This week in history…(20 February – 26 February)

20 February

On 20 February 1964, José Manuel Egea Caceres, the oldest of three boys, was born in the Pan Bendito neighbourhood of Madrid, Spain.

He is one of the greatest European competitors, being an 8-time World Champion (junior and senior), a 13-time European Champion, a 14-time Spanish Champion, and the winner of numerous open tournaments.

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 in equal measures.

21 February

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

On 21 February 1995, Steve Cattle died following an epileptic fit. He was only 47 years old. Until his untimely death, Cattle was one of the longest-practising 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 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 1980s, Cattle left the KUGB and joined Taiji Kase‘s World Karate Shotokan Karate Association (WKSA).

On 21 February 2015, a special banquet was given to celebrate Fumio Demura‘s 50th anniversary of teaching in the United States. 600 people attended the event. Guests included Tsutomo Ohshima, Tak Kubota, and several Hollywood stars. Rather than being the centre of attention, Demura in characteristic fashion honoured his students. He inducted his most loyal students into the Genbu-kai Hall of Fame. At the end of the night, he expressed his gratitude to the audience.

22 February

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.

Between 22–23 February 2020, a weekend seminar was held in Nottingham. Both Keiji Tomiyama and Naoki Omi led the training. On the first evening, an early 70th birthday celebration was held for Tomiyama. After the birthday meal and gift presentation, Tomiyama played some tunes on his trumpet. The following day, a black belt grading was held.

23 February

On 23 February 1966, Edward Whitcher and Robert Williams of the British Karate Federation’s London dojo are 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.

24 February

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.

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 17, 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 Instructors 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 Hombu dojo.

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

25 February

On 25 February 1952, Kazuhiro Sawada was born in Hamamasu, a small village near Sapporo on the island of Hokkaido, Japan.

A longtime member of the JKA (Japanese Karate Association), Sawada has been at the forefront of helping to establish Shotokan Karate in Belgium. Like many of the JKA Masters of his generation, he is very technical.

26 February

On 26 February 1946 Brian Fitkin, a Kyokushin practitioner, was born in London.

Fighting at heavyweight, Brian Fitkin was described by legend Steve Arneil as being like “a Stalking Tiger“. Considered one of the best all-around fighters to come out of the UK, Fitkin was a natural fighter who could fight with control or go all out in a full-contact match.

On 26 February 1975 Shane Dorfman, the son of South African pioneer, Malcolm Dorfman, was born.

Dorfman is a 7-time Karatenomichi (KWF) World Champion and a World Karate Federation (WKF) World Champion. He has won multiple titles at the junior and senior levels.

A qualified medical doctor, Dorfman specialises in radiology and runs his own private practice.

Together with his father Dorfman runs several Karate schools.

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