This week in history (2 September – 8 September)

4 September

On 4 September 1931 Kenneth Funakoshi, a distant relative of Shotokan Karate founder, Gichin Funakoshi, was born in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Hirokazu Kanazawa, a former Grand Champion in Japan, had arrived in Hawaii in 1960 to represent the Japan Karate Association (JKA) as Chief Instructor at the behest of Masatoshi Nakayama.

Funakoshi who was in his early twenties began training with Kanazawa three times a week. Prior to Kanazawa’s arrival he had studied Judo from the age of ten. He later studied Kempo.

Kanazawa departed Hawaii after an eighteen month stay. He was replaced by Masataka Mori. Mori was eventually replaced by Tetsuhiko Asai.

In 1969 Funakoshi was appointed Chief Instructor after Asai‘s departure.


6 September

On 6 September 2016 Walter Seaton, one of the first Wado-ryu black belts in the UK, died aged 80 years.

Seaton was born in Middlesbrough and was one of the first instructors to teach Karate to women at his dojo.

A family man, Seaton and his wife Eva had six children, twenty-two grandchildren, thirty-two great grandchildren and four great great grandchildren.


7 September

On 7 September 1959 the first British Karate Federation (BKF) Summer Course began. It was a six day course held at the Ippon Judo Club, located in the basement of the Imperial Private Hotel, Scarborough, Yorkshire.

Conducted by Vernon Bell the course was limited to twenty students. The course was open to men or women who were existing BKF members between the ages of sixteen and fifty-five. In a gruelling schedule, the training times were 10:00 am to 12:30 pm, 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm for the duration of the course.


8 September

On 8 September 1939 Tommy Morris, Scotland’s first black belt, and a pioneer of Scottish Karate, was born in the city of Glasgow.

Morris travelled to Japan in 1967 for a two-month period to pursue his love of Karate. He visited the dojo of Chojiro Tani, the founder of Shukokai Karate. He had visited a number of dojos, but it was here that he found the style of Karate that would change is life.

At Tani’s Kobe dojo Morris met Shigeru Kimura, a top student of Tani. In Kimura Morris had met the teacher he had been searching for. For the next six weeks of his stay in Japan Morris trained with Kimura for eight hours a day. He also had some lessons with Tani. Before returning to Scotland Morris was graded to 3rd Dan.

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On 8 September 1947 Yoshiharu Osaka, the man described as “Liquid in Motion“, for his impeccable technique, was born in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan.

An ultimate technician, JKA chief instructor, Masatoshi Nakayama, featured Osaka heavily in his “Best Karate” series of books, with him performing many of the kata featured in the books.

Osaka is a 4-time World Champion, a 2-time JKA Grand Champion and a 7-time JKA All Japan Kata Champion.

Author: Patrick Donkor

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