On this day….(January 26)

On this day, 26 January 1964, Tetsuji Murakami performed his last official grading for the British Karate Federation (BKF) at their Blackpool dojo..

Murakami’s association with the BKF had begun in July 1959, when he arrived in England from France. He conducted his first lesson and grading at 12 Maybush Road, Hornchurch.

Murakami has been described as an exceptional exponent of karate, teaching Yoseikan, a form of Shotokan karate. Vernon Bell described him as a good and popular teacher. He had been awarded his 1st Dan by the Japan Karate Association (JKA).

When Murakami arrived in Europe, it was assumed that he was the JKA’s European representative. However, following correspondence between Vernon Bell, Jurgen Seydel (Bell’s counterpart in Germany) and Masatomo Takagi of the JKA, it transpired that Murakami did not represent the JKA.

Bell and members of the BKF felt betrayed. Correspondence continued between Bell and the JKA. The JKA indicated they that would not recognize any grades bestowed by Murakami.

On 16 November 1963 Bell applied for the the BKF to become members of the JKA. The BKF would become affiliated to the JKA and severe tie with the Yoseikan association.

Tetsuji Murakami eventually moved back to Japan in 1968. He became a student of Shigeru Egami learning Shotokai Karate. He was eventually awarded his 5th Dan from Egami. He eventually returned to Europe teaching and promoting Shotokai.

Author: Patrick Donkor

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