Hidy Ochiai, a native of Japan and a U.S. citizen, came to the United States in 1962 with the mission of teaching the martial arts. In 1966, after receiving his B.A. from Albright College, Master Ochiai moved to Binghamton, New York and established Washin-ryu (wa-harmony, shin-truth) Karate-do in the United States. Currently, Washin-ryu has branch schools, clubs, and college courses offerings throughout the northeastern United States, as well as in Minnesota to Virginia.
From 1967-1980, Master Ochiai preformed and competed throughout the world.† He was rated the number one kata (form) competitor by the PKA (Professional Karate Association), having won the United States Grand National Karate Championship for five consecutive years, an unduplicated record. He has been inducted twice to the Black Belt Magazine’s Hall of Fame in 1979 as “Instructor of the Year” and in 1980 as “Man of the Year.” His accomplishments have been praised by the media nationally and internationally, including Black Belt Magazine, ABC’s Wide World of Sports, You Asked For It, and ESPN.
Hidy Ochiai is the author of five books, including two comprehensive texts on self-defense, The Complete Book of Self-Defense and Hidy Ochiai’s Self-Defense for Kids: A Guide for Parents and Teachers. His book, A Way to Victory: Miyamoto Musashi’s Book of Five Rings is an English translation and commentary of Musashi’s ancient text and represents a seven-year effort to render the wisdom and spirit of Musashi’s timeless teachings. First released in Japan, A Way to Victory has been republished in the United States by the Overlook Press. Additionally, Hidy Ochiai created two permanent college-course offerings for the State University of New York. First, “Zen and the Martial Arts of Japan” in the Anthropology Department at Binghamton University and second, “Self-defense in the Martial Arts” for the School of Professional Studies at SUNY Cortland.
Since coming to the United States, Hidy Ochiai envisioned bringing the many benefits of traditional martial arts education to school-aged children in a format that would be widely accessible yet equally effective at conveying the fundamental principles, techniques, and philosophy of the martial arts. In 1994, Hidy Ochiai founded the non-profit organization, the Educational Karate Program (EKP), achieving his goal. The New York State Education Department validated EKP in 1995 as a program suitable for all public schools in New York State. EKP is currently taught in several hundred schools by over 1500 certified teachers. EKP students of all ages are taught how to improve themselves both in mind and body, while learning the principles of respect, confidence, anti-violence, and anti-substance abuse.
In 2001, looking to extend the scope of his martial arts instruction to help as many people as possible, Hidy Ochiai established the Hidy Ochiai Foundation. The Hidy Ochiai Foundation embodies its founder’s philosophy and life-long teachings, the heart of which is rooted in the mind/body connection. In seminars, demonstrations, and events the Foundation seeks to educate all people, but particularly children and young adults, how to lead peaceful and productive lives through the daily application of the principles of non-violence, respect, self-discipline, self-confidence, and mental and physical health. The Foundation has also been active in the local and global community, holding an annual Holiday Food Drive for Broome and Tioga County food banks and charities, having a fundraiser for the 9/11 First Responders, and raising over $75,000 for the survivors of the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami.
Hidy Ochiai’s humanitarian efforts have been recognized worldwide. He has been named a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International, he is the recipient of Albright College’s 1999 “Distinguished Alumnus Award, and SERTOMA’s 2001 “Service to Mankind Award.” On November 1, 2002, the Japanese Government designated Master Hidy Ochiai as “an ambassador” of traditional Japanese culture and art. His Excellency, Ryozo Kato, the Ambassador of Japan, recognized Hidy Ochiai during the Embassy’s celebration of Japan’s Culture Day, which was held at the Ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C. Master Ochiai was one of only twelve traditional martial arts masters chosen by the Japanese government to receive this honor and title.
In the pursuit and expression of his art, Hidy Ochiai’s fundamental aim has been to help individuals develop themselves to reach their true potential. To that end, Hidy Ochiai still teaches every day at his National Headquarters in Vestal, New York.