This week in history (6 June – 12 June)

7 June

On 7 June 1935 Shotokan master and former Technical Director of the Japan Karate Association (JKA), Tetsuhiko Asai was born in Ehime Prefecture, Japan.

As a boy, Asai had trained in Sumo, Judo, and Kendo. He became interested in Karate after seeing a karateka defeat a boxer in a fight.  Upon entering Takushoku University he trained in Karate under Masatoshi Nakayama and Teruyuki Okazaki. After graduating in 1958 and following a recommendation from Nakayama, Asai enrolled in the JKA’s Instructors program.

After graduating from the Instructor Program Asai spent five years teaching Karate in Hawaii. On returning to Japan he was sent to Taiwan, becoming the first instructor to introduce Karate to that country. He eventually returned to Japan, teaching at the JKA’s hombu dojo.

Asai was a former winner of the JKA All Japan Karate Championship in kumite in 1961, becoming only the third man to be named Grand Champion after also coming second in the kata competition. Hirokazu Kanazawa and Takayuki Mikami were the previous men to be named Grand Champion. Asai was also a winner of the kata title in 1963.

8 June

On 8 June 1955, Masao Kagawa was born In Osaka, Japan. He is one of the best technicians and competitors to come out of the Japan Karate Association (JKA). He is the winner of numerous titles in both kata and kumite.

9 June

On 9 June 1956 Seiji Nishimura was born in Kumamoto, Japan. Having a competitive career second to none, he is one of Japan’s most successful, kumite competitors, spanning over an eight-year period

On 9 June 1961, Andy Sherry officially joined the British Karate Federation’s (BKF) Liverpool dojo, although he had already been training with the BKF’s Fred Gille for some two years before that. He was dedicated to his training and would take every opportunity to increase his knowledge. He made frequent trips to train at Vernon Bell’s London dojo.

On 9 June 2008, American Shotokan practitioners James Field, Robin Rielly, and Maynard Miner were promoted to 8th Dan by Teruyuki Okazaki.

10 June

On 10 June 1946 Michael Dewey, the Chief Instructor of Shotokan of England Karate Union (SEKU), was born.

Dewey, a boat builder by trade, began his Karate training in 1967 at the Portsmouth Karate Club. Dewey, a keen footballer, was introduced to the new art of Karate by his girlfriend. On weekends Ray Fuller, a black belt from Keinosuke Enoeda‘s Blackfriars Shotokan dojo in London, would travel to Portsmouth to teach.

In 1972 Dewey earned his 1st Dan from Enoeda at a Karate Union of Great Britain (KUGB) Summer Training Course, held at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in London.

Dewey became a full-time Karate instructor in 1974, running several clubs on the south coast of England.

Between 1973 to 1979 Dewey was a member of several KUGB squads. He was a member of the British team that came third at the 1977 World Championships held in Japan. He was also a member of the 1980 team that won European gold in Brussels. He was also selected to represent the British All-Styles Karate Team between 1975 to 1979, under the management of Steve Arneil.

In 1982 Dewey was appointed the Chief Instructor of the South of England Karate Union (SEKU), which was eventually renamed to Shotokan of England Karate Union.

12 June

On 12 June 1965, Hirokazu Kanazawa took his first teaching trip outside of London to the British Karate Federation’s (BKF) Liverpool dojo. The trip lasted from 12 to 19 June.

During his visit, Kanazawa did not perform any gradings. It is thought he taught the katas Heian Yondan, Heian Godan and Tekki Shodan.

On 12 June 1980, Antonio Diaz, a multiple World Champion, was born in Caracas Venezuela.

Diaz started training in 1986 when he was five years old, influenced by his parents who were both karatekas. His first style was Shito-Kai Karate, training under Shoko Sato, notable for being the first Japanese Karate sensei to start teaching in Venezuela.

Between 12 – 28 June 2015 Azerbaijan hosted the 1st European Games which featured participants in 30 sports. Led by Rafael Aghayev, Azerbaijan had great success in the Karate tournament held at the games. Feeling the pressure to do well in his home country, Aghayev defeated long-time rival Luigi Busa in the final of the -75 kg event. Azerbaijan topped the medal table with six medals (4 gold, 2 bronze).

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