This week in history (13 June – 19 June)

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 to do so. 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 Masaaki Ueki 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. A disciplined man he was regularly 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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