This week in history (9 November – 15 November)

9 November

On 9 November 1997, K–1 Grand Prix was held at the Tokyo Dome, Japan. Andy Hug reached the final by defeating Pierre Guente of Canada; Masaaki Satake of Japan; and Peter Aerts of The Netherlands. He lost to Ernesto Hoost in the final.


10 November

On 10 November 1967, New Zealander, John Jarvis took the 100-Man Kumite Challenge. He had been in Japan training with Mas Oyama when he was asked to take the challenge. He had previously spent two years in the UK training with Steve Arneil.


On 10 November 1968, the daughter-in-law of Master Gichin Funakoshi died. She was the wife of Funakoshi’s oldest son Yoshihide (Giei).

Yoshihide Funakoshi is not as well-known as his more talented younger brother Yoshitaka (Gigo). Little is known about his Karate ability. In his youth Yoshihide had trained under Yasutsune Itosu alongside his father.

Master Funakoshi and his eldest son had a complex relationship. Yoshihide had moved to Tokyo several years before his father. However, he fell in with a bad crowd and accrued gambling debts. He would borrow money from his father’s students, not paying them back.

Following the deaths of his son Yoshitaka in 1945 and his wife in 1947, Gichin Funakoshi was facing a difficult time. He had given up teaching Karate and moved to Oita, Kyusho, during the war years. It was his son Yoshihide who persuaded him to return back to Tokyo to resume teaching, with his help. Funakoshi lived with Yoshihide and his family for the last ten years of his live.

Yoshihide strove to keep his father’s views about following a traditional approach to Karate alive. He was not happy about the sporting direction Karate was taking. He would eventually follow his father and become President of the Shotokai.


On 10 November 1996, the 13th World Karate Championships were held at Sun City, South Africa (7-11 November).

At these championships Wayne Otto of Britain won his third World Gold medal in the Kumite(-75-Kg). He had previously won at the 1990 and 1992 World Championships. Otto is one of the most successful tournament fighters, having won major honours at World and European level.

Michael Milon of France won the second of his four individual World titles. This win prevented the Japanese from having a clean sweep of kata titles in the men’s and women’s individual and team events. Milon also won silver in the team kata.

Britain topped the medal table with 5 golds, with Japan second on 4 golds. France finished the tournament with 3 golds.


11 November

On 11 November 1934 Colin Williams was born. Williams a Shotokan practitioner, started his training during the early days of Karate in the United Kingdom, in the 1950s.

In the 1980s he founded the Bukonkai Karate International (BKI) association. He was the association’s Chief Instructor. In 1998 he founded the Malta Bukonkai Karate Karate Association. Many of the island’s leading Shotokan instructors got their start under Williams. He is considered to be the Father of Maltese Karate.

After a long battle against leukaemia, Colin Williams died at the age of 67. More than 250 mourners attended his funeral service.


On 11 November 1990, the last day of the 10th World Karate Championships were held in Mexico City.

Japan continued their dominance in the men’s and women’s individual kata, with Tomoyuki Aihara and Yuki Mimura walking away with the honours. The Italian men’s team prevented Japan having a clean sweep of kata titles, beating the Japanese team into second place.

The British kumite team continued their dominance of the team event winning their fifth consecutive title. They had won their first title in 1990.


12 November

On 12 November 1964 Julie Nicholson was born in Jarrow, Tyne and Wear.

Nicholson started Shotokan Karate under the guidance of John Holdsworth and Jeff Barwick, at the age of nine. She eventually came under the instruction of Keinosuke Enoeda.

She began her competitive career in 1976 eventually becoming a member of the KUGB (Karate Union of Great Britain) squad from 1983 until she retired in 2000.

At the World Shotokan Karate Association Championship in 1999, Nicholson won the kata event and came third in the kumite event. At the KUGB National Championships in 2001, she became the first woman to win both the kata and kumite events, thus becoming Grand Champion.

Nicholson is now a senior instructor for the KUGB. She also runs the successful Ronin Karate Club, alongside her husband John Holdsworth.


On 12 November 1972, Frank Nowak and his wife Kora relocated to Australia. He became the first fully qualified JKA Shotokan instructor to arrive and teach in the country. He established dojos in Miranda and South Sydney.


On 12 November 1996, Shokei Matsui, the head of the new head of the International Karate Organisation (IKO), issued an open letter to the IKO members. He had been appointed head of the IKO following the death of Mas Oyama. In the letter, he tried to put members’ minds at rest. He stated that it was everyone’s duty to keep Oyama’s dream alive.


13 November

On 13 November 1943 David ‘Ticky’ Donovan was born, in Loughton, England. He is a highly respected former competitor, coach and founder of the Ishinryu style of Karate.

Donovan practised Wado-Ryu for a number of years before making a switch to Shotokan Karate, being trained by Hirokazu Kanazawa and Keinosuke Enoeda. Following a break from Karate after sustaining a broken hand, Donovan switched styles to Kyokushinkai Karate, training under Steve Arneil. He was eventually awarded his 2nd dan by Mas Oyama, the creator of the style.

With over thirty years as British team coach, Ticky Donovan has coached some of the best British Karate talent, including (but not limited to) Wayne Otto, Molly Samuel, Vic Charles, Julliet and Jillian Toney.

As coach of the British team, Donovan spearheaded the most successful period in British competitive Karate. His teams won the World Championship Team kumite event five times (1982, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990) in a row.


On 13 November 1970 the Toney twins (Jillian and Juliette) were born. They were both kumite competitors representing Britain at World and European level.

Julliet Toney is a two-time World Karate Champion (1996, 1998) and has also won medals at European and World Games competing in the 60kg weight class.

Jillian Toney is no less impressive, having won World Games (1997) and European (1997) titles, and also winning silver medals at the World Championships (1992, 1994), competing in the 53kg weight class.


14 November

On 14 November 1889  Shito-ryu Karate founder, Kenwa Mabuni, was born in Okinawa.

Mabuni was one of the first Okinawan masters to teach his style of Karate on the Japanese mainland, eventually settling in Osaka in 1929. He initially trained under Yasutsune Itosu learning Shuri te, He later trained under Kanryo Higaonna learning Naha te from him. Always keen to learn new techniques he also studied under various Okinawan and Chinese masters.

Author: Patrick Donkor

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