This week in history (10 December – 16 December)

10 December

On 10 December 1933 Shotokan master, Takayuki Mikami, was born in Nigata Prefecture Japan. He was the first professional Karate instructor to be sent by the JKA to teach Karate full-time in another country.

Mikami arrived in Tokyo in 1952  to study Japanese Literature at Hosei University. Being a farm boy in a big city, he began learning Karate as a way of building his confidence. His first instructor was Kimio Itoh, a direct student of Gichin Funakoshi.

After graduating, Mikami was invited to enroll on the newly formed JKA Instructor Training Course. The aim of the course was to train high calibre instructor who could teach and expand the growth of Karate. The course was the brain child of Masatoshi Nakayama and Teruyuki Okazaki.

Alongside Hirokazu Kanazawa, Mikami, was one of the first students of the Instructor Training Course. It was a one year intensive course. They would have to spar against senior grades, including Okazaki, Hidetaka Nishiyama and Taiji Kase. They would also cross train in other styles.

In 1957 Mikami was sent by the JKA to the Philippines to teach. He was there for three months, teaching  an introductory Karate course at the University Karate Club of Manilla. This teaching engagement was eventually extended to a year.

Mikami was sent to Los Angeles in the United States in 1963 to teach Karate. He would eventually relocate to New Orleans, where he has remained.


11 December

On 11 December 1985 multiple World Karate kumite champion, Douglas Santos Brose, was born in the Brazilian town of Cruz Alta. Aged six he and his family moved to the city of Florianópolis, the capital of southern Brazil’s Santa Catarina state.

A dynamic and imaginative fighter, Brose has been described as the “Greatest Brazilian Karate-ka”. He is the winner of multiple kumite titles, including being a multiple world champion.

12 December

On 12 December 1965 Hirokazu Kanazawa held his first grading at the British Karate Federation’s Nottingham dojo.

The British Karate Federation (BKF) had arranged with the Japan Karate Association (JKA) for Kanazawa to reside in the United Kingdom for a year, teaching Shotokan Karate for the BKF.

13 December

On 13 December 1943 David ‘Ticky’ Donovan, one of the most successful British Karate coaches, was born  in Loughton, just outside of London.

Donovan took over as coach of both the English and British Karate Teams in 1977 from Roy Stanhope.  Thus began one of the most successful periods in British Karate. Between 1982 and 1996 Donovan’s teams earned medals at every World Championships, not finishing below third place in the overall medal tables. In that time the British team won a total of fifty-three medals, twenty-three being gold.


On 13 December 1947 Tsuguo Sakumoto was born in the Okinawan village of Onna.

Sakumoto is a practitioner of Ryuei-ryu which is an Okinawan style of Karate created by the Nakaima family. He is also a three time Karate World Champion in kata, winning in 1984 (Maastrict), 1986 (Sydney) and 1988 (Cairo). He is also a two-time winner of the World Games (1985 and 1989) and a two-time winner of the World Cup(1987 and 1989).

At the time of writing Sakumoto is the president of the World Karate Kobudo Ryuei-Ryuho-Kai. He is also the Technical Chairman of the World Karate Federation (WKF).


On 13 December 1958 Vernon Bell made mention of the Japan Karate Association (JKA) for the first time, in a letter to Henri Plee. It seems he had only recently become aware of their existence. Bell and his association, the British Karate Federation (BKF), were affiliated to Yoseikan Karate

14 December

On 14 December 1963 The First European Karate competition was held at the Pierre Coubertin Stadium, Paris, France.

France, Belgium and Britain were the only countries that participated in a triangular team tournament.

The British team were representatives of Vernon Bell’s British Karate Federation (BKF). The team consisted of Brian Hammond, Andy Sherry, Ron Mills, Jimmy Neal and Terry Wingrove. Hammond was a 4th kyu, with the rest of the team being brown belts. The other international teams consisted mainly of black belts.

Tournament Karate was still a relatively new sport. It could be bloody affair with competitors being knocked out and sometimes being carried away on stretchers. The Belgians defeated the British 2-1, but lost to the French 4-0. The French beat the British 3-1, thus winning the entire tournament.

15 December

On 15 December 1958 the 2nd French National Karate Tournament was held at the police headquarters on  rue du Gabon, Paris, France. Competitors were required to wear body and chin protectors.

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