings in Japanese Shotokan Karate, Judo/Grappling in addition to Kobudo (weapons).
He is “Founder and the “President ” of the United States International Federation of Kyokushin Karate (USA-IFKK / 1996-Current) Organization. He also currently resides on the elite IFK Executive Committee Board of Directors with Hanshi Steve Arneil. In addition to his roles in the IFK Organization, he is Vice-President of the “World Fighting Kyokushin Organization” WFKO, an elite “professional” Knockdown Fighting League that host bouts internationally around the world.
Shihan has won numerous martial arts championships in fighting, kata, weapons and breaking both nationally and internationally in addition to teaching numerous Kyokushin Karate seminars and clinics in USA, Canada, China and Europe. He has also been featured in many martial arts publications including Kyokushin’s “Power Karate” Magazine and “Budo Karate”, to name just a few.
Shihan currently host one of the “longest and largest” running Kyokushin Karate tournaments in the USA today, “The Kyokushin American International Karate Championships” for the past 25+ years. In 1992, Sosai Mas Oyama visited the United States as Special Guest of Honor at the “2nd Annual American International Karate Championships” in Rochester, New York with over 5.000 spectators and over 150 Knockdown fighters in attendance from around the world. Shihan Monaco is also the “trainer of champions” with many of his students holding and winning various Full Contact tournament titles in North America. He was also “Team Coach” for the USA Kyokushin Karate Team in 1995 at the 5th World IKO Tournament in Tokyo with over 126 countries and over 300 fighters represented.
Today Shihan continues teaching at his more than 20 dojos in the USA combining traditional methods and conventional methods by training his students to adapt to modern day encounters, while still preserving the honored traditions of Martial Arts.