This week in history (26 July – 1 August)

27 July

On 27 July 1923 the founder of Kyokushin Karate, Matsutatsu (Mas) Oyama was born in Japanese occupied Korea. Born Choi Yeong-eui, he spent most of his life in Japan. He was a student of Gichin Funakoshi and later Gogen Yamaguchi.

On 27 July 1985, the Karate Championships were held as part of the World Games in London. The Karate Championships were held at the National Sports Centre, Crystal Palace. A total of 12 categories – 8 for men and 4 for women – were contested. 

Japan, through Mie Nakayama and Tsuguo Sakumoto, won both their respective kata events. Contestants from Britain did well in the kumite events. Success began with Beverly Morris and Janice Argyle winning their respective events. This was followed by Cecil Hackett, Geoff Thompson and Vic Charles winning their respective events. Jim Collins won silver, losing out to Hackett. Mervyn Ettienne and Abdu Shaher also won bronze medals in their events.

29 July

On 29 August 1934, Steve Arneil, the son of a steelworker, was born in the mining city of Krugersdorp, South Africa.

The true essence of Karate is the forging of one’s character/spirit through hard training. No man typified this principle more than Arneil. He was the second man to complete the gruelling 100-Man Kumite Challenge, after the great Mas Oyama.

On 29 July 1945 Osamu Ozawa, along with four other pilots, drank his last cup of sake in honour of Japanese Emperor Hirohito. The men climbed into the cockpits of their planes for the last time, to meet their destiny.

Osamu wrote a goodbye letter to his family thanking them for everything they had done for him.

On 29 July 2003, Kyokushin legend, Hiroki Kurosawa, fought in his last ever K-1 fight,

In his fight, he faced Ivan Salaverry of Canada in Saitama, Japan. The match ended in a draw.

He had retired from competing due to numerous injuries to his knee.

30 July

On 30 July 1941, Hideki Okamoto, responsible for developing Shotokan Karate in Africa and the Middle East, was born in Okayama, Japan. He graduated from Tsuyama Commercial High School in 1956. It was around this time that he started practising Karate.

On 30 July 1949 KUGB stalwart, Bob Poynton was born. 

A member of the famed Liverpool Red Triangle Karate Club, Poynton started training in 1965 aged 15. He was awarded his 1st Dan by Keinosuke Enoeda in 1968. A top competitor in the 1970s, he successfully transitioned into an administrative role in the KUGB alongside his teaching responsibilities.

On 30 July 1956 Hiroo Mochizuki taught his first known Karate course at Collioure, France. He had arrived several weeks earlier at the invitation of Henri Plee, to conduct a number of courses.

On 30 July 1992, Kyokukin legend, Andy Hug made his debut as a Seidokaikan fighter. In the Seidokaikan Kakutogi Olympics II tournament, he defeated Toshiyuki Yanagisawa on points.

31 July

On 31 July 1937, former JKA Grand Champion, Hiroshi Shirai, was born in Nagasaki, Japan. Currently holding the rank of 9th Dan, he began his Karate training at Komazawa University in 1955. A graduate of the Kenshusei (Instructors Training Course) he became the JKA Grand Champion in 1962 winning the individual kumite title against Keinosuke Enoeda and won the individual kata title against Takayuki Mikami.

Shirai was a part of the party, including Taiji Kase, Hirokazu Kanazawa, and Keinosuke Enoeda, sent by the JKA to a number of countries, introducing their brand of Shotokan Karate. He eventually settled in Italy where he continues to teach.

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