This week in history (17 June – 23 June)

17 June

On 17 June 1938 the former Chief Instructor of the JKA in Belgium, Satoshi Miyazaki, was born in Sagai, Japan.

In 1956 Miyazaki enrolled at Takushoku University to study economics, having been persuaded by Masatoshi Nakayama to do so. He joined the university’s famed Shotokan Karate school as a white belt, studying under Nakayama, who would be his instructor for the next eleven years.

Miyazaki eventually became a member of the Takushoku Karate team that included Shiro Asano, Hideo Ochi, Kazumi Tabata and Katsuya Kisaka. The team were very successful, winning the All-Japan University Championships.

On completing his degree, Miyazaki was asked by Nakayama to enroll on the 1961 JKA Instructor Course. Others enrolled on that year’s course included Ueki Masaaki and Keinosuke Enoeda.

Many of the graduates of the JKA’s instructor Course eventually left Japan to spread the JKA’s brand of Karate around the world. Miyazaki eventually got the chance to travel abroad in 1967, when he was asked to take over from Taiji Kase who had been teaching in Belgium for six months.

Miyazaki became the Technical Director of the Belgian Karate Federation (BAKF), a position he held until his untimely death in 1993 from cancer.


18 June

On 18 June 1947 Dominique Valera, arguably Europe’s best known Karate competitor of the 1960s and 1970s, was born in Lyon, France to a family of Spanish immigrants.

He was held in high regard by other fighters of the era, such as Ticky Donovan and Billy Higgins. Black Belt Magazine named him one of Europe’s top ten fighters on numerous occasions. He was also one of the first European karateka to make the successful transition to full-contact Karate.

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On 18 June 1966 Elwyn Hall, perhaps one of the most dynamic and exciting fighters to come out of the British Isles, was born in Lewisham, South London.

A member of the Karate Union of Great Britain (KUGB), Hall had the opportunity to face many of the top KUGB fighters of his era, in some memorable fighters. These fighters included Ian Roberts, George Best, Frank Brennan, Gary Harford, Randy Williams and Ronnie Christopher

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On 18 June 1976 Luca Valdesi, widely regarded as one of the greatest tournament kata competitors, was born in Palermo, Sicily.

Valdesi is a 22-time European Champion and 6-time World Champion in individual and team kata.


22 June

On 22 June 1931 Teruyuki Okazaki , described by some as one of the most technically gifted karateka to come from the the Japanese Karate Association (JKA), was born in Nogata, Fakuoka Prefecture, Japan.

A living textbook on the history and practice of Shotokan Karate, he was part of the third generation of students to train with Shotokan founder Gichin Funakoshi. Together with his mentor, Masatoshi Nakayama, he helped formulate the JKA Instructor Course, which has trained many of the top JKA masters. And if this was not enough, he was one of the first instructors sent by the JKA to the United States to teach Karate.

Author: Patrick Donkor

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