At the age of 18, when Yoshinao was admitted at the University of Economic Sciences in Osaka, he discovered Karate. He followed the teachings of Master Tani (8th dan) and Master Tanaka and soon became the best karateist in Japan. In 1963, he won the title of University Champion of Japan, an event in which there were 1250 competitors.
Henry Plée, the promoter of Karate in France, was impressed by the perfomances and motivations of the young champion and invited him to come to Europe and take part in numerous competitions. There again Yoshinao Nanbu won event after event (French Cup, European Championship etc.)
In 1968 he returned to Japan. He wanted to enrich his technique and his knowledge of the science of Budo. During that year, Master Tani entrusted Yoshinao Nanbu with the mission of developing Shukokai Karate in Europe. He fulfilled the mission with success.
At 27 years of age Yoshinao Nanbu arrived at such a high degree of skill that he created his own method and called it Sankukai. However he felt that Sankukai was only a stage in his journey. In 1974, he withdrew completely from the world of martial arts and went to Cap d'Ail. There, amidst the natural elements, he was able to meditate and connect with the true value of things. He discovered the precise path he really should follow: Nanbudo was born.
Since Nanbudo's creation in 1978 till today Yoshinao Nanbu is a very active teacher. He is constantly developing and refining his art, and he regularly travels around the world to direct Nanbudo seminars in different countries. The main seminar takes place every summer on the beach of Playa d'Aro, Spain, which brings together many Nanbudoists from all parts of the world in a creative and friendly atmosphere.