This week in history…(29 May – 4 June)

29 May

On 29 May 1947, Hamish Adam was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was a part of the British team that won the Team Kumite title at the 1975 World Championships, held in Long Beach, California. He was also part of a Scottish team that won the 1973 European Team Championships on their first attempt.

On 29 May 1959, Pat McKay was born in Kilmarnock. Growing up he was a keen footballer.

When one talks about the great fighters that have represented Britain, the name Pat McKay has to be in the mix. Fighting at light heavyweight (- 80 KG) his record is second to none. He is a 13-time Scottish Champion and a 5-time World Champion. Alongside Vic Charles and Geoff Thompson, he was one of Britain’s first multiple World Champions.

On 29 May 1964, JKA instructor Tatsuya Naka was born in Tokyo.

Naka started Wado-Ryu Karate at the age of thirteen in high school. He attended the famous Takushoku University where he began learning Shotokan Karate under Katsunori Tsuyama. After graduating from university he entered the JKA Instructors Course, graduating in 1989. Known for his in-depth knowledge of kata, he is a former All-Japan Karate Champion.

On 29 May 1981, Elisa Au was born in Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. When she was five years old she brought a flyer home from school, advertising a Shito-Ryu Karate school. Encouraged by her parents she started taking lessons, training under Chuzuo Kotaka.

Au holds a number of firsts in her competitive career. She was the first American woman to win an Individual Kumite world title. She was also the first person, male or female to win two individual world titles at the same championships (a feat repeated by the great Rafael Aghayev in 2008). A kumite specialist, she is known for her speed and exceptional timing.

On 29 May 2010, Masaaki Ueki was appointed the third Chief Instructor of the JKA. He had been promoted to 9th Dan earlier that year. Motokuni Sugiura had retired the previous year, aged 85.

30 May

On 30 May 1978, Yoshizo Machida and his wife, Ana Claudia’s third son, Lyoto, was born. Like his father, Lyoto Machida is known for his Shotokan Karate. He is also known for his mixed martial arts career.

On 30 May 2003, Minoru Mochizuki, the founder of the Yoseikan School, died in Aix-en-Provence, France aged 96 years. In his later years, he moved from Japan to France to live with his son Hiroo and his family.

31 May

On 31 May 1993, the former Chief Instructor for the JKA in Belgium, Satoshi Miyazaki died.

Miyazaki eventually became a member of the Takushoku Karate team that included Shiro Asano, Hideo Ochi, Kazumi Tabata, and Katsuya Kisaka. The team was very successful, winning the All-Japan University Championships.

On completing his degree, Miyazaki was asked by Masatoshi Nakayama to enrol in the 1961 JKA Instructor Course. Others enrolled in that year’s course included Masaaki Ueki and Keinosuke Enoeda.

On graduating from the Instructor’s Course, in 1967 Miyazaki was asked to take over from Taiji Kase, who had been teaching in Belgium for six months

Miyazaki died from stomach cancer aged only 55. A measure of the man was that being in a lot of pain and knowing for a year that his condition was terminal, he continued teaching and training.

Miyazaki was cremated in a Buddhist ceremony attended by many of the top Japanese Instructors. Half of his ashes were flown back to Japan with the other half remaining at his dojo in Brussels.

On 31 May 1999, Shotokan Karate legend, Taiji Kase suffered a heart attack. He was admitted to the American Hospital of Paris where he recuperated for around twenty days. On leaving the hospital he resumed his teaching duties.

1 June

On 1 June 1892, the founder of Wado-Ryu Karate, Hironori Ōhtsuka, was born.

Although Ōhtsuka was an early student of Gichin Funakoshi, he had previously studied Shindo Yoshin Ryu Jujutsu for many years.

After training in Shotokan Karate for around ten years, Ōtsuka left to form his own style of Wado-Ryu in 1939. Wado-Ryu is considered one of the major styles of Karate. It contains elements of both Shotokan Karate and Jujutsu.

On 1 June 1986, the English Karate Board (EKB) held its 2nd National Championships at the Crystal Palace, London. The EKB consisted of members from all the major styles of Karate in England. Shotokan’s Karate Union of Great Britain (KUGB) won the majority of trophies on offer. The KUGB’s ‘A’ Team, consisting of Frank Brennan, Gary Harford, Ronnie Christopher, Randy Williams, Ian Roberts, and George Best defeated the AKA ‘A’ team in the final of the team kumite event.

Brennan, Roberts, and Christopher went on to win individual titles in the heavy, middle, and lightweight classes respectively. Brennan also won the Individual Kata event, making him Grand Champion.

If that was not enough, Brennan, Harford, and Miles Drapper won the team kata title.

On 1 June 1990, the World is Karate-Do Federation (WSKF) was formed by several black belts leaving SKIF. Takeaki Kamiyangi, a former Director of SKIF and a student of Gichin Funakoshi, was named Chairman. Hitoshi Kasuya, a student of Masatoshi Nakayama was named Chief Instructor. They firmly believed in following Funakoshi’s teachings and his Twenty Guiding Precepts.

2 June

On 2 June 1922, Gichin Funakoshi gave a Karate demonstration in front of the Poplar Club in Tabata, Tokyo.

Funakoshi had arrived in Japan earlier in 1922 at the request of the Japanese Ministry of Education to give a demonstration of Okinawan Karate at the First National Athletic Exhibition, held a the Kishi Gymnasium, Ochanomizu, Tokyo.

The demonstration of Karate at the Poplar Club was one of several demonstrations given by Funakoshi to introduce the Okinawan martial art to the Japanese people. The Poplar Club was an artists guild. The famous Japanese painter Hoan Kosugi was a member of the guild. He became a friend to Funakoshi and eventually was one of his first students. It was Kosugi who came up with the design of the Shotokan Tiger.

3 June

On 3 June 1922, the earliest known Japanese newspaper article on Karate was published in the Tokyo Nichinichi  Shinbun.

The title of the article was “The Mystical Martial Art – Karate: (Chinese Fist) from Ryukyu (Okinawa Prefecture). Wonderful Technique to Defend from an Opponent with Bare Hands. Kodokan to Study“.

On 3 June 1959, the final known letter between Vernon Bell and Henri Plee was written by Bell. Plee had been instrumental in introducing Karate to Europe. Bell had studied Karate under Plee and was responsible for introducing Karate to Britain through Plee’s encouragement. However, the two men had fallen out over various issues and the letter was the last correspondence between the two of them.

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