In the U.S.S.R., karate began to be practiced in the late 1960s. Starting 1978, official USSR championships took place regularly.
After a break in connection with the 1982 ban on practicing karate, in February 1989, Leningrad Association of Martial Arts was created under the auspices of the Russia Society for Physical Culture and Sports of Leningrad Trade Unions Council.
Initially the Association included coaches and athletes, who had worked and trained in the 1970s – 80s in physical education organizations of Leningrad, such as those run by the Spartacus and the Zenith Sports Societies. It was at the Olympus Club of the Spartacus Society that its Chief Instructor, Vladimir Illarionov, developed methodology for training high-level karatekas. As a result, the School of Leningrad became a leading one among the karate associations of the Soviet Union.
At the time, the majority of coaches were practicing Shotokan, the most popular karate style in the world; this determined the Association's focus on this direction.
Participation in international seminars held in Germany, Great Britain, Austria, and Russia (Moscow, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod) under the renowned masters, Assai (9th Dan), Kanazawa (9th Dan), Enoeda (9th Dan), Ochi (8th Dan), Tabata (7th Dan), and Fuchinaga (5th Dan) contributed to practical implementation of methods and principles of Shotokan education.
In 1992, the Organization established contacts with Shotokan Karate Verband Deutschland e.V. (SKVD). Since then, Dieter Flindt (8th Dan), SKVD President has been visiting St. Petersburg annually, conducting seminars and giving qualification exams.
Seminars held in October 1997, on the basis of the School of master Takashi Shibuya (7th Dan, JKF) and Masashi Kagawa (7th Dan, JKA), organized with the assistance of the Consul General of Japan Tatsushi Morizumi and the Sports Committee of St. Petersburg, were another demonstration of the effectiveness of the line of development chosen by St. Petersburg.
The seminars became a prelude for the visit in June 1998, of Sensei Keigo Abe (1938 – 2019), 9th Dan, the Technical Director of the JKA. Abe Sensei was satisfied with the mastership of St. Petersburg karatekas. He gave qualification exams for 5th Dan to Alexander Drannik and for 4th Dan to Sergey Sizov. In August 1998, St. Petersburg Association became member of JKA (Matsuno Section).
A major contribution to the progress of Shotokan karate in St. Petersburg was the Abe Keigo Cup on 20 – 28 September 1999, which the master attended; giving technical and referee seminars, as well as qualification exams (JKA program) to twenty-three karatekas.
As a result of the termination of JKA (Matsuno Section) in February 1999, a new organization, JSKA (Japan Shotokan Karate Association) was established, with Yasuhisa Shiozaki as President and Abe Keigo as Chief Instructor. Consequently, Shotokan Karate Association, St Petersburg, became the official JSKA representative in Russia; its President, Alexander Drannik became Member of the Board (Shihankai) of JSKA.
In September 2018, during the JSKA World Championship in St. Petersburg, Alexander Drannik and Sergey Sizov passed the exams to Shihan Abe Keigo for the 8th Dan (JSKA Program).
Athletes of JSKA Russia successfully compete at the JSKA World- and European Championships. In 2018 the 9th World Championship of JSKA was held in St. Petersburg. The JSKA-Russia team was substantially leading in it (2nd being the team of Scotland). It also took 1st place at the 2019 JSKA European Championship in Cyprus (2nd place taken by the team of Cyprus).
These achievements, to a great degree, are the result of twenty years’ cooperation, in the form of annual seminars, competitions, etc., of St. Petersburg masters and the renowned Shihans, Abe Keigo and Dieter Flindt.