This week in history (14 December – 20 December)

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 the 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.


15 December

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


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 (BKF) 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.

Author: Patrick Donkor

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