Santiago H. Vasquez founded Chago Karate International in 2001 to share his knowledge and understanding of this beautiful art called Karate with his community. Sensei Vasquez places great emphasis in Karate as a Martial Art that is capable of transforming lives through its practice by remaining as close as possible to its cultural roots. Furthermore, as a law enforcement officer, Sensei Vasquez felt the need for a realistic approach to Karate as self-defense.

What is Karate-Do?

Karate Do, literally, “empty hand way,” is a martial art developed in the Ryukyu Islands in what is now Okinawa, Japan. It was developed from indigenous fighting methods called te ?, literally “hand”; Tii in Okinawan and Chinese kenpō. Karate is a striking art using punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes, and open-handed techniques. Grappling, locks, restraints, throws and vital point strikes are taught in some styles.

Karate was developed in the Ryukyu Kingdom prior to its 19th-century annexation by Japan. It was brought to the Japanese mainland in the early 20th century during a time of cultural exchanges between the Japanese and the Ryukyuans. In 1922, the Japanese Ministry of Education invited Sensei Gichin Funakoshi to Tokyo to give a karate demonstration. In 1924, Keio University established the first university karate club in Japan and by 1932, major Japanese universities had karate clubs. In this era of escalating Japanese militarism, the name was changed from “Chinese hand” to “empty hand” to indicate that the Japanese wished to develop the combat form in Japanese style. After the Second World War, Okinawa became an important United States military site and karate became popular among servicemen stationed there.


What is Chago Karate?

Chago Karate is what we call our “Ryu” or style, named after Sensei (Instructor) Santiago H. Vasquez. Chago Karate International, Inc., also known by the Japanese name of Chago-Kaikan Karate (Chago Karate Association) is the association founded by Sensei Vasquez to foment the development of Chago Karate.

Chago Karate is a practical system of empty-handed self-defense taught by Sensei Vasquez. Chago Karate is based on the principles of Shotokan Karate, (Shoto was the name of the founder of Shotokan Karate, Sensei Gichin Funakoshi), Midori Yama Budokai Karate, Aikido, Jujitsu, Jissen Karate (Full-Contact Fighting Karate), Boxing, and the principles of modern self-defense. Chago Karate includes circular and linear movements that allow the defender to use the attacker’s strategy against him or herself.


Your Sensei

Santiago H. Vasquez started training Karate approximately 35 years ago in Venezuela, South America under the instruction of Sensei Julio Cesar Acosta of the Japan Karate Association. Sensei Vasquez is currently a 7th-degree black belt in Karate under the auspices of the Midori Yama Budokai. Sensei Vasquez is also a 5th-degree black belt and a certified instructor under the auspices of the Hana Dai-Ichi Karate Association of the United States of America. Sensei Vasquez has received instruction in Jissen Karate (Full-Contact Fighting Karate), Aikido, Jujitsu, Okinawan Kobudo, Tae Kwon Do, Eagle Claw Kung-fu, Kickboxing, and Pressure Point Controlled Techniques (PPCT). In August 2002, Sensei Vasquez accomplished his childhood dream when he traveled to Japan to train Karate. While in Japan, Sensei Vasquez trained Kenbudo Karate with Sensei Akiyama Miyano Karate with Sensei Takahiro Miyano. Sensei Vasquez serves his community as a law enforcement officer with the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department (KCKPD). Sensei Vasquez was a member of the elite KCKPD Special Enforcement Unit and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Task Force Unit in Kansas City. Sensei Vasquez competed successfully as a black belt, but now enjoys furthering and sharing his knowledge of the Martial Arts.

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