On this day….(January 29)

On 29 January 1962, one of the founders of the French Karate movement, Jim Alcheik, was assassinated, aged only 31. Alcheik is widely regarded as one of the greatest martial artists to come out of Europe. He held the ranks of 4th Dan in Aikido, 2nd Dan in Karate, 2nd Dan in Kendo and 3rd Dan in Judo. Born in Algeria, in June 1931, of Turkish origin, Alcheik 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, Alcheik 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 Ueshiba (Aikido) and Gichin Funakoshi (Karate). In the early 1930s, Mochizuki established the Yoseikan dojo where all the arts he had learnt, were taught. Alcheik spent 1955 to 1958 studying at the Yoseikan dojo. On his return to France, Alcheik became the Technical Director of the French Aikido and Kendo. Alcheik 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 independence 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 of terrorism. It is believed that Alcheik may have been recruited to be part of a force fighting against the OAS. It is believed that Alcheik 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.

On 29 January 1982 Hironori Ōhtsuka, the founder of Wado_ryu Karate, died aged 89 years. He began learning Jiujutsu at the age of 5, first under his uncle and later under his father. In 1922 Ōhtsuka became one of the first students of Gichin Funakoshi, who had arrived in Japan from Okinawa to introduce the new art of Karate. By the late 1920s, he had become Funakoshi’s assistant instructor. However, due to philosophical differences, he parted from him in the early 1930s. By 1934 Ōhtsuka had opened his first dojo in Tokyo, where he taught his Wado-ryu Karate, which was an amalgamation of Jiujitsu and Shotokan Karate.

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