This week in history (15 June – 21 June)

17 June

On 17 June 1938 the former Chief Instructor of the JKA in Belgium, Satoshi Miyazaki, was born in Sagai, Japan.

On completing his degree Takushoku University, Miyazaki was asked by Masatoshi Nakayama to enrol on the 1961 JKA Instructor Course. Others enrolled on that year’s course included Masaaki Ueki and Keinosuke Enoeda.

Many of the graduates of the JKA’s instructor Course eventually left Japan to spread the JKA’s brand of Karate around the world. Miyazaki eventually got the chance to travel abroad in 1967, when he was asked to take over from Taiji Kase who had been teaching in Belgium for six months.

Miyazaki became the Technical Director of the Belgian Karate Federation (BAKF), a position he held until his untimely death in 1993 from cancer.

18 June

On 18 June 1947, Dominique Valera, a multiple European Champion and a pioneer of Professional Karate in France, was born in Lyon, France to a family of Spanish immigrants. He was one of six children, three boys and three girls.  His family had emigrated from Cartagena before World War Two. His father joined the French navy during the war in thanks to his adopted country.

On 18 June 1966, Elwyn Hall, perhaps one of the most dynamic and exciting fighters to come out of the British Isles was born in Lewisham, South London. His family were originally from Jamaica. His father, an electrician, had joined the RAF during the Second World War, aged only seventeen. A disciplined man he was regularly doing fifty press-ups a day, well into his eighties. However, it was his mother that instilled a sense of fairness and justice into him and his brother.

On 18 June 1976, Luca Valdesi, a multiple kata world champion was born in Palermo, Sicily to Andrea Valdesi. Both Luca’s father and uncle were black belts in Shotokan Karate.

In 1982 Valdesi started his Karate training under the guidance of his father at the age of six. In 1996 he started training with the Fiamme Gialle, the prestigious Karate team of the Italian Financial Police, under head coach, Professor Claudo Culasso.

Author: Patrick Donkor

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