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Sumo wrestler Kotokantetsu said he was forced to quit the sport after his request to skip the winter Grand Sumo Tournament due to coronavirus concerns was rejected by the Japan Sumo Association even as Japan declared a state of emergency in Tokyo over the pandemic. Kotokantetsu, 22, revealed that he had previously undergone heart surgery and feared his life would be endangered if he contracted the virus.

But despite a rash of positive Covid tests that forced several wrestlers, including grand champion Hakuho, to miss the tournament, sumo's governing body apparently insisted Kotokantetsu take part while allowing a crowd of 5000 to attend the event, which began Sunday at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan arena. Last May, 28-year-old sumo wrestler Shobushi died after contracting the virus.

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Taky Kimura, one of Bruce Lee's earliest martial arts students, passed away Thursday at the age of 96. Kimura first met the future martial arts star in Seattle in 1959 when he joined a small group of students training with Lee in what was then called "Jun Fan Gung Fu."

Kimura turned into Lee's closest student and confidant in Seattle serving as best man at Lee's wedding. When Lee chose to move to Oakland he left his school in the care of Kimura who would become one of only three people, along with Dan Inosanto and the late James Yimm Lee, certified to teach his martial arts style. In recent years, along with his son, Andy, Kimura continued to teach martial arts at the Seattle Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute.

The Douglas County Sheriff's Department in Colorado arrested a martial arts instructor Thursday and charged him with two counts of sexual assault on a child. Charles Niemi, the 65-year-old head instructor at Spirit Warrior Martial Arts is being accused of a pattern of abuse against the victim, who was his student at the time of the alleged assault.

The school's website says Niemi also worked as a counselor for the Division of Youth Services in Denver for 13 years. The sheriff's department believes there may be additional victims and are asking the public to contact them with any further information on the case.

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Paul Heller, who served as executive producer on the Bruce Lee film "Enter the Dragon," passed away Monday at the age of 93. Heller, along with his partner Fred Weintraub, created the original 17 page story treatment for the film which would turn Lee into a worldwide star.

According to the biography "Bruce Lee: A Life," Heller said the story was originally inspired by the Terry and Pirates comic strips he read in his youth. He would hire screenwriter Michael Allin to turn the idea into a full blown movie script. After the success of "Enter the Dragon," Heller would return to the martial arts genre producing the blaxploitation karate film "Black Belt Jones" with Dragon co-star Jim Kelly. Among his other credits, Heller was executive producer for the 1990 Academy Award best film nominee "My Left Foot."

Henan University in China has reached an agreement with the famed Shaolin Temple to jointly offer an academic major in kung fu with a focus on attracting foreign students, though classes will still be held in Chinese. While academic degrees will be offered, the requirements for enrollment, what the curriculum will consist of and what requirements need to be met for graduation haven't been made public yet.

Reaction on social media to the announcement was reportedly mixed with some favoring the idea as a means of spreading Chinese martial arts around the world and others feeling it's simply an economically motivated stunt.

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