This week in history (8 Feb – 14 Feb)

8 February

On 8 February 1985, Kyoshi Yamazaki’s daughter, Mina, was born in California.

In November 2012, Mina Yamazaki represented the United States at the 21st World Karate Championships, held in Paris, France. She had started learning Karate from her father, at the age of three.


9 February

On 9 February 1929 Shotokan master Taiji Kase, was born in Chiba, Japan.

Kase had studied Judo before beginning Karate. He earned a 2nd Dan in Judo by the age of 15. He started his Karate training in 1944 under the guidance of Yoshitaka Funakoshi and Shigeru Egami. He was awarded his 3rd Dan in 1949 while attending Senshu University.

As a member of the JKA, in 1965 Kase led the Japanese delegation, that included Hirokazu Kanazawa, Keinosuke Enoeda and Hiroshi Shirai on a tour demonstrating Shotokan Karate to the rest of the world.


10 February

 On 10 February 1966, Andy Sherry and Joseph Chialton became the first students in Great Britain to be graded to 1st Dan by the Japan Karate Association (JKA).

The grading took place at the Liverpool Karate Club which was located at 157 Everton Road. The grading was conducted by Keinosuke Enoeda.


On 10 February 1999 Shotokan master, Keigo Abe, founded the Japan Shotokan Karate Association (JSKA).

Abe had resigned from the JKA’s Matsuno faction on 31 January 1999. This was following the Japanese High Court ruling in favour of the JKA’s Nakahara faction. There had been a ten-year legal battle between the Matuno and Nakahara factions over the legal use of the JKA name. Following the loss, the Matsuno faction split into several groups led by Abe, Tetsuhiko Asai, and Mikio Yahara.


On 10 February 2006 Shotokan legend, Tetsuhiko Asai, underwent liver surgery.


11 February

On 11 February 1944, Jacques Legree was born in Rennes, France.

Jacques Legree is a pioneer of Kyokushin Karate in France. An uchi-deshi of Kyokushin founder, Mas Oyama, he has done a lot to promote the art in France.


On 11 February 1966 Jack Green, an instructor at the British Karate Federation’s Blackpool dojo was graded to 1st Dan under Keinosuke Enoeda. He was the third man in Great Britain to be awarded his 1st Dan, after Andy Sherry and Joseph Chialton had been graded the previous day in Liverpool.


14 February

On 14 February 1919, Hiroshi Kinjo was born in Shuri, Okinawa.

Virtually unknown in the west, Hiroshi Kinjo was one of the most unpretentious masters. One of the most respected Masters in Japan, he was described as a living encyclopedia on Karate and Kobodu history. He trained under many of the top 2nd-Generation Okinawan masters, many who were direct students of Yasutsune Itosu.


On 14 February 2015, South African Shotokan Karate pioneer, Stan Schmidt, was awarded the rank of 8th Dan by the JKA. He was the first non-Japanese to be promoted to this rank by the JKA.


On 14th February 2016, Shigeru Oyama died at home, with his wife Patricia by his side. His funeral was conducted at the Giordano Funeral Home, in the Bronx. More than 200 people wanted to pay their respects to the deceased Kyokushin Master.

A Kyokushin Karate pioneer, many describe Oyama as one of the best Kyokushin practitioners. Those who trained with him described him as a man passionate about teaching Karate. His many exceptional students include Katsuaki Sato, Howard Collins, Miyuki Miura, Toshikazu Sato, Takashi Azuma, Willie Williams, and Joko Ninomiya.

Author: Patrick Donkor

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