Mirko Buchwald

fighter  vegetarian from birth 

Mirko Buchwald is one of the most respected instructors of Goju Ryu Karate and has studied the art for over 30 years.  He is a 6th Degree Black Belt and chief instructor of the San Francisco Goju Ryu Karate Centre.  

Mirko became the British Karate champion aged 20, a title he retained for two years.  He then travelled to the USA from England in 1989 to compete in a tournament, which he won. He stayed in the US to train with the world chief instructor.  Mirko has since become a leading teaching assistant to the world Chief Instructor.

He has aided Goju Ryu’s World Chief Instructor in teaching and demonstrations all over the world.  These include the San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival, the Rengokai world Karate championships in Georgia & Okinawa, and most recently the Budokan in Tokyo and Okinawa, Japan.

  • British Champion
  • Sixth Dan Black Belt
  • US Team captain
  • Lifelong vegetarian

In 2001 he was selected as the U.S. team captain for the World Karate Championships.  In 2006 he competed again, entering the Kanazawa Cup Tournament,  one of the major world events.  He won men’s black belt fighting and was the men’s overall black belt Grand Champion.

In 2012 Mirko travelled to Japan to compete against a world-leading Goju Ryu expert, and took a win (read more here).  In 2016 he was awarded his Sixth Dan (read more here) and in 2023 he was awarded Seventh Dan (here).

Finding vegan

Sensei Buchwald (Sensei means ‘teacher’) became vegan out of respect for animals. He was born into a vegetarian family: his grandfather stopped eating meat following training as a veterinary surgeon, and Mirko’s mother was therefore raised as a veggie.  He has fond memories of helping a neighbour feed local wild foxes near his home.

Mirko joined a Hunt Saboteurs group at ten, although he didn’t become active until he was 14. Hunt Saboteurs use non-violent intervention techniques to disrupt hunting of animals.   His contact with older activists led him to become vegan as a teenager in the late 1980s.  In his early 40s, he told Great Vegan Athletes that veganism is not the norm in karate.

“I am part of a big martial arts federation based in Japan and train and teach seminars all over the world.  Many instructors want to learn from me in regards to my diet and I have been asked to talk about it at national conferences by the US head instructor. Many instructors that I have known and trained with for many years train very hard but due to their diet still have issues with weight and their health as they get older. So they are interested and usually very surprised if they don’t already know I am vegan.”

Juicing for energy

A big fan of juicing, Mirko continues to enjoy excellent health and is one of the most respected instructors in karate.  He also runs a website where he explains why non-vegan food is unsuitable for athletes and non-athletes alike.

“Eating plant based protein is a direct way of getting protein and having it synthesize in our bodies, rather than getting it from an animal (that’s almost like second hand protein). Plant based foods are the source of all of the essential amino acids, they also have significant amounts of protein. For instance, asparagus, broccoli and tofu are all about 40% protein as a percentage of calories.”

Similar Athletes

See all athletes