This week in history (24 February – 1 March)

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 17, 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 16-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 had a very successful competitive career, competing for over twenty years until retiring through injury. As a member of the famed Liverpool Red Triangle team, he was KUGB individual kumite champion four times and individual kata champion seven times. He was KUGB grand champion on three occasions. He was a member of the Red Triangle team that won the team kumite on numerous occasions.

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. He was also joint third at the 1974 World Champions.

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.


29 February

On 29 February 1940 JKA legend, Hideo Ochi, was born in Saigo Japan.

Ochi is one of the best fighters to have come out of the JKA. He is a three-time JKA All Japan Grand Champion and a charismatic instructor, respected all over the world.

In 1970 Ochi was sent overseas to teach by Masatoshi Nakayama. He had wanted to go to England as his wife, Tomie, was an English teacher. However, Keinosuke Enoeda was already in England. Ochi was recommended by Hirokazu Kanazawa to take over from him as the National Coach of the German Karate Federation (DKB).


1 March

On this day, 1 March 1962, the British Karate Federation (BKF) issued a club affiliation certificate to the Liverpool Karate Club. The club, formed in 1959 under Fred Giles, would eventually come to be known as the Red Triangle Shotokan Karate Club.

Initially, club members received instruction from Vernon Bell, Terry Wingrove and Tetsuji Murakami. However, when the BKF became affiliated with the JKA, Hirokazu Kanazawa travel to the dojo to instruct the students.

When the KUGB split from the BKF, the Red Triangle Club joined them. The full-time instructor of the club was Keinosuke Enoeda of the JKA.

Many top karatekas got their start under Enoeda at the Red Triangle Dojo. This included Andy Sherry and Terry O’Neill.

The club also produced many top national and international competitors including Andy Sherry, Terry O’Neill, Bob Poynton, Billy Higgins and Frank Brennan.

Author: Patrick Donkor

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