This week in history (30 September – 6 October)

4 October

On 4 October 1924, Motokuni Sugiura, a former Chief Instructor of the JKA, was born in Aichi Prefecture, Japan.

Sugiura was promoted to 1st Dan by the age of 20. At university he had been taught be Gichin Funakoshi and his son Yoshitaka. After he graduated in 1944 he joined the Tsuchiura Navy Flying Corps, serving for a year.

After leaving the Navy he resumed his Karate training under Masatoshi Nakayama. By 1955 he had been promoted 3rd Dan. He started working full-time for the JKA in their Guidance Division. 1957 he was appointed Director of the JKA and was assigned to managing instructors at the JKA Hombu in Tokyo.

In 1991 he was appointed the second Chief Instructor of the JKA. The following year he was promoted to 9th Dan.


5 October

On 5 October 1955 Guusje van Mourik, one of the most successful kumite competitors, was born in the Central Netherlands town of Zeist.

Her early exposure to the martial arts was through the sport of Judo. She would eventually receive the grade of 2nd Dan. She competed in the Dutch Championships and won medals on four occasions (1974, 1976, 1978, 1979).

However, in the late 1980s and early 1990s Guusje van Mourik was a true superstar of European and World Karate. Described as a “phenomenon“, she was listed in the Guinness Book of Records for winning the most Karate medals.


6 October

On 6 October 1936, Stan Schmidt, a pioneer of South African Shotokan Karate, was born in Kokstad, South Africa.

Sometimes called the “Father of South African Karate“, Schmidt was at the forefront of establishing Shotokan Karate in South Africa, as a member of the Japan Karate Association (JKA). He is one of the highest ranked westerners in the JKA.

Schmidt has been described as the best non-Japanese Shotokan sensei by the likes of Terry O’Neill and Dave Hazard and also as “A teacher of teachers“.

Author: Patrick Donkor

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