This week in history (13 December – 19 December)

13 December

On 13 December 1943 David ‘Ticky’ Donovan was born in Loughton, just outside London. As a boy, he was into many sports. However, boxing was his main passion. He would go on to become the most successful coach of the British and English National sides.

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, 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).

On 13 December 1958 Vernon Bell made the 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 Minoru Mochizuki’s Yoseikan Karate

On 13 December 1998, the 1998 K-1 Grand Prix, was held at the Tokyo Dome Andy Hug reached his third consecutive Grand Prix final. He defeated Mark Russell of England; Ray Sefo of New Zealand; and Sam Greco of Australia. In the final, he lost to Peter Aerts of The Netherlands.

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 teams consisted mainly of black belts.

Tournament karate was still a relatively new sport. It could be a 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.

On 14 December 1971, Hajime Kazumi was born in Kawasaki, Japan. He started practising Kyokushin Karate in 1986, under the instruction of Tsuyoshi Hiroshige.

On 14th December 1975, Keinosuke Enoeda’s second child, daughter Maya was born. Earlier that year saw the publication of his book “Shotokan Karate Free Fighting Techniques” co-authored with Charles Mack.

On 14 December 2008, Rika Usami won the first of her five All Japan Karate-do Championship titles. At the 36th All Japan Karate-do Championships held at the Budokan, Tokyo, she won first place in the Individual Kata event.

15 December

On 15 December 1958, the 2nd French National Karate Tournament was held at rue du Gabon, Paris, France.

17 December

On 17 December 2016, after many years of dedicated service to the growth of Shotokan Karate in the United States, Yutaka Yaguchi retired at the age of 84. His last training, teaching, and grading seminar took place at the Lonetree Recreation Centre, in Denver. They were 150 students in attendance, from as far afield as Africa and the Middle East.

19 December

On 19 December 1963 Vernon Bell received a letter from Masatomo Takagi, the General Manager of the Japan Karate Association (JKA), requesting that the British Karate Federation officially act as the authorized representative of the JKA in Britain.

Earlier that year Bell had received a letter from Takagi indicating that Tetsuji Murakami (Yoseikan Karate), who had been teaching and grading on behalf of the BKF, was not the official representative or delegate of the JKA to Europe. This was in response to a letter Bell had written, requesting clarification of the BKF’s status with the JKA and also of Murakami’s credentials.

It seems Murakami had not been entirely honest with the BKF about his credentials. He had trained with the JKA. However, he was not a 3rd Dan under the JKA as he had claimed, but was rather a 1st Dan. He had also claimed that he was the JKA’s representative in Europe.

Bell accepted Takagi’s offer. The BKF severed ties with Yoseikan Karate and became the official representatives of the JKA in Great Britain.

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