This week in history (15 April – 21 April)

15 April

On 15 April 1987 Shotokan Karate legend, Masatoshi Nakayama, died in Tokyo, Japan aged 74 years.

Nakayama guided the JKA through its difficult early days and through his hard work made it into one of the biggest and most respected Shotokan associations in the world. Many of the students trained by Nakayama describe him as a tough but fair teacher. Some of his most able students heave become famous masters in their own right. Some of Nakayama’s most notable students, many who can be seen in his “Best Karate Series”, include:

Following Nakayama’s death, internal politics led to a splintering of the JKA, with many of the top instructors leaving to form their own associations. It is a testament to how well regarded Nakayama was that none of these splits happened until his death.

20 April

On 20th April 1960 former WKF World Champion, Luis Maria Sanz, was born in Vallodolid, Spain.

Sanz holds a notable place in Karate, being the first non-Japanese man and the first Shotokan karate-ka to become WKF kata World champion in 1992.


On 20 April 1966 Eddie Whitcher became the first British student to be graded to 1st Dan by Hirokazu Kanazawa, under the JKA.

Whitcher had started practising Judo in the mid 1950s. However following a motorcycle accident he suffered nerve and muscle damage to his shoulder. This made the throwing and grappling aspects of Judo difficult for him to perform. Looking for an alternative to Judo, he came across Yoseikan Karate (a version of Shotokan Karate) and started training at Vernon Bell’s Upminister dojo in 1963.

21 April

On 21 April 1960 long time KUGB member, Garry Harford, was born in Salford, England.

Harford was a part of the kumite team that won the 1990 World Shotokan Championships held in Sunderland. This was the first Britain had won the title, defeating Japan in the final. Japan had never lost a team kumite final. The team included Frank Brennan, Elwyn Hall, Dean Hodgkin and Ronnie Canning, was managed by Andy Sherry.


On 21 April 1965 the first authorised demonstration of the Japan Karate Association in Britain took place at the Kensington Town Hall, London.

The JKA team had been invited to the Britain by Vernon Bell. The JKA team were led by Taiji Kase and consisted of JKA All Japan Champions, Hirokazu Kanazawa, Keinosuke Enoeda and Hiroshi Shirai.

Permanent link to this article:

Leave a Reply

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