This week in history (23 April – 29 April)

On 24 April 1965 the second authorized demonstration given by the JKA in Britain took place at the Hornsey Town Hall, London. The event was organised by Vernon Bell. The JKA party were led by Taiji Kase, who had trained at the original  Shotokan dojo; and also contained Hirokazu Kanazawa, Keinosuke Enoeda and Hiroshi Shirai, who were all former JKA All Japan kumite champions.

On 25 April 1888 Gōjū-ryū Karate founder, Chōjun Miyagi, was born on Okinawa.

Miyagi began training with Kanryo Higaonna in 1902, eventually becoming one of his top students. In 1917 Miyagi traveled to Fuzhou in China, where he studied Southern Shaolin White Crane Boxing. He stayed in China for a year.

In 1924 Miyagi introduced his style of Karate into Japan. In 1934 he officially registered the name Gōjū-ryū Karate with the Dai Nippon Butokukai in Japan.

On 26 April 1957 Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of the Shotokan style of Karate, died from colon cancer. He spent the final days of his life in a Tokyo hospital, surrounded by his close family and his student Shigeru Egami. He was aged 88 when he died.


On 26 April 1965 the third authorized demonstration given by the JKA in Britain took place a Poplar Town Hall, London. The two previous events, both in London, had taken place at the Kensington Town Hall and the Crouch End Town Hall. The crowd in attendance were awed by the display given by Taiji Kase, Hirokazu Kanazawa, Keinosuke Enoeda and Hiroshi Shirai. Included in their display were demonstrations of kata, kumite and wood breaking.


On 26 April 1994 Kyokushin Karate founder, Masutatsu Oyama died in Tokyo, from lung cancer.

The first martial art Oyama learnt was Chinese Boxing from a worker on his sister’s farm, called Xiangzhi Li. He was nine years old at the time.

Around 1946 Oyama attended Waseda University where he began studying Shotokan Karate under Gichin Funakoshi. He later studied with Gogen Yamaguchi, learning Gōjū-ryū Karate. In 1957 he founded his own style of Karate, Kyokushin which stands for “Ultimate Truth”.

On 27 April 1928 Tatsuo Suzuki, a master of Wado-ryū Karate, was born in Yokohama, Japan.

Suzuki began training under Wado-ryū Karate founder, Hironori Ohtsuka, while still a teenager. In 1956 Ohtsuka dispatched Suzuki to spread the style of Wado-ryū around the world.

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