Shihan Sjaak has 41 years experienced as a martial artist and currently holds an 7th dan Kyokushin degree as chairman of the United Federation of Kyokushinkai Karate
He was born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands . When he was one-and-a-half his parents moved to Bloemhof in Rotterdam South. He first came into contact with Budo at the age of 6 when his parents enrolled him at the Judo gym Van de Velde (no family). He gained his blue-belt after 3 and-a-half years of judo training but stopped doing Judo because at that time he preferred playing football.
The interest in the Eastern fighting sport began when his father Gerard van de Velde came home one evening and announced that a Kempo-club had started at his firm. After a trial lesson Sjaak v.d. Velde decided to start practicing Kempo. He practiced Kempo between the ages of 14 and 18 under the guidance of Sensei Jim Strik (2nd Dan Kempo). After the club was disbanded he started to practise kickboxing under the guidance of Jeffrey v Es. When he was 20 he returned to his first Budo love Kempo with Sensei Peter van Velzen (4th Dan Kempo) and at that point he reached 1st kyu.
When he was 22 he moved to Spijkenisse where he came into contact with Kyokushinkai Karate and, after 7 years of Kempo, he decided to switch to Kyokushin Karate. His first teacher was Sensei Peter Meerburg (2nd Dan Kyokushin) at the Delta Sports Dojo. However, several changes of teacher impaired the quality of the training so he decided to change to the Murumachi Dojo in 1988 as 3e kyu under the leadership of shihan v Wijngaarden, 5th Dan, and Shihan Eikmans, 5th Dan. After this move he became really interested in Kyokushin Karate and he started to help teaching children.
Soon after that he started giving lessons to adults as well. After much hard training, 5 days a week he was promoted to 1st Dan Kyokushin after completing the 30 man kumite. You can rest assured that both Shihans had an enormous influence on building his character.
In January 1995 he moved to Strijen in the Hoeksche Waard. On september 1st 1995 he open his own Dojo in Strijen called 'Musashi'.
The demand for Kyokushin karate in the Hoeksche Waard was enormous because within three years 3 different Dojo's were opened in Strijen, Westmaas and Numansdorp.
His 2nd and 3rd Dan were granted through Shihan Middelman en Shihan Goedegebuur in the years between the examinations with the 40 and 50 man kumite. His 4th Dan he received out of hands of shihan Bluming on the Take Out gala in The Hague ofhe Brothers Gordeau
In 1998 shihan Sjaak Van De Velde got the idea to reunite the different Top karatekas into some sort of Kyokushin Reunion. When asked about it, it is evident that he got irritated by the many "kingdoms" and "masters" who found themselves more important then the Martial art. It was Van De Velde's idea to unite forces with some top karatekas who were more interested in the benefit of Kyokushin karate and to eliminate the mutual discrimination in Holland and Europe.
This was the base of the first Kyokushin Reunion that took place in October 1999 . For many people this was a commemorative moment and the start of a new period for Kyokushin Karate in he Netherlands. It was the birth of a new cooperation between different kyokushin groups that eventually resulted in a new Kyokushin organization that marked a difference.
On Saterday October 7th 2000 at the 2nd Kyokushin Reunion, in front of the complete Dutch top of Kyokushin, he was getting the 5th Dan grade out of the hands of Shihan Jon Bluming because of his outstanding devotion and merit in favour of Kyokushin karate. The promotion was something special in Kyokushin because he was promoted by 6 shihans of 5 different Kyokushin organisations an this had never happen before, shihan Jon Bluming (real IBK), shihan Gerard en shihan Nico Gordeau (IBK), shihan Roel Wildeboer (Kyokushin Union), shihan Marius Goedegebuur (NKO/UFKK) and Shihan John Reeberg (KBN).
Following small parts of the speech from Shihan Bluming during the promotion to the 5th Dan to Sjaak van de Velde :" Sjaak, boy, I had many doubts but you brought the Kyokushin Reunion to a good end. I personally had a hard head in it, but you stuck out your neck and fight for what you are worth and at the end you have won. How you did it is a riddle for me but you did it. It gives me great pleasure that you have so many old Kyokushin boys from the first hour brought together. You do not only bring them together, but they also are working together and that is your great moment for kyokushin in the Netherlands and Europe. This with the fact that you are a very good karateka and teacher is the reason that we all 6 are promoting you to the 5th Dan degree Kyokushin and I officially appoint you to my shihandai. Go on like this and develop so further on, osu ".
Sjaak van de Velde : "If we can continue to keep this spirit of cooperation and mutual respect in the future, then I am very confident that we can become a great Kyokushin family once again. Organizations are not important in this matter to my point of view. It's all about what you do and what you transmit to people. I always like to think "Let everybody do his thing, don't impose your rules to others and give credit to all who deserve it". With this voluntarily cooperation without strings attached we can continue to cooperate and visit each others tournaments and events. Let us cherish and contribute our part to it. After seeing many fine karateka's from all around the world, I am confident that all differences will be solved and Kyokushin in the world will be re-unite one day. I know for sure that Together we are United, ready for the upcoming challenges and so Kyokushin will live forever, OSU!".
