This week in history (7 Sep – 13 Sep)

7 September

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

The course was conducted by Vernon Bell and was limited to twenty students. It 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.


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 is 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.

JKA Chief Instructor, Masatoshi Nakayama, featured the technical Osaka heavily in his “Best Karate” series of books. He performed 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.


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 the 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 a 5th Dan from the Kodakan, the home of Japanese Judo. He received his grade from Risei Kano, son of Judo founder Jigaro Kano.


11 September

On 11 September 1934 Colin Williams, the founder of the Bukonkai Karate International (BKI) association, was born. He started training in the early days of Karate in the United Kingdom.


On 11 September 1970 Michael Randall, Christopher Adamou and Nicholas Adamou graded to 2nd Dan under Hirokazu Kanazawa. All three men had started their Karate training with the British Karate Federation (BKF) in 1964.

When Kanazawa began teaching for the BKF Randall and the Adamou brothers trained relentlessly with him and became part of a group of students, including Eddie Whitcher, Mike Peachey, Will Mannion and Jack Johnson, known playfully as the Seven Samurai who were totally devoted to him.

When the Karate Union of Great Britain (KUGB) was formed, they were among the students who followed Kanazawa to the new organisation. All three men earned their 1st Dan from Kanazawa in 1967.


12 September

On 12 September 1961, Molly Samuel, Britain’s first individual female World Karate Federation (WKF) World Champion, was born in London, England.

Samuel was a pioneer of women’s competitive Karate in the UK, paving the way for many of Britain’s future world champions. Her major honours include:

• World Championships, Individual Kumite (-60-kg) – 1st Place (1992)
• World Championships, Individual Kumite (-60-kg) – 2nd Place (1986)
• World Championships, Individual Kumite (-60-kg) – 3rd Place (1990)
• World Championships, Team Kumite – 1st Place (1992)
• World Games, Individual Kumite (-60-kg) – 1st Place (1993)
• World Cup, Individual Kumite (-60-kg) – 1st Place (1987, 1989, 1993)
• World Cup, Team Kumite – 1st Place (1990, 1991, 1992 1994)
• World Cup, Team Kumite – 2nd Place (1989, 1993)
• European Championships, Individual Kumite (-60-kg) – 1st Place (1986, 1987, 1989, 1992)
• European Championships, Team Kumite – 1st Place (1990, 1992)
• European Championships, Team Kumite – 2nd Place (1991, 1993)
• British Championships, Individual Kumite (-60-kg) – 1st Place (1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992)
• British Championships, Team Kumite (-60-kg) – 1st Place (1987, 1988, 1990, 1992)
• English Championships, Individual Kumite (-60kg) – 1st Place (1985, 1986, 1987 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1994)
• English Championships, Team Kumite – 1st Place (1987, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1994)


On 12 September 1971 Atsuko Wakai, a four-time kata World Champion, was born in Gifu, Japan.

Wakai is the only woman to win four consecutive world kata titles. This feat earned her an entry in the Guinness Book of Records and made her one of the most dominant world champions, male or female. Her major honours include:

• World Championships – Individual kata – 1st place (1998, 2000, 2002, 2004)
• World Games – Individual kata – 1st place (1997, 2001, 2005)
• World Cup – Individual kata – 1st place (1997)
• Asian Karate Championships – 1st place (1997, 1999, 2001, 2004)
• Asian Games – Individual kata – 1st place (1998, 2002)

Author: Patrick Donkor

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