This week in history (5 April – 11 April)

5 April

On April 5, 1870 founder of Motobu Ryu, Chōki Motobu, was born in Okinawa.

Motobu was the third son of a noble family. As the third son, he was not allowed to learn the family martial art of Motobu Udundi. This meant he trained under various Okinawan masters such as Anko Itosu, and Sokon Matsumura. A street fighter, he would get into fights using the techniques he had learnt.


On 5 April 1965, a touring party from the JKA arrived in West Germany for the European leg of their tour. the party consisted of Taiji Kase, Hirokazu Kanazawa, Keinosuke Enoeda, and Hiroshi Shirai. As they had been in the United States, the party were a big success. They were hosted by Lothar Fischer and the Deutscher Karate Bund (DKB). During their six-day visit, they gave interviews to various newspapers and television channels. A tournament was also held at the Bad Godesburg Town Hall where they gave a series of demonstrations in front of a crowd of 1200 spectators. While the party were in Germany, a grading was held where a number of students were promoted to 1st Dan.


On 5 April 1970, Yuki Mimura was born in Ashimura, a small village in the mountains near Matsumoto city on the Japanese island of Honshu.

Following on from greats Suzuko Okamura and Mie Nakayama, Yuki Mimura was the next great female Japanese kata champion. Like her predecessor, Nakayama, she was the winner of three consecutive World titles, not to mention World Games and World Cup titles.


On 5 April 201 4, Hirokazu Kanazawa officially passed the leadership of Shotokan Karate International Federation (SKIF) to his son Nobuaki Kanazawa, assisted by Manabu Murakami, at a special ceremony held in Tokyo.


7 April

On 7 April 1963, Yoshiaki Ajari, a direct student of Wado-Ryu Karate founder Hironori Ohtsuka, established the US Wadokai Karatedo Federation.


On April 7, 2004 , American Karate pioneer, Peter Urban died.

Urban began training in Goju-Ryu Karate under Richard Kim in Japan when he was eighteen. He later trained with two other Karate legends in Gogen Yamaguchi and Mas Oyama.

In 1959 Urban started teaching Goju-ryu, introducing the Karate style to the United States. In 1966 he founded the American Goju Association.


8 April

On April 8, 1944 Michael Randall, who was training in Karate prior to the arrival of the JKA in Britain, was born.

Randall joined the British Karate Federation (BKF) in 1964. As a member of the BKF, he had the opportunity to train under Tetsuji Murakami and Hiroo Mochizuki.

After the arrival of the JKA in 1965, Randall began training with Hirokazu Kanazawa. He was a part of Kanazawa’s ‘Seven Samurai‘ alongside Eddie Whitcher, Nick Adamou, Chris Adamou, Mick Peachey, Will Mannion and Jack Johnson. They were a group of students totally dedicated to training with Kanazawa.

In 1967 Randall received his 1st Dan from Hirokazu Kanazawa.


11 April

On 11 April 1907, Minoru Mochizuki, founder of the Yoseikan dojo, was born in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan.

Mochizuki was one of the few men to have been a direct student of the three great Budo masters, Jigoro Kano, Morihei Ueshiba and Gichin Funakoshi. An accomplished martial artist, Mochizuki held a 10th Dan in Aikido; a 9th Dan in Jujutsu; an 8th Dan in Judo; an 8th Dan in Kobudo; a 5th Dan in Kendo; a 5th Dan in Karate; and a 5th Dan in Jojutsu.

It was Mochizuki’s belief that Japanese martial arts had become too fragmented into separate disciplines. To address this he established the Yoseikan dojo in Shizuoka, as a place where the major techniques found in Japanese martial arts could be consolidated.


On 11 April 2019, Yoshizo Machida officially received his 8th Dan grade from Masaaki Ueki at a ceremony held in Tokyo, Japan. On 16 February JKA Brazil announced that the JKA Instructor Committee had recommended that he be promoted to 8th Dan. This was mainly due to his work of developing Shotokan Karate in Brazil.

Author: Patrick Donkor

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