Steve Arneil

The International Federation of Karate is reporting its founder, British kyokushin karate pioneer Steve Arneil, passed away on Friday at the age of 86. Perhaps best known as the coach of the 1975 British world championship team, Arneil was born in South Africa and learned judo and Chinese martial arts as a youngster. He later traveled to China and South Korea to continue studying martial arts, eventually making his way to Japan where, in 1961, he was introduced to kyokushin karate founder Mas Oyama.

Arneil spent four years at Oyama's school during kyokushin's formative period, training alongside many of the style's early notables such as Tadashi Nakamura and Kenji Kurosaki. In 1965 he moved to London where, with Bob Boulton, he formed the British Karate Kyokushinkai organization. In 1975 he was chosen to coach the British team, composed of karateka from all styles, which took the gold medal at the third World Karate Championships. In 1991, after a controversial kyokushin tournament in Japan that Arneil said was fixed in favor of the Japanese fighters, he left Oyama's organization founding his own IKF.

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