This week in history (29 January – 4 February)

On  29 January 1962 one of the founders of the French Karate movement Jim Alcheik was assassinated, aged only 31.

Alchiek widely regarded as one of the greatest martial artists to come out of Europe. He held a 4th Dan in Aikido, a 2nd Dan in Karate, a 2nd Dan in Kendo and a 3rd Dan in Judo.

Born in Algeria, in June 1931, of Turkish origin, Alcheik grew up in Tunisia, where his martial arts journey began. His first art was judo and achieved his 3rd Dan at a young age.

After military service for France, Alcheik was invited by Minoru Mochizuki to train with him in Yoseikan, Shizuoka, Japan. Mochizuki was a very eclectic martial artist having been a student of Jigoro Kano (Judo), Morohei Uesiba (Aikido) and Gichin Funakoshi. In the early 1930s Mochizuki established the Yoseikan dojo where all the arts he had learnt, were taught. Alchiek spent 1955 to 1958 studying at the Yoseikan dojo.

On his return to France, Alchiek became the technical director of the French Aikido and Kendo. Alchiek also wanted to spread the teachings and philosophy of Mochizuki. He organised meetings, gala and seminars and eventually established the organisation, European Yoseikan.

During the early 1960s there was growing political unrest in Algeria. Some in the country wanted indeependce from France, whereas others wanted to remain a colony of France. The Secret Army Organisation (OAS) was founded in 1961 by a group determined to prevent Algerian Independence and willing to use acts o terrorism. It is believed that Alchiek may have been recruited to be part of a force fighting against the OAS.

It is believed that Alchiek and seventeen of his men were in a villa in Algiers, when they received a parcel bomb that killed them. The villa had been a base for interrogating alleged OAS members.

On 1 February 1960 Michael Manning became the first British Karate Federation (BKF) student to grade to 1st kyu.

Manning was one of Vernon Bell‘s original karate students. He was nineteen when he started training with Bell in Jiujitsu in 1956. Manning was described as having a withered right arm.

By the time he graded, Manning had been training for four years. He was an active member of the BKF, often teaching the beginners classes.

Unfortunately Manning had his leg broken by Tetsuji Murakami during a hard training session. After this incident Manning gave up Karate.

On 4 February 1949 Michael Nursey, a founding member of the English Shotokan Karate Association (ESKA), was born.

Nursey started training in karate when he was eighteen, under Keinosuke Enoeda and John Van Weenen. After 4th kyu Nursey continued his training with Hirokazu Kanazawa, Shiro Asano and Michael Randall.

Nursey gained is 1st Dan in 1971 under Michael Randall and awarded Kanazawa. He gained his 2nd Dan in 1974 and his 3rd Dan in 1978, both under Kanazawa.

In 1979, together with Eddie Whitcher, Michael Randall, Greg Durrant, John Van Weenan and Chris and Nick Adamou, Nursey established the English Shotokan Karate Association (ESKA).

Nursey is currently the Chief Instructor of ESKA and at the time of writing holds the rank of 8th Dan.

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