This week in history (31 May – 6 Jun)

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 enroll 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, alongside 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 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.

5 June

On 5 June 1965, Yutaka Yaguchi, arrived in Los Angeles, to assist Hidetaka Nishiyama at his Los Angeles dojo. James Field, who would go on to become one of the top Shotokan practitioners in the United States, remembered Yaguchi’s arrival. He had been close to quitting Karate at the time. However, when he saw Yaguchi training, he was so impressed by the way he moved, that he wanted to train with him. Yaguchi would have a profound effect on Field’s training.

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