History | EPLF Fighters were also Trained in Martial Arts, According Sources;
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A Japanese professional martial artist and journalist, Harunobu Chiba, visited Eritrea in 1978 and trained EPLF fighters late 1979 during Eritrea’s struggle for Independence.
He trained over 700 Eritrean soldiers the BUSHIDO (way of the warrior) karate technique, which was useful during the fight for independence.
In Mr. Chiba’s diary he states, “Karate was created by the Okinawan people, who had no resources. The Eritrean guerilla soldiers were confident that learning karate had a significance as well.”
He states, “On November 20  a Sunday, I had my first meeting with the karate students in the open field next to the guesthouse. Underneath the blazing sun at 3.00 p.m., around 50 guerilla soldiers, each of them holding guns in their hands, put on rubber sandals. They wore pieces of cloth called “kushuk” on their bodies and wrapped around their heads, and were sitting on top of rocks waiting for me.”
During an interview with Kesete Ghebrehiwet, Mr. Chiba was asked, “Was the starting of the training difficult?” He replied, “There was no facility. No flat place to conduct the training. We then checked an empty ground if conducive for the training. This was also very sandy with very sharp stones. If one stamps on it-it scratches, but I was amazed the tegadelti have tolerated it. But, we later made it a better place and also spent about three weeks in making the preparations.”
In 1980, Harunobu Chiba moved to Zimbabwe, where he now resides and is currently in the process of writing a book.
Source: Chiba’s Diary: Teaching Karate to Eritrea People’s Liberation Front Soldiers