This week in history (4 Mar – 10 Mar)

4 March

On 4 March 1952 David Frederick Hazard, a well-respected Shotokan Karate practitioner, was born in Bow, East London.

Dave Hazard began his Karate training aged sixteen at the KUGB affiliated Blackfriars Karate Club, under the instruction of Keinosuke Enoeda. Like most martial artists who had started training at the time, Hazard had begun his martial arts training in Judo.

In 1972 Hazard was awarded his 1st Dan by Enoeda and was awarded his 2nd Dan in 1974. Upon the recommendation of Enoeda, Hazard travelled to Japan to train at the JKA headquarters at Ebisu, Tokyo, taking the infamous JKA Instructor’s course. In 1977 he received his 3rd Dan from Masatoshi Nakayama.

Hazard returned to England in 1978, becoming a full-time instructor affiliated with the KUGB.

In the early 1980s, twenty clubs in the South of England broke away from the KUGB to form the South of England Karate Union, which later changed its name to the Shotokan of England Karate Union (SEKU). The association was led by the respected Mike Dewey. With the expansion of the association, in 1985 Dewey asked his long time friend Hazard to join SEKU as Technical Director.

After nineteen years with SEKU, Hazard left in 2003 to form his own association, the Academy of Shotokan Karate (ASK), with the intention of promoting excellence in Shotokan as a martial art rather than a sport. The aim of ASK was endorsed by Keinosuke Enoeda, whose principles were used as guidelines for the association.

In 2007 an autobiography, Born Fighter, about Dave Hazard’s life was published.

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On 4 March 1962 Charles Mack was graded to 1st Dan by Masatoshi Nakayama at the JKA headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. This earned Mack the dual distinction of being the first British subject to be awarded a Shotokan Dan grade in Japan and also the first British subject to be awarded a JKA black belt.

Mack was also an accomplished Judo practitioner who was awarded his 1st Dan in 1953. He moved to Japan in 1958 to further his Judo. He started training at the JKA headquarters in Tokyo, where four years later he was awarded his 1st Dan.While in Japan Mack also earned black belts in Jujitsu and Aikido.


Mack returned to Britain in 1965 and started teaching Karate in Holborn, London. With the blessing of Nakayama he set up the International Shotokan Karate Association.


6 March

On 6 March 1921 Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of Shotokan Karate, led a Karate demonstration in front of Crown Prince Hirohito. The demonstration was performed at the Great Hall of Shuri Castle, in Okinawa.

Crown Prince Hirohito had visited Okinawa while en-route to a visit to Europe. The ship’s captain, Captain Norikazu Kanna, was an Okinawan by birth. He suggested that the Crown Prince observe a Karate demonstration.
The demonstration was arranged, and Funakoshi was granted the honour of taking charge. Students from the Naha First High School took part in the performance.

After the performance Kanna, the ship’s captain, suggested that Funakoshi introduce the martial art of Karate to the Japanese people.


7 March

On 7 March 1956 the earliest known letter was written from Henri Plee to Vernon Bell. This letter was a response to an earlier letter written by Bell to the Fédération Française de Karaté on 21st February 1956.

It is thought that Bell had inquired about being graded by the Fédération Française de Karaté. In his letter Plee suggests that Bell send a film of him executing all the movements in a teaching plan mentioned in the earlier letter. Plee further states that once Bell has been suitably graded he would be sent some film showing Japanese instructors and also a film of how the Fédération Française de Karaté practised Karate.


8 March

On 8 March 1945 Roger Hall a founding member of the English Shotokan Karate Association (ESKA), was born.

Hall had originally started learning Wado-ryu but switched to Shotokan Karate in 1966, He received his 1st Dan in from Hirokazu Kanazawa in 1972. In 1974 he received his 2nd Dan from Shiro Asano and also his 3rd Dan in 1978.

In 1979 Hall alongside Eddie Whitcher, Mick Randall, John Van Weenen, Michael Nursey and Harry Jones formed the English Shotokan Karate Association (ESKA).


10 March

On 10 March 1945 the Shoto Kan dojo was destroyed during the bombing raid of Tokyo by American B29 bombers, during World War II.

The Shoto Kan dojo had been built in the Zoshigaya neighbourhood of Toshima Ward, Tokyo in 1936, after funds had been raised by Karate supporters for a dojo. Gichin Funakoshi recalled in his autobiography, the great sense of pride he felt on entering the dojo for the first time.

On the evening of 9th March 1945, as part of their Pacific Campaign, The American began the bombing raid of Tokyo which lasted into the following day. An estimated 1665 tons of bombs were dropped on Tokyo. Much of Tokyo was destroyed, with an estimated 100000 people losing their life.

Author: Patrick Donkor

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