This week in history…(14 August – 20 August)

14 August

On 14 August 1934, the founder of American Goju-Ryu Karate, Peter George Urban, was born in Jersey City, USA.

Serving in the US Navy Urban was stationed in Yokohama, Japan. In 1953 he began studying Karate as a student of Richard Kim. In 1954 he was transferred to Tokyo. There he was introduced by Kim to Mas Oyama and Gogen Yamaguchi and was allowed to train with them.

On 14 August 1945 William ‘Billy’ Higgins, a member of the first non-Japanese team to win the World Team Kumite title in 1975, was born in Bootle, England. A phenomenal fighter famed for his lightning-fast techniques, Higgins enjoyed a long and distinguished competitive career at a domestic and international level. He is the winner of multiple European and World titles.

On 14 August 1960, the second British Karate Federation (BKF) Summer School was held at the Imperial Private Hotel in Scarborough, England.

The ten-day residential course started on Sunday the 14th and finished on Thursday the 25th. Tetsuji Murakami was the instructor of the course and was assisted by Vernon Bell. Attendees were graded on the final day of the course.

On 14 August 2013, Kiyoshi Yamazaki was honoured at a lunch for the 2013 Nisei Week Pioneers.

The 73rd Annual Nisei Week Japanese Festival was held in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. The festival was a celebration of Japanese American culture and history. The other people honoured at the lunch were Fumio Demura, Chogi Higa, Takayuki Kubota, Nori Ugematsu, and Yoshiko Yamaguchi.

15 August

On 15 August 2006, Shotokan master, Tetsuhiko Asai, died from heart failure aged 71 years.

On 15 August 2013, Tomiko Mitsuoka was awarded her 8th Dan. This made her one of the highest-graded women in the Shotokan Karate world.

16 August

On 16 August 1940, Kiyoshi Yamazaki was born in Chiba Prefecture, Japan. His father was a Kendo master, who taught his Kiyoshi Yamasaki and his brother, martial arts from an early age.

A student of one of the greatest Karate Masters of the 20th century, Yasuhiro Konishi, Yamazaki has endeavoured to pass on many of his master’s lessons.

17 August

On 17 August 2000, Andy Hug was diagnosed with acute leukaemia, a type of cancer affecting blood and bone marrow. He had been feeling weak for some time. He was admitted to a hospital in Bunkyo, Tokyo, Japan. Six days later he fell into a coma from which he did not wake.

18 August

On 18 August 1990, the 30th Anniversary celebration of the founding of the Okinawan Gojo-Ryu Karate-do Association was held at the Shimin Kaikan in Ginowan, Okinawa. Anthony Mirakian was accompanied by his students to the celebration. They participated in the event.

Between 18-19 August 2001, Karin Prinsloo had her biggest international success, at the 6th World Games held in Akita, Japan. She won gold in the -60 kg Kumite event. She defeated Kellie Anne Shimmings of Australia, in the final. She was South Africa’s only Karate representative at the Games.

Between 18-20 August 2017, the Funakoshi Gichin Cup 14th Karate World Championship was held in Ireland. During the opening ceremony, the JKA Chief Instructor, Masaaki Ueki presented Daniel Lautier with “The Award for distinguished devotion to the JKA“.

19 August

On 19 August 1992, the Japan Karatedo Rengokai awarded Ryusho Sakagami the rank of 10th Dan.

Sakagami was known as a walking encyclopedia of various martial arts by his contemporaries and dedicated his life to the pursuit of Budo. Apart from Karate he also held ranks in Kubodo (8th Dan); Aikido (5th Dan); Iaido (8th Dan); Jodo(7th Dan); Judo (5th Dan); and Kendo (7th Dan).

On 19 August 2014, Henri Plee, the “Father of European Karate“, died aged 91 years.

It was through Plee’s inquisitiveness that many of us have had the opportunity to practice the art we love. His encouragement of the likes of Vernon Bell and others has seen Karate spread across Europe and become a martial art practised by many.

20 August

Between 20-23 August 2015, Terry Daly was one of several guest instructors invited to the 4-day 25th, International Summer Camp in the town of Furstenfeld, Austria. The camp was organised by Gerhard Jedliczka.

Daly has regularly taught at the Karate camp in Furstenfeld. Other instructors who have taught at the camp include Dario Marchini, Luis Maria Sanz, Luca Valdesi, and Wayne Otto.

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