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

15 May

On 15 May 1947, Steve Cattle was born. Until his untimely death, aged only 47, he was one of the longest-practising Shotokan practitioners in Britain. He was also a keen historian of Karate.

Cattle began his Karate training in 1963, after applying for membership with the British Karate Federation (BKF) in York. He moved to Liverpool to study for a Degree in Divinity. It was at this time he started training with Keinosuke Enoeda.

In the late 1980s, Cattle left the KUGB and joined Taiji Kase’s World Karate Shotokan Karate Association (WKSA).

On 15 May 1978, Del Saito was promoted to 4th Dan by Chuzo Kotaka.

On 15 May 1981 Chuzo Kotaka promoted Del Saito to 5th Dan.

On 15 May 1993, Ray Dalke announced that the 20th Riverside National Karate Championships would be his last event. He had decided to take early retirement. The championships continue to be one of the Premier tournaments in the United States.

On 15th May 2008, Henri Plee was awarded the National Order of Merit by French President Jacques Chirac. The award was in recognition of his martial arts expertise. He was awarded the rank of Knight. Later that year on 12 December Jacque Delcourt presented him with the Knights Insignia of the National Order of Merit, at an event held at the offices of the European Magazine in Paris. Delcourt gave a speech detailing Plee’s life and his close links to the history of French Karate. He also read two congratulatory letters from Jacques Rogge of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Antonio Espinos of the World Karate Federation (WKF).

On 15 May 2011, Ray Dalke was elected to the University of California, Riverside Athletics Hall of Fame. This was in recognition of his successful coaching career at the University.

As a coach, Dalke oversaw one of the most successful collegiate Karate programs in the United States. During his tenure, the Karate team won five National Collegiate Championships and had eight individual National Collegiate Karate Champions.

16 May

On 16 May 1958, Jeff Whybrow was born in South London. A legend of British Kyokushin Karate, he was a protege or Steve Arneil. He was one of the faces of British Karate during the 1970s and the 1980s. He was equally comfortable in knockdown tournaments as well as point-fighting competitions. He was known for his all-around skill as a competitor and instructor.

17 May

On 17 May 1969, Keinosuke Enoeda married Reiko Hayashi. Charles Naylor, who would become a stalwart of the KUGB was his best man. The newlyweds settled in Kingston Surrey.

18 May

On 18 May 1966, Wayne Otto, a multiple European and World Champion, was born in Hackney, London.

Otto is one of the most successful fighters to come out of Britain. He appears in the Guinness Book of Records, as having won the most Karate Championship medals for a male competitor. Nicknamed the “Black Shark” and the “Black Pearl” by his rivals, he was the backbone of many successful British and English teams coached by Ticky Donovan.

19 May

On 19 May 1991, Akira Masuda became the 12th man to complete the 100-Man Kumite Challenge. He was the last man to complete the challenge while Kyokushin Karate founder, Mas Oyama was alive.

The challenge, devised by Oyama, is famous for being one of the most difficult challenges in Karate. By the time Masuda faced his 60th opponent in the trial, he was extremely exhausted. He showed tremendous spirit in his last forty fights, fighting on pure instinct.

20 May

On 20 May 1942, Robin Rielly, American Shotokan Karate, was born.

Rielly began practising Karate in the early 1960s in Okinawa. He went on to become one of the first Americans to be promoted to 6th Dan in Shotokan. He was also the first American appointed to the International Shotokan Karate Federation (ISKF) Technical Committee.

On 20 May 1964, the Foreign Affairs Officer for the JKA, Kazuo Nagai, arrived in London as part of a feasibility tour of Europe. The purpose of the tour was for the JKA to send instructors to teach in Europe.

On 20 May 1989, Karate legend, Gogen (Jitsumi) Yamaguchi died in Tokyo, Japan. He was 80 years old. With Gosei Yamaguchi heading his own association in the United States, Gosen Yamaguchi became the head of the International Karatedo Gojukai Association (IKGA) and the All Japan Karate-Do Gojukai Association.

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