David Eckford - only foreigner to be All Japan Champion

Past BLOG of note: David Eckford - only foreigner to be All Japan Champion

Post by Dr Jason Armstrong (6th Dan), Oct 2008

Have you heard of the Linden Dojo in Osaka? Back when Hamaguchi Sensei was healthy and Hayashi Soke was alive it was a dojo to be reckoned with. Many foreigners from all corners of the world would show up for short to very long periods. Most notably was David Eckford, who arrived when he was 16. When he arrived he was a medium height, extremely thin teenager who quit high school to travel to Japan.

He lived with Hayashi Soke, who other than making sure David would become a kumite champion, put Davis through University as well.

David grew into a tall, muscular, extremely fast, and extremely strong fighter who would demolish any opponent he encountered. He is the only foreigner to win the All Japan Karate Tournament in kumite. As one of our members recently commented (Michael) "It was fun watching him morph from a meager teenager to probably the best fighter in the world."

(Greg Story who is also on this social network) who lives in Tokyo interviewed David about 10 years ago for Blitz Martial Arts magazine – it was a good article.

Post by Dr Greg Story (5th Dan) Nov 2008

Jason is partially correct - my article on David was published in Terry O'Neill's Fighting Arts International magazine (volume 80) and was also in Australasian Fighting Arts magazine (volume 15, number 1, November/december 1991).  

Ironically, David later worked for me when I was Consul General and Senior Trade Commissioner in Osaka in 1997.  

We had one exciting evening at a fully imbibed work function at a resort Hotel when one of our Japanese work mates was king hit by a Japanese banker, for no particular reason. I was the host of this event and remember around midnight being told there was some "trouble" - that was duly revealed to be real trouble by all the blood I found on this "Gone with the Wind" massive white marble staircase which led down to the lobby.  

The banker did a nice job of punching our guy's glasses into the soft tissue around the eye socket - reminded me of a dojo carve up with claret everywhere.

We soon had a very chaotic struggle on our hands with me with a combo "throat choke and arm up the back" jobby on the errant  banker, surrounded by the banker's Japanese mates all vigorously trying to make me let go.  

I was well and truly out numbered (it felt like I was swimming in a sea of bankers at that moment) , but I wasn't going to let go until the cops arrived.  I told one of my team to go get David who duly arrived like the cavalry in a Western and sorted out the bad guy's mates for me.  

I spent the next 8 hours at the cop shop, as the key players were all being interviewed to work out what had happened.   I heard the banker's pugilistic endeavours ultimately cost him quite a few bucks in compensation for what he did to our guy.  David at least got a drink or two back at the party and I got a long night on a hard chair down at the pokey waiting around for the cops to do their thing.

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