Called the Father of Canadian Karate, Masami Tsuruoka was born in 1929 in Cumberland,British Columbia. At the end of the war, he moved with his family to Kumamoto, Japan. During a trip to Tokyo he chanced to see a karate demonstration; he was so impressed that he resolved to learn this art, and upon his return to Kumamoto began to study Chito-ryu karate with Dr. Chitose.
By 1956, having attained the rank of nidan, he returned to Canada and started working in Toronto. At this time he was holding down two jobs during the daytime, and was not practicing karate at all. However, he also held a shodan in judo, which he was practicing in the evenings and introducing some karate.
Over the years, O-Sensei Tsuruoka was respnsible for Canada's first university karate club, its first inter-university tournament, and eventually even developed his own style of karate, simply called Tsuruoka. He now hold his 9th Dan (9th degree black belt), which makes him one of six in the entire world.