This week in history (3 Aug – 9 Aug)

3 August

On 3 August 2016, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that Karate would be one of the new sports making their Olympic debut at the 2020 Games, to be held in Tokyo, Japan.

This was a big victory for proponents like Tokey Hill and Christophe Pinna, who had campaigned long and hard for Karate’s inclusion in the Olympic Games.

The decision has divided opinion in the Karate world. Some see this as the slippery slope of Karate losing its Budo soul. However, proponents of Karate’s inclusion feel that it may lead to an increased interest in Karate. For example, Masao Kagawa firmly believes that Olympic recognition should not have an impact on traditional Karate.

4 August

On 4 August 1947 Gichin Funakoshi’s wife died of asthma in Oita, Kyushu, Japan, aged 71.

This was the culmination of two difficult years for Funakoshi. Following the bombing of Tokyo in 1945 by American forces, the Shoto-Kan dojo was destroyed. His third son Yoshitaka died from leukaemia. His birthplace of Okinawa was heavily bombed with many deaths and many left homeless.

Funakoshi’s wife had managed to survive the destruction of Okinawa and made her way to Oita, where the couple reunited. Because of the war food was scarce and like many people, they lived in dire poverty.

5 August

On 5 August 1967, Dutchman, Loek Hollander, was the next man to take Kyokushin Karate’s 100-Man Kumite Challenge.

According to John Jarvis, who witnessed the challenge, the temperature in the dojo was 110°F (approximately 45°C). Jarvis would take the challenge later that year.

Hollander successfully completed the challenge and spent the next two weeks recovering from numerous minor injuries.

6 August

On 6 August 1930 Shotokan Karate master, Tsutomu Ohshima was born. He was a direct student of Shotokan founder Gichin Funakoshi. He was also influenced by Shigeru Egami at Waseda University.

As an exchange student from Waseda University, Ohshima began teaching Shotokan Karate in Los Angeles in 1955. He soon had a good crop of students, that included the likes of Caylor Adkins. The following year he founded Shotokan Karate of America (SKA).

On 6 August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima.

Shotokan master, Shigeru Takashina‘s family lived on the outskirts of Hiroshima, so the escaped most of the deadly damage caused by the bomb.

It should be noted that another JKA legend, Hiroshi Shirai, survived the atomic bomb dropped on the city of Nagasaki by the United States, three days later.

Author: Patrick Donkor

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