This week in history (2 May – 8 May)

2 May

On 2 May 1967, the 2nd European Championships were held at the Crystal Palace, London. Brian Fitkin was selected to be a member of the British team, even though he was a green belt. Britain defeated a powerful French team in the Team Kumite event. During the tournament, the 20-year-old Fitkin defeated a number of celebrated European black belts. Teammate Peter Spanton won a bronze medal in the Ippon event. The championships were completed on 4 May.

On 2 May 1975. the 10th European Karate Championships were held in Ostend, Belgium. Both Brian Fitkin and Dominique Valera won a bronze medal in the -80 kg Kumite event. The event was won by Fitkin’s teammate Eugene Codrington. Roger Paschy, Billy Higgins, and Patrice Belrhiti were the other gold medalists. The championships were completed on 4 May.

Between 2 – 4 May 1994, the 29th European Karate Championships were held in Birmingham, England. Englishmen Wayne Otto and Tim Stephens won gold and silver, in their respective Kumite events. Teammates Patricia Duggin and Julliet Toney won bronze medals in their respective Kumite events. Sari Laine of Finland, who owns the Guinness World record for winning the most medals, won another Kumite title. Shotokan practitioners Michael Milon and Luis-Maria Sanz faced each other in the Men’s Individual Kata final. Milon won the title.

3 May

On 3 May 1931, Shotokan master, Hirokazu Kanazawa was born in Miyako, Iwate Prefecture, Japan. A legend of Karate much has been written about him. For many years he was been one of the most recognisable faces of Karate. Considered by many to be the greatest of the Shotokan Masters, he is arguably one of the best technicians to come out of the JKA.

On 3 May 2014, the 48th KUGB National Championships were held at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, England. Both Bob Rhodes and his good friend Billy Higgins were promoted to 8th Dan. Andy Sherry presented them with their certificates.

4 May

On 4 May 1935, Fusei Kise, a master of Kenshin Kan Shorin-Ryu Karate, was born in Okinawa.

Kise, who began learning Karate from his uncle in 1947, is also an expert in Kubodo and Okinawan Kempo.

On 4 May 1949, Eddie Daniels, who was one of the highest-ranked Karate instructors in the UK, was born in Gateshead, Newcastle. His mother was from Newcastle and his father was from the West African country of Ghana.

Between 4 – 6 May 2007, the 42nd European Karate Championships were held in Bratislava, Slovakia. Rafael Aghayev won both the -70 kg and Open Kumite events. At the next European Karate Championships held in Tallin, Estonia, he retained his Open title. He lost his -70 kg title to Oscar Vazquez of Spain. He also helped Azerbaijan to a third-place finish in the Team Kumite event.

5 May

On 5 May 1941, Terence ‘Terry’ Wingrove, an early pioneer of Karate in the UK, was born.

On 5th May 1968, Walter Seaton, known for his Wado-Ryu Karate, was graded to 1st Dan under the JKA. He began learning Shotokan Karate under Fred Kidd of the British Karate Federation (BKF).

6 May

On 6 May 1960, Frank Brennan, considered by many to be the best karateka of his generation, was born in Liverpool, England.

On 6 May 1996, Kyokushin Karate great, Andy Hug, took part in the K-1 Grand Prix held in the Yokohama Arena, Yokohama, Japan. On his side of the drawer, he defeated Bart Vale of the US.; Duane Van Der Merve of South Africa; and Ernesto Hoost of The Netherlands to reach the final. He faced Mike Bernardo of South Africa who had defeated him a year earlier. Hug defeated Bernardo to become the K-1 Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion.

7 May

Between 7-9 May 2004, Rafael Aghayev competed in his first senior European Championships. At the 39th European Championships, held in Moscow, Russia. Aghayev faced Alexandre Biamonti of France in the -65 kg Kumite final. He won his first European title. This signaled a changing of the guard in European Karate.

8 May

On 8 May 2017, the Islamic Solidarity Games were held in Baku, Azerbaijan. It finished on 12 May. Rafael Aghayev won yet another Kumite title, at his home games.

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