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

14 November

On 14 November 1889  Shito-Ryu Karate founder, Kenwa Mabuni, was born in Okinawa.

Mabuni was one of the first Okinawan masters to teach his style of Karate on the Japanese mainland, eventually settling in Osaka in 1929. He initially trained under Yasutsune Itosu learning Shuri te, He later trained under Kanryo Higaonna learning Naha te from him. Always keen to learn new techniques he also studied under various Okinawan and Chinese masters.

On 14 November 1932, Yutaka Yaguchi was born in Hiroshima, Japan. He was the youngest of five children and came from a family of farmers.

Like many of the instructors to come out of the JKA, Yaguchi was an exceptional fighter. He was known for his speed and strength. Apart from his technical ability, what stands out about Yaguchi is his warmth as an instructor. Those who have trained with him, have found him to be approachable, despite any language barriers.

15 November

On 15 November 1968, Doug Perry was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant. Perry was the first non-Okinawan promoted to 9th Dan within the Okinawan Shorin-Ryu Shorin-Kan Karate Association. He was one of the first group of students to practice Karate in its infancy in the United States.

16 November

On 16 November 1928 Mitsusuke Harada was born in Dalian, China, then a part of the Japanese Empire.

Harada began his training in 1945, under Genshin Hironishi (a senior student of Gichin Funakoshi), at the original Shotokan dojo in Zoshigaya, Tokyo. He also had the opportunity to be taught by Yoshitaka Funakoshi.

Following the allied bombing of Japan in 1945, the dojo was destroyed. Harada wrote a letter to Gichin Funakoshi requesting to continue his training. Funakoshi invited him to continue his training with him at his son Yoshihide’s home.

In 1948 Harada entered Waseda University to study economics and commerce. There he met Shigeru Egami and Tsutomu Ohshima, who both would have a profound influence on his Karate.

In 1956 Gichin Funakoshi awarded Mitsusuke Harada the rank of 5th Dan, a rank he has kept in honour of Funakoshi.

On 16 November 1963, the BKF (British Karate Federation) became affiliated with the JKA (Japan Karate Association).

In a six-page letter to Masatomo Takagi, the JKA Managing Director, Vernon Bell formally agreed to the BKF severing ties with Yoseikan Karate with whom they had been affiliated since 1957. In the same letter, Bell accepted a Shodan from the JKA.

Earlier that year Bell had written letters to the JKA seeking clarification of the BKF’s status. Bell had been led to believe that Yoseikan were the official body of Japanese Karate. In fact, Yoseikan specialized in teaching Judo and Aikido and were not authorized representatives of JKA Karate in Europe.

On 16 November 1973, Mas Tsuroka was elected the Vice-President of the Pan-American Karate Union, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Hidetaka Nishiyama was named the organisation’s Executive Director.

On 16 November 2008 the 19th World Karate Championships held at the Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan ended.

Japan was the most successful country at their home tournament, winning a total of nine medals including four golds.

Luca Valdesi won his third individual world title at this tournament, with Antonio Diaz winning the silver.

Rafael Aghayev won two gold medals in the Open and 70kg Kumite events. He won his first individual title at the previous World Championships in 2006.

Hoang Ngan Nguyen continued her successful tournament career winning the Women’s Individual Kata event.

17 November

On 17 November 1917 noted martial artist, Richard Kim, was born in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Kim began his martial arts training aged six when his mother enrolled him in Judo classes. In 1927 he began his Karate training after witnessing Okinawan master, Kentsu Yabu, giving a demonstration of Shorinji-Ryu Karate at the Nuuanu YMCA in Hawaii. He went to Japan in 1930 to continue his training with Yabu.

Kim also trained in Japan, in the combat style of Daito-Ryu under Yoshida Kotaro.

Kim did not limit his training just to Shorinji-Ryu and Daito-Ryu. He studied Yang style, Tai Chi, from Chen Chin Wuan and also learnt Ba Gua from Chao Hsu Lie. He trained with Mas Oyama and eventually with Goju-Ryu master, Gogen Yamaguchi.

Kim was always happy to share his knowledge with martial artists from other styles. Peter Urban (Goju-Ryu) and Pauline Bindra (Shotokan) are among the martial artists who benefited from Kim’s knowledge.

18 November

On 18 November 2004, the 17th World Karate Championships were held at the Monterrey Arena, Monterrey, Mexico.

Goju-Ryu practitioner Atsuko Wakai from Japan won her fourth consecutive Word Individual Kata title. She is one of the most successful tournament competitors, having also won titles at the World Games, Asian Games and All-Japan Karate-do Championships.

Shotokan practitioner, Luca Valdesi, won his first World Individual Kata title. He won a second gold by helping Italy win the team kata event against the Japanese team. This was also his first world team kata title.

Shito-ryu practioner, Elisa Au from the United States won double gold in the +60-kg kumite and Open kumite events. She is the first American woman to win a World title, having first won in 2002. +60-kg kumite event

The Japanese team topped the medal table winning four golds and one silver.

19 November

On 19 November 1963 Shotokai master, Mitsusuke Harada arrived in England from Belgium following an invitation from Judo great, Kenshiro Abbe. Harada started his Karate training in 1943 under Gichin Funakoshi and Shigeru Egami.

Kenshiro Abbe’s organisation, the British Budo Council, had invited Harada to give a Karate demonstration at the Royal Albert Hall during the National Judo Championships, on 23 November 1963. Although billed as a Shotokan master in the event programme, Harada had already made the switch to Shotokai.

On 19 November 2011, Jacques Delcourt died. He played an important role in making Karate a truly global art. He was instrumental in helping to create the European Karate Union, the forerunner of many of the top organisations in the world today.

Jacques Delcourt was born in Paris, France on 21 August 1928. During World War II he joined the resistance when he was only 15, eventually joining the Civil and Military Organisation (CMO). At age 16 he was wounded and assigned to the 110th Infantry Regiment.

Delcourt began his martial arts career with martial art great, Henri Plee, in the art of Judo. Plee was also his teacher when he later made the switch to lean Karate.

In 1961 Delcourt was appointed the head of French Karate, which at the time was still a branch of the Judo Federation.

In 1963 history was made when the first international Karate tournament took place in Paris. Delcourt and the French Federation were joined by federations from Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Great Britain. These federations went on to form the European Karate Federation (EKF) in 1965, with Delcourt becoming the organisation’s first president. In 1966, the first European Karate Championships were held in Paris

In 1970 the World Union of Karate-do Organisations (WUKO) was formed as an international governing body for the EKF and the Federation of All Japan Karate-do Organisation (FAJKO), with Delcourt becoming President of the organisation. At the insistence of FAJKO president, Ryoichi Sasakawa, the first World Karate Championships took place in Tokyo, Japan. In time WUKO would become the World Karate Federation (WKF).

Delcourt stepped down as President of the EKF in 1997. However, he was made an honorary President of the organisation. Between 1980 to 1992 he was a member of the French Olympic Committee.

Jacques Delcourt died on 19 November 2011 at his home in the South of France, aged eighty-three.

Permanent link to this article:

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.