This week in history (1 Apr – 7 Apr)

1 April

On 1 April 1922 Gichin Funakoshi gave a Karate demonstration at the Women’s Higher Normal School, in Tokyo, Japan. This was one of a number of demonstrations he gave at the time to introduce the general public to Karate.

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On 1 April 1934 Hironori Ōtsuka opened his own Karate school ,the Dai Nippon Karate Shinko Kai at 63 Banchi Suehiro-Cho, Kanda, Tokyo.

Ōtsuka who had studied Shindō Yōshin-ryū Jujutsu was an early Japanese student of Gichin Funakoshi. He blended his Jujutsu and Shotokan Karate to form Wadō-ryū Karate.

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On 1 April 1957 Vernon Bell formed the British Karate Federation (BKF). This became the first official Karate association in the British Isles.


4 April

On 4 April 1947 Mikio Yahara, one of the most dynamic fighters to come out of the JKA, was born in Ehime Prefecture.

A firm believer in the Budo approach to Karate, Yahara broke away from the JKA to form his own organisation, Karatenomichi World Federation (KWF), in 2000. The organisation is built on the principle of “one strike, one kill” where all techniques are practised with a martial mindset.


5 April

On 5 April 1870 the founder of Motobu Ryu Karate, Chōki Motobu, was born in Okinawa.

Motobu was the third son of a noble family. As a third son he was not allowed to learn the family martial art of Motobu Udundi. This meant he trained under various Okinawan masters such as Anko Itosu, and Sokon Matsumura. A street fighter, he would get into fights using the techniques he had learnt, to see what worked.

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On 5 April 1970 Yuki Mimura, a multiple World Champion, was born
in Ashimura, a small village in the mountains near Matsumoto city on the Japanese island of Honshu.

Following on from greats Suzuko Okamura and Mie Nakayama, Yuki Mimura was the next great female Japanese kata champion. Like her predecessor, Nakayama she was the winner of three consecutive World titles, not to mention World Games  and World Cup titles.


7 April

On 7 April 2004 American Goju-ryu Karate pioneer, Peter Urban, died.

Urban began training in Goju-ryu Karate under Richard Kim in Japan when he was eighteen. He later trained with two other Karate legends in Gogen Yamaguchi and Mas Oyama.

In 1959 Urban started teaching Goju-ryu, introducing the Karate style to the United States. In 1966 he founded the American Goju Association.

Author: Patrick Donkor

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