This week in history (19 April – 25 April)

20 April

On 20th April 1960, Luis Maria Sanz was born in Valladolid, Spain. Described as “the last link between traditional and competitive Karate“, Luis Maria Sanz holds a notable place in Karate, being the first non-Japanese man and the first Shotokan karateka to become WKF World champion, in 1992.


On 20 April 1965, a JKA touring party arrived at Heathrow Airport where they were met by Vernon Bell of the British Karate Federation (BKF). They stayed at Bell’s home in Ilford. The JKA party consisted of Taiji Kase, Hirokazu Kanazawa, Keinosuke Enoeda, and Hiroshi Shirai.

The touring party’s itinerary in England began with their first official lesson at the BKF’s Lyndhurst dojo. The lesson was conducted by Kanazawa, and all in attendance were in awe of his technical knowledge. Students in attendance included Eddie Whitcher, Pauline Laville and Rod Butler.


On 20 April 1966, Edward Whitcher becomes the first British student to be graded to black belt by Hirokazu Kanazawa under the JKA.


21 April

On 21 April 1960, Gary Harford was born. He was part of the Great Britsh team that defeated Japan in the final of the Men’s Team Kumite, at the 7th World Championships (3rd Shoto Cup), in 1990.

The Great Britain team was coached by Andy Sherry who had been practising Karate in England, since its infancy. The Japanese team was coached by Masahiko Tanaka, who had won the kumite event at the 1st and 2nd IAKF World Championships.

The British team consisted of Elwyn HallFrank Brennan, Dean Hodgekin, Ronnie Canning and Gary Harford.

 The Japanese had a very strong team. They had Tomio Inamura, a previous World Champion and Masao Kagawa the current World Champion. They also had Koike and Noda, both very capable fighters. To round things off, they also had the previous days Individual Kata Champion, Tomoyuki Aihara.


On 21 April 1965, the first authorised demonstration by the JKA in Britain took place at the Kensington Townhall, London. This was the first of three demonstrations given in London.


23 April

On 23rd April 1965, A JKA party consisting of, Taiji Kase, Hirokazu Kanazawa, Keinosuke Enoeda, and Hiroshi Shirai arrived in Liverpool to give a demonstration at St. Georges Hall.  All in attendance were in awe at the technical skill on display.


24 April

On 24 April 1965, the second authorized demonstration by the JKA in Britain took place at Hornsey Town Hall, London.


25 April

On 25 April 1888, Chojun Miyagi, the founder of Goju-Ryu Karate, was born in Naha, Okinawa.

Author: Patrick Donkor

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