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The biografy of Bruno Koller Shihan


Bruno Koller, 9th Dan Karate / 3rd Dan Kendo, IJKAS Chiefinstructor, IJKA European Cheifinstructor (1949 - 2018, R.I.P)

I was born in 1949 in Appenzell/Switzerland. My youth was affected by ski racing and alpinism. My first contact with karate was in 1968 in Lucerne in the dojo of Peter von Rotz. I was practising Kyokushinkai Karate there during my time of apprenticeship. After my job-related graduation I was working as a skiing instructor in St. Moritz, where I also opened my first karate dojo. In summer 1975 I went to Japan with my wife and son Giosuel to learn and study at the origin.

Within two years I was training daily Karate, Kendo and Iaido in Sendai. In this time I changed from Kyokushinkai to Shotokan Karate because my teacher Yuji Sato, Chiefinstructor of northern Japan was teaching Shotokan Karate. The Sato family became my japanese family, where I was welcome at any time.

In Sendai I had much contact with Shoji Sensei, the teacher of my teacher. After two years of daily hard exercise (mostly 7 hours a day) my teacher sent me after a test in Sendai-Budokan (I had to fight everybody there and did not lose any fight) to the instructor training in Tokyo. I had to face the hardest challenges with the highest japanese instructors (Nakayama, Asai, Shoji, Mori, ...) in the Tokyo Honbu Dojo. Here I experienced the reality of Karate. After this real hard week of training I returned relieved to family and friends in Sendai.

In these two years I learned a powerful Kihon and a good base of Shotokan Karate on a very high level from Yuji Sato Sensei and Shoji Sensei. Still today I am very grateful for this hard Kihon and basics. In 1977 I returned to Switzerland with my family as a Nidan in Karate and Kendo. In October 1977 I opened the Senbukan Dojo in Lucerne. This Dojo became within the following 30 years one of the best known and most successful Karate schools. The dojo hat a lot of students (over 200 in the best times) and I produced several European Champions out of them.

Again and again I travelled to Japan, to train with the best karateka of the world and to better myself. Thus I developped a strong net of relationship between Japan and Switzerland, which enabled me to organize a two-day event at the Arts- and Congress Hall (KKL) in Lucerne in occasion of "10 years Senbukan Dojo". The highest and most famous artists from Japan have been in Lucerne to show how martial arts (Karate, Kendo, Iaido, Kyudo, Judo) and artistic and visual arts (Shakuhachi Shamisen, Koto, Taiko, Ikebana, Jiutamai) are positioned in Zen Buddhism. In Karate I was selected again and again for the biggest international championships and I had big success, the most important are:

1980 Karate World Championships, Bremen - I was the first European being among "the best eight"
1983 Karate World Championships, Egypt
1993 Karate World Championshpis, South Africa - 3rd in Kata / 5th in Team-Kata
1994 IJKA Karate European Championships, Birmingham - 1st place Kata / 1st place Kumite
1996 1. Asai-Cup, Russia - 1st place Kumite
1997 2. Asai-Cup - I brought it als oragnizer to Switzerland

When Nakayama Sensei passed away unexpectedly I was without membership in any organization. An invitation of Asasi Sensei came like a selvation in this time without guidance. This was the moment to go on further and optimize my karate. This decision also was political and opened floodgates to me. I got everything from Asai Sensei. He teached karate to everyone independent of status, origin or skin color. A strong and generative karate relationship was developped.

After the early passing of Asai Sensei I transferred the Senbukan Dojo to a former student and went to Asia with my second wife, to establish an international Asai Karate association with Mrs. Asai and japanese and taiwanese instructors loayl to Asai Sensei. After two years I returned to Switzerland and opened the "Budoschule Lucerne". I gave all my medals and cups to enthusiastic young karateka, because the focus changed with age and experiences. It is necessary to look forward, train and study karate hard and self-critical and to pass an alive karate to the next generation.

Bruno Koller, 9th Dan Karate / 3rd Dan Kendo (written 2009)

This text is originally from
Budoschule Lucerne.

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