This week in history (21 June – 27 June)

22 June

On 22 June 1931, Teruyuki Okazaki was born in Nogata, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. He was the second son of a family that came from a samurai lineage on his grandmother’s side.

Okazaki has been described by some, as one of the most technically gifted karatekas to come from the Japanese Karate Association (JKA). He was a living textbook on the history and practice of Shotokan Karate. He was part of the third generation of students to train with Shotokan founder Gichin Funakoshi.

Together with his mentor, Masatoshi Nakayama, Okazaki helped formulate the JKA Instructor Course, which has trained many of the top JKA masters. He was also one of the first instructors sent by the JKA to the United States to teach Karate.

On 22 June 1994, Shito-Ryu master, Ryusho Sakagami was posthumously awarded the rank of 9th Dan by the Japan Karate Federation (JKF). He had died from heart failure on 28 December 1993.

During his lifetime Sakagami was described as a walking encyclopedia on various martial arts by his contemporaries. He dedicated his life to the pursuit of Budo. He was ranked in Karate (8th Dan); Kubodo (8th Dan); Aikido (5th Dan); Iaido (8th Dan); Jodo(7th Dan); Judo (5th Dan); and Kendo (7th Dan).

23 June

On 23 July 2011 Steve Arneil, a student of Kyokushin Karate founder Mas Oyama, was awarded his 10th Dan.

Arneil was the second man to complete the grueling 100-Man Kumite Challenge, after Oyama.

25 June

On 25 June 1959 the first written correspondence between Vernon Bell and the head of Yoseikan Karate, Minoru Mochizuki took place.

Mochizuki had first come to France in the early 1950s to conduct a number of training sessions in Judo and Aikido. All correspondence between Mochizuki and Bell had previously gone through Henri Plee. It was through Plee that Bell had the opportunity to train with Mochizuki’s son Hiroo. It was also through Plee’s encouragement that Bell introduced Karate into Britain

However, following a disagreement between Bell and Plee, Bell made the decision to correspond with Mochizuki directly.

In his letter to Mochizuki, Bell detailed the difficulties he was having with the French Karate Federation. He inquired if it would be possible for the British Karate Federation (BKF) to become representatives of Yoseikan Karate in Britain. He also proposed the formation of a new European Karate Union that would include the German Karate Federation, headed by Jurgen Seydel.

On 25 June 2015 the “First Lady” of British Karate, Molly Samuel-Leport, was awarded an MBE for Services to Karate, in the Queen’s Birthday Honor’s List. She received her award at Buckingham Palace. She is arguably Britain’s most successful female competitor, winning multiple European and World titles.

26 June

On 26 June 1965, Hirokazu Kanazawa took his first teaching trip to the British Karate Federation’s (BKF) Dundee dojo. He was there for a week.

The Dundee dojo was located at the Dundee United Sporting Club in Coupers Alley, Wellgate. It was run by William McGuire who had become a BKF member in February 1965.

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