This week in history…(4 September -10 September)

4 September

On 4 September 1931 Kenneth Funakoshi, a distant relative of Shotokan Karate founder, Gichin Funakoshi, was born in Honolulu, Hawaii.

On 4 September 1993, Gerard Gordeau competed at the K1-Illusion, Tokyo event. A month later in October, he competed at the K1-Illusioin, Karate World Cup, held in Osaka.

6 September

On 6 September 2016 Walter Seaton, one of the first Wado-Ryu black belts in the UK, died aged 80 years.

Seaton was born in Middlesbrough and was one of the first instructors to teach Karate to women at his dojo.

A family man, Seaton and his wife Eva had six children, twenty-two grandchildren, thirty-two great-grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

7 September

On 7 September 1933, Robert Fusaro was born in Brooklyn, New York. He was one of the pioneers of Shotokan Karate in the United States, Fusaro was known for the elegance and simplicity of his teaching. Interested in teaching the traditional aspects of Karate, he opened the first Karate school in Minnesota.

On 7 September 1959, the first British Karate Federation (BKF) Summer Course began. It was a six-day course held at the Ippon Judo Club, located in the basement of the Imperial Private Hotel, Scarborough, Yorkshire.

Conducted by Vernon Bell the course was limited to twenty students. The course was open to men or women who were existing BKF members between the ages of sixteen and fifty-five. In a gruelling schedule, the training times were 10:00 am to 12:30 pm, 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm for the duration of the course.

On 7 September 1964, Andy Hug was born in Zürich, Switzerland. He was the youngest of three children.

Known as the ‘Blue-Eyed Samurai’, Swiss karateka Hug was one of the most successful European Kyokushin fighters of his generation. Fighting at heavyweight, he was much smaller than many of the opponents he faced. His fighting style made him a fan favourite.

On 7 September 2019, a public memorial was held for Robert Fusaro, on what would have been his 86th birthday. He was posthumously awarded the rank of 10th Dan by the All-American Karate Federation (AAKF) and the World Traditional Karate-Do (WTKF).

Between 7-8 September 2019, Yasunori Ogura travelled to Halmstad, Sweden. He was a guest instructor alongside, JKA Chief instructor, Masaaki Ueki, Kazuaki Kurihara, and Mai Shiina at the 4th Zendokai Karate 2019 International Camp.

8 September

On 8 September 1939, Tommy Morris, Scotland’s first black belt, and a pioneer of Scottish Karate was born in the city of Glasgow.

Morris travelled to Japan in 1967 for a two-month period to pursue his love of Karate. He visited the dojo of Chojiro Tani, the founder of Shukokai Karate. He had visited a number of dojos, but it was here that he found the style of Karate that would change his life.

At Tani’s Kobe dojo Morris met Shigeru Kimura, a top student of Tani. In Kimura, Morris had met the teacher he had been searching for. For the next six weeks of his stay in Japan Morris trained with Kimura for eight hours a day. He also had some lessons with Tani. Before returning to Scotland Morris was graded to 3rd Dan.

On 8 September 1947, Yoshiharu Osaka, the man described as ‘Liquid in Motion‘, for his impeccable technique, was born in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan.

An ultimate technician, JKA Chief Instructor, Masatoshi Nakayama, featured Osaka heavily in his ‘Best Karate‘ series of books, with him performing many of the katas featured in the books.

Osaka is a 4-time World Champion, a 2-time JKA Grand Champion and a 7-time JKA All Japan Kata Champion.

On 8 September 1979, Eiichi Miyazato was awarded the title of Hanshi by the All Japan Karate-do Federation. He was considered one of Chojun Miyagi’s, most devoted and best students. He has trained many notable students, including Morio Higaonna, Teruo Chinen, and Ryoichi Onaga.

On 8 September 2018, Robert Fusaro celebrated 60 years of teaching Karate. A special seminar was held to mark the event

9 September

On 9 September 2012, Kiyoshi Yamazaki was appointed Deputy Chief Instructor of the Japan Karate-Do Ryobu-Kai (JKR). The JKR was founded by Yasuhiro Konishi.

10 September

On 10 September 1965, Charles Mack became the first British subject awarded a 2nd Dan in Shotokan Karate from the Japan Karate Association (JKA). Masatoshi Nakayama awarded him his grade at the JKA’s headquarters in Tokyo.

Mack had previously been awarded his 1st Dan by Nakayama three years earlier, becoming the first British subject awarded a 1st Dan by the JKA in Japan.

In the same year, Mack was also awarded his 5th Dan from the Kodakan, the home of Japanese Judo. He received his grade from Risei Kano, son of Judo founder Jigaro Kano.

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