On this day, 29 January 1962, one of the founders of the French karate movement, Jim Alcheik, was assassinated, aged only 31.
Alchiek widely regarded as one of the greatest martial artists to come out of Europe. He held a 4th Dan in Aikido, a 2nd Dan in Karate, a 2nd Dan in Kendo and a 3rd Dan in Judo.
Born in Algeria, in June 1931, of Turkish origin, Alchiek grew up in Tunisia, where his martial arts journey began. His first art was judo and achieved his 3rd Dan at a young age.
After military service for France, Alchiek was invited by Minoru Mochizuki to train with him in Yoseikan, Shizuoka, Japan. Mochizuki was a very eclectic martial artist having been a student of Jigoro Kano (judo), Morihei Uesiba (aikido) and Gichin Funakoshi. In the early 1930s Mochizuki established the Yoseikan dojo where all the arts he had learnt, were taught. Alchiek spent 1955 to 1958 studying at the Yoseikan dojo.
On his return to France, Alchiek became the technical director of the French Aikido and Kendo. Alchiek also wanted to spread the teachings and philosophy of Mochizuki. He organised meetings, gala and seminars and eventually established the organisation, European Yoseikan.
During the early 1960s there was growing political unrest in Algeria. Some in the country wanted indeependce from France, whereas others wanted to remain a colony of France. The Secret Army Organisation (OAS) was founded in 1961 by a group determined to prevent Algerian Independence and willing to use acts o terrorism. It is believed that Alchiek may have been recruited to be part of a force fighting against the OAS.
It is believed that Alchiek and seventeen of his men were in a villa in Algiers, when they received a parcel bomb that killed them. The villa had been a base for interrogating alleged OAS members.