Shigemasa Kawata was born on 14 February 1933. He started Shukokai Karate at 18 and became 1st Dan the next year (he had previously been 1st Dan in Shito-Ryu Karate under Tani when Mabuni was still alive). In 1969 he became Shido Bucho (the highest Technical Director of the Shukokai style). That year he visited Paris and was the head referee at the first Shukokai Karate World Championships. In 1971 he filled this position for the second time. When Shigeru Kimura started karate training with Chojiro Tani, Kawata was already a 3rd dan holder.
Today he is Tani’s most advanced direct student. In 1975 he received the hanshi grading from him and in 1985 he graduated to 9th dan. This graduation was confirmed by the Rengo-Kai (the largest inter-stylistic association of karate instructors in Japan) in 2002.