This week in history (15 July – 21 July)

18 July

On 18 July 1959 Tetsuji Murakami made his first ever visit to England to teach for the British Karate Federation (BKF). He also conducted a number gradings at 12 Maybush Road, Hornchurch, Essex.


On 18 July 1963 Vernon Bell received a letter from his German counterpart, Jurgen Seydel, informing him that Tetsuji Murakami was not an official representative of the JKA in Europe. Murakami had made the claim that he was a member of the JKA and was their sole representative in Europe.

19 July

On 19 July 1957 Hoang Nam, working on behalf of the French Karate Federation, conducted his first lesson and grading for the British Karate Federation at 12 Maybush Road, Hornchurch, Essex.


On 19 July 1957 the first black and white film was taken by Independent Television News (ITN) showing Karate training in Britain. It features Hoang Nam, Vernon Bell and students training at 12 Maybush Road, Hornchurch, Essex.


On 19 July 1959 Vernon Bell graded to 2nd Dan in Yoseikan Karate under Tetsuji Murakami. At the same grading Michael Manning became the first British Karate Federation student to grade to 2nd Kyu.


On 19 July 1960 the first known contact via letter is made between Vernon Bell and Minoru Mochizuki. Mochizuki holds a special place in martial arts history. He is one of the few men to have been a student of Aikido founder Morihei Ueshiba; Judo founder Jigaro Kano; and Shotokan Karate founder Gichin Funakoshi.


On 19 July 1995 Japanese millionaire and patron of the martial arts, Ryoichi Sasakawa, died from heart failure aged 96 years. While not a practitioner of any martial art he had a long involvement with arts such as Karate, as a benefactor and sponsor. He also held presidential positions in organisations such as the All Japan Karate-Do Organisation (FAJKO) and the World Shorinji Kempo Organisation. As head of FAJKO he gave the opening address at the 1st World Karate-Do Championship held in Japan in 1970.

20 July

On 20 July 1957 the first public demonstration of Karate in Britain was given by the British Karate Federation (BKF) at Valentines Park, Ilford.

21 July

On 21 July 2010 the Karate world was shocked to hear of the death of Pauline Bindra from a brain aneurysm. She was survived by her husband Lee and their three children Danny, Elida and Jason.

Pauline (nee Laville) is a true pioneer in the world of Karate. She was the first woman in Britain to earn a JKA (Japan Karate Association) black belt in Karate, and went on to train for over forty years, eventually reaching the rank of 8th Dan and becoming one of the highest graded female Shotokan practitioners in the world.

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