This week in history… (22 August – 28 August)

23 August

On 23 July 2011, Steve Arneil was awarded his 10th Dan. This made him one of the highest-ranked Kyokushin practitioners in the world.

Arneil was the second man to complete the gruelling One Hundred Man Kumite Challenge, after the great Masutatsu (Mas) Oyama.

24 August

On 24 August 2000 Andy Hug died from breathing difficulties and multiple organ failure. He was only 35 years old. His death was reported on all the major news channels in Japan. He was survived by his wife Ilona and their son Seya.

Known as the “Blue-Eyed Samurai“, Swiss karateka Hug was one of the most successful European Kyokushin fighters of his generation. Fighting at heavyweight, he was much smaller than many of the opponents he faced. His fighting style made him a fan favourite.

26 August

On 26 August 1941 Karate instructor and humanitarian, John Van Weenen, was born in Enfield, just outside London. He was the second of six children.

In 1964 Van Weenen, along with his brothers, Jeff and Garry emigrated to Australia settling in Adelaide. He and his brother Jeff began Karate training under Moss Hollis, who originally hailed from Birmingham, England. In 1966, Van Weenen was awarded his 1st Dan, just before returning back to the UK.

In 1967 Van Weenen travelled to Japan with friends Eddie Whitcher and Mick Peachey. They hoped to train with their legendary instructor Hirokazu Kanazawa in the country of his birth, at the JKA headquarters.

During the 1990s Van Weenen led humanitarian efforts to help the starving people of Albania and Kosovo.

27 August

On 27 August 2000 Andy Hug’s funeral was held. His body was cremated and his ashes were placed in the cemetery of the Hoshuin Temple, Kyoto, Japan. His pallbearers included Kyokushin fighters Francisco Filho, Nobuaki Kakuda, and Nicholas Pettas.

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