This week in history (13 Apr – 19 Apr)

13 April

On 13 April 1973, Miyuki Mimura became the next man to complete the 100-Man Kumite Challenge. However, there would be a 13-year wait until the next successful challenge completion.

Perhaps the most unique challenge in all of Karate is Kyokushin Karate’s Hyakunin Kumite or 100-man Kumite Challenge. Devised by Kyokushin Karate founder, Mas Oyama, the challenge is the ultimate mental and physical challenge, designed to test one’s spirit.

The challenge involves having to fight 100 opponents, one after another. Fights are full-contact and typically last around two minutes. The only protection fighters are allowed are a mouthguard in the groin protector. If knocked down, a fighter must get up within five seconds, or fail the challenge. Fighters must win at least 50% of the fights to pass the challenge.

14 April

On 14 April 1956, Henri Plee was graded to 3rd Dan by the great Judo master Ichiro Abe.

On 14 April 1965, a touring party from the JKA arrived at Brussels Airport, Belgium, for the next leg of their European tour. As guests of Leo Aarts and the Belgische Nationale Karate Federation, they visited the cities of Brussels and Antwerp. In Brussels, they gave a demonstration at the dojo of a Mr Goetz. In Antwerp, they gave another demonstration at the dojo of Aarts. There was also a training session attended by sixty-five students. Over two hundred people watched the training session. In a separate training session, also in Antwerp, Hirokazu Kanazawa and Keinosuke Enoeda taught thirty-five students.

15 April

On 15 April 1922, martial arts historian, Donald Frederick “Donn” Draeger was born to parents Frank and Irma Draeger in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, during the Great Depression of 1920s America.

On 15 April 1987, JKA Chief Instructor, Masatoshi Nakayama died.

17 April

On 17 April 2010, Hidetaka Abe was a part of the United States team selection panel for the Wado Kai Karatedo World Cup. The panel included Yoshiaki Ajari and Sadaharu Kurobane. The panel selected a team to compete in Nagoya, Japan on 14-15 August 2010.

18 April

On 18 April 1962 Kenji Midori was born in Amami Oshima, Japan, to a wealthy family.

Standing at around 5’4″ (1.6 m) in height, Kenji Midori is known as the “Little Giant“. He became the first lightweight competitor to win Kyokushin Karate’s World Tournament, where all his opponents were considerably heavier and taller than him. A phenomenal competitor, he always placed in all the competitions he entered.

On 18 April 1986, Akiyoshi (Shokei) Matsui became the ninth man to successfully complete the challenge. He later said it was one of the hardest things he had ever done.

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