This week in history (11 November – 17 November)

11 November

On 11 November 1934 Colin Williams was born. Williams a Shotokan practitioner, started his training during the early days of Karate in the United Kingdom, in the 1950s.

In the 1980s he founded the Bukonkai Karate International (BKI) association. He was the association’s Chief Instructor. In 1998 he founded the Malta Bukonkai Karate Karate Association. Many of the island’s leading Shotokan instructors got their start under Williams. He is considered to be the Father of Maltese Karate.

After a long battle against leukaemia, Colin Williams died at the age of 67. More than 250 mourners attended his funeral service.

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On 11 November 1990, the 10th World Karate Championships was held in Mexico City, Mexico (8 – 11 November).

Japan continued their dominance in the men’s and women’s individual kata, with Tomoyuki Aihara and Yuki Mimura walking away with the honours. The Italian men’s team prevented Japan having a clean sweep of kata titles, beating the Japanese team into second place.

The British kumite team continued their dominance of the team event winning their fifth consecutive title. They had won their first title in 1990.


12 November

On 12 November 1964 Julie Nicholson was born in Jarrow, Tyne and Wear.

Nicholson started Shotokan Karate under the guidance of John Holdsworth and Jeff Barwick, at the age of nine. She eventually came under the instruction of Keinosuke Enoeda.

She began her competitive career in 1976 eventually becoming a member of the KUGB (Karate Union of Great Britain) squad from 1983 until she retired in 2000.

At the World Shotokan Karate Association Championship in 1999, Nicholson won the kata event and came third in the kumite event. At the KUGB National Championships in 2001, she became the first woman to win both the kata and kumite events, thus becoming Grand Champion.

Nicholson is now a senior instructor for the KUGB. She also runs the successful Ronin Karate Club, alongside her husband John Holdsworth.


13 November

On 13 November 1943 David ‘Ticky’ Donovan was born, in Loughton, England. He is a highly respected former competitor, coach and founder of the Ishinryu style of Karate.

Originally a boxer, Donovan got started in Karate in 1965 when he and a friend attended a class run by Tatsuo Suzuki, a practitioner of Wado-Ryu. He almost quit after the first lesson, finding the pace a little slow. However, following a demonstration by Suzuki he was hooked.

Donovan practiced Wado-Ryu for a number of years before making a switch to Shotokan Karate, being trained by Hirokazu Kanazawa and Keinosuke Enoeda. Following a break from Karate after sustaining a broken hand, Donovan switched styles to Kyokushinkai Karate, training under Steve Arneil. He was eventually awarded his 2nd dan by Mas Oyama, the creator of the style.

Ticky Donovan eventually developed his own style of Ishinryu (All of one Heart) Karate in 1973, which amalgamated his experiences from training in Wado-Ryu, Shotokan and Kyokushinkai. He opened his first club in Dagenham.

As a competitor Donovan won the British Championship titles in 1973, 1974 and 1975. He was part of a British team, managed by Steve Arneil, that won the World Championships against the much-fancied Japanese team. In the October 1976 issue of Black Belt magazine, he was named as one of the top ten European karateka.

With over thirty years as British team coach, Ticky Donovan has coached some of the best British Karate talent, including (but not limited to) Wayne Otto, Molly Samuels, Vic Charles, Julliet and Jillian Toney.

As coach of the British team, Donovan spearheaded the most successful period in British competitive karate. His teams won the World Championship Team kumite event five times (1982, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990) in a row.

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On 13 November 1970 the Toney twins (Jillian and Juliette) were born. They were both kumite competitors representing Britain at World and European level.

Julliet Toney is a two-time World Karate Champion (1996, 1998) and has also won medals at European and World Games competing in the 60 kg weight class.

Jillian Toney is no less impressive, having won World Games (1997) and European (1997) titles, and also winning silver medals at the World Championships (1992, 1994), competing in the 53 kg weight class.


14 November

On 14 November 1889  Shito-ryu Karate founder, Kenwa Mabuni, was born in Okinawa.

Mabuni was one of the first Okinawan masters to teach his style of Karate on the Japanese mainland, eventually settling in Osaka in 1929. He initially trained under Yasutsune Itosu learning Shuri te, He later trained under Kanryo Higaonna learning Naha te from him. Always keen to learn new techniques he also studied under various Okinawan and Chinese masters.


16 November

On 16 November 1928 Mitsusuke Harada was born in Dalian, China, then a part of the Japanese Empire.

Harada began his training in 1945, under Genshin Hironishi (a senior student of Gichin Funakoshi), at the original Shotokan dojo in Zoshigaya, Tokyo. He also had the opportunity to be taught by Yoshitaka Funikoshi.

Following the allied bombing of Japan in 1945, the dojo was destroyed. Harada wrote a letter to Gichin Funakoshi requesting to continue his training. Funakoshi invited him to continue his training with him at his son Yoshihide’s home.

In 1948 Harada entered Waseda University to study economics and commerce. There he met Shigeru Egami and Tsutomu Ohshima, both who would have a profound influence on his Karate.

While working in Brazil for the Bank of South America Harada set up his own Karate association, Karate-do Shotokan Brazileo.

In 1956 Gichin Funakoshi awarded Mitsusuke Harada the rank of 5th dan, a rank he has kept in honour of Funakoshi.

Following the political upheavals that occurred in the JKA following death of Funakoshi, some of his senior students including Harada left the JKA to form the Shotokai organisation.

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On 16 November 1963 the British Karate Federation (BKF) became affiliated to the Japan Karate Association (JKA).

In a six-page letter to Masatomo Takagi, the JKA Managing Director, Vernon Bell formally agreed to the BKF severing ties with Yoseikan Karate with whom they had been affiliated since 1957. In the same letter Bell accepted a Shodan from the JKA.

Earlier that year Bell had written letters to the JKA seeking clarification of the BKF’s status. Bell had been led to belief that Yoseikan were the official body of Japanese Karate. In fact, Yoseikan specialized in teaching Judo and Aikido and were not authorized representatives of Karate in Europe.

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On 16 November 2008 the 19th World Karate Championships held at the Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan ended.

Japan was the most successful country at their home tournament, winning a total of nine medals including four golds.

Luca Valdesi won his third individual world title at this tournament, with Antonio Diaz winning the silver.

Rafael Aghayev won two gold medals in the open and 70 kg kumite events. He won his first individual title at the previous World Championships in 2006.

Hoang Ngan Nguyen continued her successful tournament career winning the women’s individual kata event.


17 November

On 17 November 1917 noted martial artist, Richard Kim, was born in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Kim began his martial arts training aged six, when his mother enrolled him in judo classes. In 1927 he began his Karate training after witnessing Okinawan master, Kentsu Yabu, giving a demonstration of Shorinji-ryu Karate at the Nuuanu YMCA in Hawaii. He went to Japan in 1930 to continue his training with Yabu.

Richard Kim also trained in Japan, in the combat style of Daito-ryu under Yoshida Kotaro.

Kim did not limit his training just to Shorinji-ryu and Daito-ryu. He studied Yang style Tai Chi from Chen Chin Wuan and also learnt Ba Gua from Chao Hsu Lie. He trained with Mas Oyama and eventually with Goju-ryu master, Gogen Yamaguchi.

Kim was always happy to share his knowledge with martial artists from other styles. Peter Urban (Goju-ryu) and Pauline Bindra (Shotokan) are among the martial artists who benefited from Kim’s knowledge.

Author: Patrick Donkor

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