This week in history…(17 July – 23 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 of 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 (BKF) 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 featured Hoang Nam, Vernon Bell and his students training at 12 Maybush Road, Hornchurch, Essex.

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

On 19 July 1960, the first known contact via letter was 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 and Judo founder Jigaro Kano.

On 19 July 1995 Japanese millionaire and patron of 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 Championship held in Japan in 1970.

Between 19-20 July 2019, the BKF (Black Karate Federation) Hall of Fame Inductee ceremony was held at the Hilton Atlanta Hotel, in downtown Atlanta. The event celebrated 50 years of the BKF and also Steve Muhammad’s 80th birthday. He attended the event alongside his wife Sababirah, oldest son Asaad, and one of his sisters. The 1st Annual Sijo Steve Muhammad “Fight like a God” Championship Tournament was also held.

Between 19-20 July 2020, Bakkies Laubscher conducted an online gasshuku. Around 200 students from 20 countries participated in the training session.

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. The demonstration was conducted by Vernon Bell and his students.

21 July

On 21 July 1947, Kyokushin legend, Terutomo Yamazaki, was born in the village of Yamato, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan.

Nicknamed the ‘Dragon of Kyokushin‘, Terutomo Yamazaki was an exceptional fighter. He was known for his expertise in tameshiwara (board breaking). A highly respected teacher, he has taught the likes of Katsuaki Sato, Miyuki Miura, Seiji Isobe, Howard Collins, and Shokei Matsui.

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. A student of Keinosuke Enoeda, she was for many years one of the highest-ranked Shotokan women in the world.

22 July

On 22 July 1943, Sadashige Kato was born in Kochi, Japan. His introduction to martial arts came in 1956 when as a 13-year-old he began practising Judo. Two years later he began practising Karate as a hobby.

As an assistant to Keinosuke Enoeda, Sadashige Kato was among the first JKA instructors to reside and teach in the UK.

On 22 July 1967, the 1st KUGB Championships took place at the Alexandra Palace in London. Jack Green won the Men’s Individual Kumite title, with Andy Sherry winning the Men’s Individual Kata title, performing the kata Empi. Liverpool Red Triangle won the first of its five consecutive Men’s Team Kumite titles. The team consisted of Sherry, Allan Smith, Bob Poynton, John Ashton and Terry O’Neill.

Between 22-24 July 2013, the WSKF (World Shorin-Ryu Karate-Do Federation) Internationals were hosted at the Sirata Beach Resort in Florida. This year was a celebration of Frank Grant, who was now 81 years old.

A direct student of Matsubayashi Shorin-Ryu Karate founder, Shoshin Nagamine, Grant spent much of his Karate life promoting the teachings of this Okinawan Karate master.

On 22 July 2019, the Belgium Technical Meeting was held. At the meeting, GKI (Goju–Ryu Karate International) senior instructors, James Rousseau, Leonard Sim, Jose Campos, Antonio Moreira, and Kevin Nason were appointed to the GKI Technical Panel.

23 July

On 23 July 2011, Kyokushin legend, Steve Arneil, was awarded his 10th Dan. He was the first man after Kyokushin founder, Mas Oyama, to complete the gruelling 100-Man Kumite Challenge.

On 23 July 2020, the 32nd Olympic Games were due to start in Tokyo and be completed on 8 August. However, the Games were cancelled due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. They were rescheduled for 2021.

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