This week in history (20 Apr – 26 Apr)

20 April

On 20 April 1960, Luis Maria Sanz was born in Vallodolid, Spain. He has been described as “the last link between traditional and competitive Karate“.

Luis Maria Sanz holds a notable place in competitive Karate, being the first non-Japanese man and the first Shotokan karateka to become WKF World champion in 1992.


On 20 April 1965, a touring party form the JKA 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.

Taiji Kase led the touring party. The party also include 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 a part of the successful British Team that defeated Japan to win the Team Kumite event at the 1990 World Shotokan Championships, held in Sunderland, England. This was the first time that a non-Japanese team had won the title.

The men’s Kumite Team consisted of Elwyn Hall, Frank Brennan, Dean Hodgkin, Ronnie Cannings and Gary Harford. They were coached by Andy Sherry.


On 21 April 1965, the first authorised demonstration of a touring party of JKA instructors in Britain took place at the Kensington Town Hall, London. The second Demonstration was held on 24 April at Hornsey Town Hall. The final demonstration in East London was held on 26 April at Poplar Town Hall.


On 21 April 1973 Shotokan Karate Master, Kenneth Funakoshi’s second son Kyle Yoshinobu Funakoshi was born. Kyle Funakoshi has replaced his father as the head of the Funakoshi Shotokan Karate Association (FSKA).


23 April

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


25 April

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


26 April

On 26 April 1957, Gichin Funakoshi died in a Tokyo hospital, aged 88. His close family were at his death bead. His close student, Shigeru Egami, was also present.


On 26 April 1994, Kyokushin Karate founder, Masutatsu (Mas) Oyama died from lung cancer, despite not being a smoker.


On 26 April 2014, Russian, Tariel Nikoleishvili attempted the 100-Man Kumite Challenge in front of IKO–1 head, Shokei Matsui, Also present was Francisco Filho and Artur Hovhannisyan, all who had successfully completed the challenge. The challenge took place on the 20th anniversary of Mas Oyama’s death.

Nikoleishvili completed the challenge in 3 hours 21 minutes. He won 64 fights; drew 27 flights; and lost 9 fights.

Author: Patrick Donkor

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