This week in history (19 February – 25 February)

On 20 February 1986 Kata World Champion Rika Usami was born in Tokyo, Japan.

A student of Karate master Yoshimi Inoue, Usami won the 2012 WKF World Championship Kata final held in Paris, France. She is known for her grace, strength and speed that mesmerize fans in equal measures.


On 21 February 1956 the earliest known letter was written by Vernon Bell to Henri Plee. It is believed that Bell wrote to the Fédération Française de Karaté on becoming affiliated with their association.

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On 21 February 1995 Steve Cattle died following an epileptic fit. He was only forty-seven. Until his untimely death Cattle was one of the longest practicing Shotokan practitioners in Britain. He was also a keen historian of Karate.

Nicknamed ‘Stumpy’ as he was only 5ft 6in, Cattle began training in Judo in 1961, eventually reaching the rank of 2nd Dan. He represented Britain at the 1967 World Student Games held in Japan.

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

Cattle was selected to become a member of the Karate Union of Great Britain (KUGB) national team. He was a top competitor nationally and internationally, recognized for his accurate punching and great timing.

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


On 22 February 1964 Hiroo Mochizuki, representing Yoseikan Karate, arrived in the UK for a three day visit. He was invited by the British Karate Federation (BKF) to conduct lessons at their London and York dojos. He also conducted a grading at the York dojo.


On 23 February 1966, Edward Whitcher and Robert Williams of the British Karate Federation’s London dojo were graded to 1st Kyu by Hirokazu Kanazawa. They were the first students in Britain to be graded to 1st Kyu by the Japan Karate Association (JKA).


On 24 February 1941 Shotokan master, Masahiko Tanaka, was born in Tokyo, Japan.

Known for his great skill in kumite, Tanaka, a long time member of the JKA, won the 1st and 2nd IAKF World Karate Championships held in Los Angeles and Bremen. He also won the JKA All-Japan Individual kumite on two occasions.

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On 24 February 1948 Hitoshi Kasuya was born in Tokyo, Japan. He is a top Shotokan instructor and has also been a top competitor in both kata and kumite.

Kasuya began his Shotokan Karate training aged seventeen, at Waseda University. Later he attended Hosei University, where he continued his Karate, becoming captain of the University Karate team.

After graduating from university, Kasuya enrolled on the JKA’s Instructor course, as a 3rd Dan.

When Hirokazu Kanazawa left the JKA and formed his association, Shotokan Karate International (SKI), Kasuya followed him. He became the top instructor at SKI’s honbu dojo.

In 1990 Kasuya parted company with SKI and formed his own association, World Shotokan Karate-Do Federation (WSKF).

Author: Patrick Donkor

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