This week in history (1 October – 7 October)

4 October

On 4 October 1924 Motokuni Sugiura, a former Chief Instructor of the JKA, was born in Aichi Prefecture, Japan.

Sugiura earned his 1st Dan aged only 20. At university he had been taught by Gichin Funakoshi and his son Yoshitaka. After he graduated in 1944 he joined the Tsuchiura Navy Flying Corps, serving for a year.

After leaving the Navy he resumed his Karate training under Masatoshi Nakayama. By 1955 he had earned the grade of 3rd Dan. He started working full-time for the JKA in their Guidance Division. 1957 he was appointed Director of the JKA and was assigned to managing the instructors at the main dojo in Tokyo.

In 1991 he was appointed the second Chief Instructor of the JKA. The following year he was awarded his 9th Dan.

5 October

On 5 October 1955  Guusje van Mourik was born in the central Netherlands town of Zeist. Her early exposure to the martial arts was through the sport of Judo. She would eventually receive the grade of 2nd Dan. She competed in the Dutch Championships and won medals on four occasions (1974, 1976, 1978, 1979).

However, it is for Karate that van Mourik is best known. In 1982 she became the Dutch National Champion. She would go on to be Dutch Champion an unprecedented twenty-five times. That same year she won the the first of her four world titles in Taipei, Taiwan, competing in the heavyweight (+60 kg) division.

6 October

On 6 October 1936 Stan Schmidt, a pioneer of South African Shotokan Karate, was born in Kokstad, South Africa.

Sometimes called the “Father of South African Karate”, Schmidt was at the forefront of establishing Shotokan Karate in South Africa as a member of the Japan Karate Association (JKA). He is one of the highest ranked westerners in the JKA.

Schmidt has been described as the best non-Japanese Shotokan sensei by the likes of Terry O’Neill and Dave Hazard and also as “A teacher of teachers”.

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