This week in history…(1 May – 7 May)

1 May

On 1 May 1949, the Japan Karate Association(Nippon Karate Kyokai) was formed. Kichinosuke Saigo was the first President of the association, with Isao Obata the first Chairman.


On 1 May 1953, Fujikiyo Omura was born Shizuoka, Japan. He began learning Karate at high school in 1970.

Known for the speed and dynamism of his Karate, Omura is a former JKA All-Japan and World Champion. He is a much respected and in-demand instructor and is a frequent guest instructor on gasshuku held around the world. He has also helped to build a healthy Shotokan Karate following in Thailand, where Thai Boxing, Taekwondo, and badminton are the dominant activities in the country.


On 1 May 1981, Eiichi Miyazato was promoted to Judo 7th Dan by the Nippon Kodokan. Known for his strong personality, he was considered one of Chojun Miyagi’s, most devoted and best students. He has trained many notable students, including Morio Higaonna, Teruo Chinen, and Ryoichi Onaga.

In 1936 Miyazato began learning Judo under Shoko Itokazu. He eventually trained at the Kodokan, the home of Japanese Judo. He would go on to become All Okinawa Judo Champion and All Japan Police Judo Champion.


On 1 May 1997, Yoshizo Machida established JKA Brazil. He helped put Shotokan Karate on the Brazilian martial arts map. He did this mainly through conducting seminars and training courses and running classes at his dojo.



On 1 May 2015, Yoshimi Inoue died from cancer. For many, his name will be associated with the many great kata champions he coached, that included Mie Nakayama, Atsuko Wakai, and Ryoke Abe. However, Inoue was more than a great coach. He was a martial artist first and foremost. What made him a unique and successful coach was that he saw competition as being just one part of Karate. He still stressed the martial aspects of Karate in his day-to-day training.



On 1 May 2019, JKAWF India Kolkata invited Fujikiyo Omura to teach at the 2019 JKA Kolkata Goodwill Karate Camp and Championships. On the first day of the event, it was his 66th birthday. He was presented with a three-tier cake, with over 500 people singing Happy Birthday to him. For the first three days of the event, he conducted the training camp. The last two days saw the Goodwill Championships take place. The event was completed on 5 May.


On 1 May 2022, Mary Stevens was graded to 4th Dan by Iain Abernethy.

A practical martial artist teaching self-protection, a club owner, a writer, and a charity worker, Mary Stevens wears many hats. She espouses a clear delineation between martial arts and self-protection as taught today.


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, 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 Tallinn, 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

On 7 May 1917, Seikichi Toguchi was born in Naha City, Okinawa. A body suppleness, the envy of many practitioners a fraction of his age, he was the first of Goju–Ryu founder, Chojun Miyagi’s students to open a dojo in Japan. He was also responsible for making advances in Okinawan Goju–Ryu.


On 7 May 2002, Ansei Ueshiro died in Oceanside, New York, following a stroke. He was aged 69.

A pioneer of Shorin-Ryu Karate in the United States, Ueshiro was one of the first masters to bring Okinawan Karate to the United States. Many top-ranking American Shorin-Ryu instructors can trace their roots back to him.


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 signalled a changing of the guard in European Karate.

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1 comment

    • Barry on May 1, 2023 at 2:28 pm
    • Reply

    “November, 1948 The Japan Karate Association was founded …. [JKA website]

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