This week in history (30 July – 5 August)

30 July

On 30 July 1949 KUGB stalwart, Robert Poynton, was born.  A member of the famed Liverpool Red Triangle Karate Club, he 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.

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.

4 August

On 4 August 1947 Gichin Funakoshi’s wife died of asthma in Oita, Kyushu, Japan, aged 71. This was the culmination of a difficult two years for him. Following the bombing of Tokyo in 1945 by American forces, the Shoto Kan dojo was destroyed. His third son, Yoshitaka, died from leukemia. The island of Okinawa was also heavily bombed with many deaths and many people left homeless. His wife had manged to survive the destruction of Okinawa and made her way to Oita, where the couple reunited. Because of the war food was scarce and like many people lived in dire poverty. 

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