On this day….(January 6)

On 6 January 1967, Michael Randall gained his 1st Dan from Hirokazu Kanazawa. He was one of the first men in Britain to gain the rank of 1st Dan from the Japan Karate Association (JKA).

At the time of writing Randall is one of a handful of people currently training to have trained under the British Karate Federation (BKF) during the early days of Karate in the United Kingdom.

Randall began his training in 1964 under BKF instructors Jimmy Neal and Terry Wingrove. He also trained with Tetsuji Murakami and Hiroo Mochizuki.

Hirokazu Kanazawa had been contracted to teach for a year in the UK by the BKF. Kanazawa would hold three classes a week at the Lyndhurst Hall dojo located in London. He also held an extra class at the Kentish Town Baths, also located in London. All four classes would last an hour and thirty minutes. Randall attended all four classes, later adding a fifth class as his training progressed.

When the Karate Union of Great Britain (KUGB) was formed in 1966 Randall was among the students who left the BKF to join this new association.

Randall took his 1st Dan grading examination at the KUGB’s Blackfriars dojo located in London. It was a private grading where no one was allowed to watch. The grading consisted of Randall and his examiners. For the grading, he had to freestyle spar (kumite) against three separate people. He also had to perform basic techniques (kihon). His chosen kata for the grading was Empi.

What was interesting was Randall was not informed of the result of his grading for a couple of months. This was Kanazwa’s way of testing the resolve and determination of his students. This was a way of seeing whether a student’s training deteriorated after grading for 1st Dan.

On 6 January 1989 Fumio Demura suffered a heart attack during the filming of a fight scene on the TV show O’Hara. He had been pushing himself fairly hard. He was running his successful dojo, while at the same time building a successful career as an actor/stuntman.

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