This week in history (23 March – 29 March)

23 March

On 23 March 1996, South African, Marius Schoeman, became the thirteenth man to complete the 100-Man Kumite Challenge.

25 March

On 25 March 2017, Hiroki Kurosawa died from acute heart failure. He was only 54 years old. At his family’s request, he was cremated in a small private summer ceremony.

One of the most devastating and destructive fighters, Hiroki Kurosawa was known for his relentless attacks and powerful and kicks. Known as the “Japanese Wolf“, he was one of the greatest Kyokushin fighters of his generation, alongside Kenji Midori and Kenji Yamaki.

28 March

On 28 March 1956, Greg Lazarus, the head instructor of the New England Okinawan Karate Dojo, was born.

Lazarus is affiliated to the International Shorin Ryu Matsumura Seito¬†Karate Do Federation (ISMSKF). They trace their lineage to Soken ‘Bushi’ Matsumura, who was the chief bodyguard to three Okinawan kings.

29 March

On 29 March 1965, the JKA World Tour commenced from Hanada Airport, Tokyo.

The touring party consisted of Taiji Kase, 6th Dan, who had started training in 1944 at the original Shoto-Kan under Yoshitaka Funakoshi.

Hirokazu Kanazawa, 5th Dan, was the next member of the party. He was the first-ever All Japan JKA Championships Grand Champion.

The next member of the team was Keinosuke Enoeda, 5th Dan. Nicknamed Toru meaning Tiger, he was known for his strong fighting spirit and had won the kumite title at the All Japan JKA Championships in 1963.

The youngest member of the group was Hiroshi Shirai, 5th Dan, who had become the third-ever All Japan JKA Championships Grand Champion in 1962.

On 29 March 2003, Keinosuke Enoeda, the Tiger of Shotokan, died in Tokyo, Japan, from stomach cancer. He was survived by his wife Reiko and their two children, Daisuke and Maya.

Enoeda’s funeral took place at the Hozoji Temple in Tokyo. JKA instructor Norihiko Iida was a priest at the temple. Fellow JKA instructor, Kimhide Takechi conducted the funeral.

A memorial service was held for Enoeda at the Crystal Palace, London on 1 June.

Both events were attended by students and instructors from around the world. The tributes given indicated a teacher who was free of ego and who was liked in and out of the dojo. Many students saw him as a surrogate father. He was also remembered for his great sense of humour.

On 29 March 2003, Keinosuke Enoeda was posthumously awarded his 9th Dan.

On 29 March 2009, Armenian, Artur Hovhannisyan, was the next person to attempt and complete the 100-Man Kumite Challenge. The test was completed in front of IKO-1 Head, Shokei Matsui.

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