Shihan Sjaak van de Velde resigned officially January 11th 2003 for private reasons as shihandai of kancho Bluming IBK. On januari 15th he founded his own Kyokushin organization - the United Federation of Kyokushinkai Karate - U.F.K.K. - with one goal in mind: Open events for karateka's of any affiliation and spreading traditional Kyokushin to the next generation to the views of the founder and leader Mas Oyama."
He officially joined the IKO Tezuka group on June 2004 after almost 9 years independent Kyokushin karate. This decision is not taken very easy but after months of talking. Sjaak believes that IKO Tezuka is the right and truthful organization for his students after talking hours with kancho Tezuka. On June 1st 2004 he founded the NKO - Netherlands Kyokushin Organization - and many dojo's join his Dutch Kyokushin Organization. Sjaak is officially appointed on June 4th by kancho Tezuka to President of Europe of the EKO and again many dojo's join this European Kyokushin Organization.
Sjaak organized on 11/12 December the 5th Kyokushin Reunion and this is again a huge success. Over 100 Kyokushin karateka's from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany , Norway, France, Hungary, Canada and Japan took time and the effort to be present on this wonderful day. Sjaak was promoted on December 13th 2004 by kancho Tezuka to Rokudan in front of his students for all his work in general for kyokushin karate in the Netherlands and Europe. Sjaak received his certificate for his 6th dan, for President of Europe and for being Branch Chief of the Netherlands
Then something important happen. Sjaak van de Velde came in close contact around January 2005 with Shihan Cameron Quinn and Miss Kuristina Oyama and they informed Sjaak about the present Kyokushin situation in Japan and the rest of the world. Sjaak asked Kancho Tezuka some questions because the stories of Kancho Tezuka and Miss Oyama don't match at all but he get no answers of Tezuka .Therefore he asked Kancho Tezuka several times for a meeting with Shihan Quinn, Miss Oyama and himself but Kancho Tezuka refused over and over again. But Sjaak didn't give up and he went on with asking questions about the will of Sosai and the rights of Kyokushin trademarks.
Bit by bit the truth came out and Tezuka told Sjaak that he wanted to leave with his group Kyokushin and Sosai and that he would change the name of Kyokushin if the Oyama family will take him to court. Sjaak could not accept this and on June 1st 2005 exactly one year after joining IKO Tezuka he resigned from his function as President of EKO and went further on with U.F.K.K. All 18 Dutch Kyokushin Dojo's resigned also and followed Sjaak to U.F.K.K. just like many other kyokushin Dojo's all around the world.
Sjaak's reasons for resignation are very simple: a) He believes that he must support the Oyama family because they are the flesh and blood of Sosai. b) He doesn't want to be part of what he now realizes, after lengthy and ongoing discussions with key people, is a big deception and an organization that acts without authority. c) Mas Oyama's Kyokushin will be always Kyokushin. Sjaak cannot allow or accept any change to the original name as chosen by Sosai.
As a result of the information that has come to light in the past months, Sjaak feels strongly compelled to align himself to the Oyama family. Sjaak feels a great sense of respect and loyalty to the family which he had been led to believe was being shown through the Tezuka Group. Sjaak now realizes that is NOT the case at all. As someone calling himself a student of the teachings of Sosai Mas Oyama, he thinks it is his duty to help, work for and honor his wife and children. To claim the privileges of one without fulfilling the responsibilities of the other is nothing more than a convenient lie.
For Sjaak van de Velde, it is time to end this lie and from now on he will work for kyokushin in general and he will support the Oyama family if they ask him.
On August 15 2005 Sjaak open his 4th Kyokushin Dojo in the Rotterdam area Barendrecht and in march 2010 the 5th kyokushin Dojo in the South of Rotterdam. On the Kyokushin Spring Camp in april 2009 the full European kyokushin board off EKO/UFF rewarded shihan Sjaak with a promotion to 7th Dan Kyokushin for all his work for kyokushin in general in Holland, Europe and the rest of the world as Chairman of the U.F.K.K.
He will continu his work for Kyokushin because that's his life. Shihan Sjaak is a extremely busy man because he trains and gives classes 6 days a week in the biggest kyokushin Dojo of the Netherlands -Musashi-, he is organizing almost 25 kyokushin events a year and he travels a lott around the world to give seminars, classes and camps. He also write articles in budo magazines and produce Kyokushin instruction DVD's and Kyokushin magazines for students all over the world.
"Together we are United, ready for the upcoming challenges so kyokushin will live forever" "Osu !!"
Special thanks to my mentors and teachers :
Sosai Mas Oyama, hanshi Marius Goedegebuur, hanshi Frans van Wijngaarden, hanshi Tom Eikmans, sensei Peter Meerburg and sensei Michael van de Velde
I dedicate this site to my loved ones :
My father Gerard van de Velde and my mother Annie van de Velde !!
Whatever comes our way ... whatever battle we have raging inside us, we always have a choice. I try to be the best of myself. It's the choices that we make us who we are ... and we can always choose to do what's right !!