This week in history…(15 January – 21 January)

On 15 January 1963 Akiyoshi (Shokei) Matsui was born in Chiba, Japan. Of Korean heritage, he was named Moon Jang-gyu.

Considered by some to be a “Kyokushin Karate genius“, Shokei Matsui was the youngest man to become Kyokushin World Champion. A tough competitor, he won 50 out of 56 fights. He is also one of the few people to have completed the gruelling 100-man Kumite Challenge, unique to Kyokushin Karate.

On 15 January 1984, the Japan Martial Arts Council (Nippon Budo Kyougi Kai) presented Kenei Mabuni with the ‘Distinguished Service Medal‘ for his contributions to martial arts.

From an early age, Mabuni was exposed to Karate from his father, Kenwa Mabuni, and many of the top, Karate masters of the time, including Chojun Miyagi, Choki Motobu, Yasuhiro Konishi, and Gichin Funakoshi. He continued the legacy of what he learned from his father.

On 16 January 1952, Minoru Kawawada was born in Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan.

Although he may not be as well known as some other JKA masters, Kawawada was a longtime instructor at the JKA Hombu. For many years he went about his task of teaching excellent Karate to his students. He is also considered to be one of the best competitors of his generation, equally at home competing in kata or kumite. Humble and friendly, he is known for his immense Karate knowledge.

On 17 January 1986, Yasuaki Nagatomo arrived in the United States, wanting to learn English. He settled in Albuquerque.

Known for his ability to teach children, Nagatomo has had the opportunity to train and be influenced by some of the JKA’s best instructors, including Yutaka Yaguchi, Masahiko Tanaka, Yoshiharu Osaka, Shojiro Koyama, Shigeru Takashina, and Masaaki Ueki.

Between 19 – 20 January 2012, the 3rd Japan Cup Karatedo Championships was co-hosted in Burma by the Japanese Embassy and the Myanmar Karatedo Federation. They were supported by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The event was held at the Aung San Indoor Stadium in Yangon. During the opening ceremony, Fujikiyo Omura gave a kata demonstration.

On 20 January 1909 Gōju-ryu legend, Gōgen Yamaguchi was born. Nicknamed the Cat, he was famed for his feline-like speed and prowess. Yamaguchi was a direct student of Gōju-ryu Karate founder, Chojun Miyagi. He began training with him in 1929.

On 20 January 1938 Cyril Cummins, a pioneer of Shotokan in Central England, was born.

Cummins began his Karate training in 1964 at the Kyu-Shin-Kan School of Judo Ltd, located in Birmingham. His initial instructors were Jonny Brown, Tommy Ryan and Les Hart. They had learnt their Karate mainly from Hidetaka Nishiyama‘s book, Karate: The Art of ‘Empty-Hand Fighting. They eventually joined the Karate Union of Great Britain (KUGB).

Cummins gained his 1st Dan in 1966 from the Budo of Great Britain. After training with Hirokazu Kanazawa, he re-took his Dan grade under the auspices of the JKA/KUGB.

On 20 January 1964 Ray Fuller officially joined the British Karate Federation (BKF). He trained twice a week, with the likes of Terry Wingrove, Jimmy Neal, Eddie Whitcher, Mick Peachey, and Michael Randall, to name a few.

On 20 January 1984, the 3rd World Open Tournament took place in Tokyo, Japan. The three-day event (20-22 January) was organised by Mas Oyama’s International Karate Organisation (IKO).

192 competitors from 60 countries took part in the tournament. Japan claimed the top three positions. Makoto Nakamura defeated Keiji Sanpei in the final. Akiyoshi (Shokei) Matsui finished in third place.

21 January

On 21 January 1958, Yasunori Ogura was born in Hokkaido, Japan.

A stalwart of the JKA, Ogura is known for his attention to detail. He is a former kumite and kata champion, who is a senior instructor at the JKA Hombu.

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