This week in history (9 December – 15 December)

10 December

On 10 December 1933 Shotokan master Takayuki Mikami was born in Nigata Prefecture Japan. He was the first professional Karate instructor to be sent by the JKA to teach Karate full-time in another country.

Mikami arrived in Tokyo in 1952  to study Japanese Literature at Hosei University. Being a farm boy in a big city, he began learning Karate as a way of building his confidence. His first instructor was Kimio Itoh, a direct student of Gichin Funakoshi.

After graduating, Mikami was invited to enroll in the newly formed JKA Instructor Training Course. The aim of the course was to train high caliber instructors who could teach and expand the growth of Karate. The course was the brainchild of Masatoshi Nakayama and Teruyuki Okazaki.

Alongside Hirokazu Kanazawa, Mikami was one of the first students of the Instructor Training Course. It was a one-year intensive course. They would have to spar against senior grades, including Teruyuki Okazaki, Hidetaka Nishiyama, and Taiji Kase. They would also cross-train in other styles.

In 1957 Mikami was sent by the JKA to the Philippines to teach. He was there for three months, teaching an introductory Karate course at the University Karate Club of Manilla. This teaching engagement was eventually extended to a year.

Mikami was sent to Los Angeles in the United States in 1963 to teach Karate. He would eventually relocate to New Orleans, where he has remained.


11 December

On 11 December 1985 Douglas Santos Brose was born in the Brazilian town of Cruz Alta. He is a multi-world Champion, having won medals in the -60 kg Kumite event.


12 December

On 12 December 1965 Hirokazu Kanazawa held his first grading at the British Karate Federation’s Nottingham dojo.

The British Karate Federation had arranged with the Japan Karate Association (JKA) for Kanazawa to reside in the United Kingdom for a year, teaching Shotokan karate.



13 December

On13 December 1943, Britain’s most successful coach, David ‘Ticky’ Donovan, was born in Loughton, just outside London. From 1982 to 1992 his Kumite Teams when 6 consecutive world titles. He also coached the likes of Molly Samuel, Vic Charles, Wayne Otto, Geoff Thompson, and Pat Mckay to win multiple world titles.

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On 13 December 1947 Tsuguo Sakumoto was born in the Okinawan village of Onna.

Sakumoto is a practitioner of Ryuei-ryu is an Okinawan style of karate created by the Nakaima family. He is also a three-time Karate World Champion, winning in 1984 (Maastrict), 1986 (Sydney) and 1988 (Cairo). He is also a two-time winner of the World Games (1985 and 1989) and a two-time winner of the World Cup(1987 and 1989).

Sakumoto has been the president of the World Karate Kobudo Ryuei-Ryuho-Kai, and also the Technical Chairman of the World Karate Federation (WKF).

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On 13 December 1958 Vernon Bell made mention of the Japan Karate Association (JKA) for the first time, in a letter to Henri Plee. It seems he had only recently become aware of their existence. Bell and his association, the British Karate Federation (BKF), were affiliated to Yoseikan Karate


14 December

On 14 December 1963 The First European Karate competition was held at the Pierre Coubertin Stadium, Paris, France.

France, Belgium, and Britain were the only countries to participate in a triangular team tournament.

The British team represented Vernon Bell’s British Karate Federation (BKF). The team consisted of Brian Hammond, Andy Sherry, Ron Mills, Jimmy Neal, and Terry Wingrove. Hammond was a 4th kyu, with the rest of the team being brown belts. The other teams consisted mainly of black belts.

Tournament Karate was still a relatively new sport. It could be a bloody affair, with competitors being knocked out and sometimes being carried away on stretchers. The Belgians defeated the British 2-1 but lost to the French 4-0. The French beat the British 3-1, thus winning the entire tournament.


15 December

On 15 December 1958, the 2nd French National Karate Tournament was held at rue du Gabon, Paris, France.

Author: Patrick Donkor

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