The True Essence Of Karate Is The Forging Of One’s Character


No man typifies this principle more than Steve Arneil. He was the second man to complete the grueling One Hundred Man Kumite Challenge, after the great Masutatsu (Mas) Oyama.

Steve Arneil, the son of a steelworker, was born on 29 August 1934 in the mining city of Krugersdorp, South Africa.

Arneil’s martial arts journey started when he aged twelve he began learning Judo from Allen Robinson, the son of famous judoka, Jack Robinson. The Arneil family had earlier moved to Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) where Arneil’s father worked as a smelter in a copper mine.

Although Arneil dabbled a little with boxing, an operation on his nose put an end to that. In 1950 he earned his 1st Dan in Judo. It was around this time that he came into contact with an old Chinese man he saw practicing Kempo and Tai Chi outside his hardware store. Arneil persuaded the man to teach him his style. He studied with him for the next two years.

It should be mentioned that Arneil was a keen rugby player, becoming one of the youngest players to represent Northern Rhodesia. He played in matches against Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and an invitation team from England and Wales.

On a visit to Durban, South Africa Arneil first learned about Karate from some Judo friends. His first introduction to Karate was from an Okinawan man who taught him the style of Goju-ryu for about a month.

In 1958, at the suggestion of his now very old Kempo instructor, Arneil traveled to China via South Africa (to gather finances for the trip). He stayed at a YMCA hostel in Hong Kong for six months. Unhappy with the Kung Fu dojo he was training at, he made an unsuccessful attempt to enter mainland China. He eventually ended up in the Philippines, where he stayed for around six weeks, working on ships and learning knife fighting techniques.

Arneil’s old Kempo teacher had mentioned a karateka who was reputably known for his great strength and discipline. This man was Mas Oyama. In 1961 Arneil traveled to Yokohama, Japan in search of Oyama.

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History of Karate

Karate (空手) (/kəˈrɑːti/; Japanese pronunciation: [kaɾate] (About this soundlisten); Okinawan pronunciation: [kaɽati]) is a martial

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