This week in history (15 March – 21 March)

17 March

On 17 March 1990, the 7th World Championships (3rd Shoto Cup) began at the Crowtree Leisure Centre, Sunderland, England. The two-day tournament saw competitors from thirty countries taking part in seven events, i.e. four individual events and three team events.

The final event of day two was the eagerly anticipated Men’s Team Kumite event. Japan were the defending champions and had not lost a match since the walkout at the 1972 WUKO World Championships. They were coached by JKA legend, Masahiko Tanaka. The team included Men’s Individual Kumite Champion, Masao Kagawa. They faced a strong English team, featuring Frank Brennan and Elwyn Hall. The team Was coached by Keinosuke Enoeda and Andy Sherry. They became the first team to defeat the Japanese in the World Championships.

18 March

On 18 March 1964, Keinosuke Enoeda was promoted to 5th Dan, becoming the 25th person to be awarded the rank by the JKA. At the time he was teaching at the JKA Hombu and also at the Tokyo Art School.

On 18 March 1968, Frenchman Christoph Pinna was born in the Saint Sylvestre district of Nice, France. He was one of the best competitors of his generation. Famed for his dynamic kicking ability, he won multiple titles at European and World level.

On 18 March 1973, Miyuki Miura was promoted to 4th Dan by Mas Oyama. Later that year he was asked by Oyama to attempt the 100-Man Kumite Challenge.

On 18 March 1995, Kenji Yamaki, who would become World Champion later that year, completed the 100-Man Kumite Challenge in 3 hours 27 minutes. He won 83 fights (22 by Ippon, 61 by decision); drew 12 flights; and lost five fights. He started to feel cramps in his legs after his 50th fight. After his 60th fight, his whole body hurt. After his 70th fight, he became groggy and could hardly stand. By this time his spirit and fighting instinct got him through the challenge.

20 March

On 20 March 1928, Gichin Funakoshi gave a Karate display with fifteen of his students. It was by Imperial invitation at the Palace grounds of Sainei-kan.

On 20 March 1955, The Japan Karate Association (JKA) was founded. Masatoshi Nakayama was appointed the Chief Instructor and Masatomo Takagi was appointed Secretary of the JKA.

On 20 March 1957, Shotokan parctitioner, Paul Mead was born. He is a former SKI British, European and World Champion

On 20 March 1999, Thomas LaPuppet died after a four-year-long battle with cancer. He was survived by his wife Mary Caroll-LaPuppet and their son Thomas Marice.

Known as the “Gentleman of Karate“, Thomas LaPuppet was a pioneer of American karate. A ferocious competitor, he was nicknamed “La Puppet (The Puppet)” for his ability to mimic other fighters.

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