This week in history (22 Feb – 28 Feb)

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.

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 seventeen, 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).

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 junior and senior level.

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

Together with his father Dorfman runs several Karate schools.

27 February

On 27 February 1948, Terence (Terry) O’Neill, one of the best karateka ever produced in Britain, was born in Liverpool, England.

O’Neill began his Karate training in 1963 when as a sixteen-year-old he lied about his age, on his application to join the British Karate Federation (BKF). Under Keinosuke Enoeda and the JKA, he earned his 1st Dan in 1966.

O’Neill also had a successful international career, representing Britain numerous times. He was part of the British Karate team that won the World Championship in 1975.

O’Neill was the founder and publisher of the well respected Fighting Arts International magazine, first published in 1972. He has also carved out a successful acting career.

On 27 February 2004, Vernon Bell, the Father of British Karate, died.

Bell held the first ever Karate class at 12 Maybush Road, Hornchurch, Essex in 1956.

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