This week in history…(12 June – 18 June)

12 June

On 12 June 1965, Hirokazu Kanazawa took his first teaching trip outside of London to the British Karate Federation’s (BKF) Liverpool dojo. The trip lasted from 12 to 19 June.

During his visit, Kanazawa did not perform any gradings. It is thought he taught the katas Heian Yondan, Heian Godan and Tekki Shodan.

On 12 June 1980, Antonio Diaz, a multiple World Champion, was born in Caracas Venezuela.

Diaz started training in 1986 when he was five years old, influenced by his parents who were both karatekas. His first style was Shito-Kai Karate, training at the dojo of Shoko Sato, notable for being the first Japanese Karate sensei to start teaching in Venezuela.

Between 12 – 28 June 2015, Azerbaijan hosted the 1st European Games which featured participants in 30 sports. Led by Rafael Aghayev, Azerbaijan had great success in the Karate tournament held at the games. Feeling the pressure to do well in his home country, Aghayev defeated long-time rival Luigi Busa in the final of the -75 kg event. Azerbaijan topped the medal table with six medals (4 gold, 2 bronze).

17 June

On 17 June 1938, the former Chief Instructor of the JKA in Belgium, Satoshi Miyazaki, was born in Sagai, Japan.

In 1956 Miyazaki enrolled at Takushoku University to study economics, having been persuaded by Masatoshi Nakayama. He joined the university’s famed Shotokan Karate school as a white belt, studying under Nakayama. Nakayama would be his instructor for the next eleven years.

Miyazaki eventually became a member of the Takushoku Karate team that included Shiro Asano, Hideo Ochi, Kazumi Tabata, and Katsuya Kisaka. The team was very successful, winning the All-Japan University Championships.

On completing his degree, Miyazaki was asked by Nakayama to enrol in the 1961 JKA Instructor Course. Others enrolled in that year’s course included Ueki Masaaki and Keinosuke Enoeda.

18 June

On 18 June 1947, Dominique Valera was born in Lyon, France, to a family of Spanish immigrants. He was one of six children, three boys, and three girls.  His family had emigrated from Cartagena before World War Two.

On 18 June 1966, Elwyn Hall, perhaps one of the most dynamic and exciting fighters to come out of the British Isles was born in Lewisham, South London. His family was originally from Jamaica. His father, an electrician, had joined the RAF during the Second World War, aged only seventeen. He was a disciplined man doing fifty press-ups a day, well into his eighties.

Hall was a member of the successful English KUGB Kumite Team, including Frank Brennan, that defeated Japan to become World Team Kumite champions in 1990.

On 18 June 1976, multiple Kata World Champion, Luca Valdesi, was born in Palermo, Sicily to Andrea Valdesi. Both Luca’s father and uncle were black belts in Shotokan Karate.

Luca Valdesi started his Karate training under the guidance of his father at the age of six, in 1982. In 1996 he started training with the Fiamme Gialle, the prestigious Karate team of the Italian Financial Police, under head coach, Claudio Culasso.

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