Welcome to EUSKC's home dojo. Due to the challenges of COVID-19 and subsequent hiatus of regular training sessions, your club committee have pulled together some karate resources to read, watch and digest from the comfort of your own home. These will come as daily updates, so enjoy!
day 1: Bun Bu Ryo Do
With classes cancelled and with uncertainty over when the University will actually be open again and indeed when it will be safe to do so, the idea has come about to give students, and anyone in the local karate community, the chance to train.
Now in my mind, the study of karate is not just purely physical, in Japanese they call it Bun Bu Ryo Do - ‘the pen and the sword’. As a historian, my interest in Karate has always gone deeper than purely ‘the sword’ and sometimes I notice: we forget ‘the pen’.
Now you don’t have to be well versed in historical theory or concepts of East-Asian migration and anthropology to understand that Karate is inherently anachronistic. By this I mean it is ‘out of its time’, a relic perhaps, of a time gone by. It’s no wonder then that to truly understand why karate is the way it is, and therefore to understand the moves you practice better, one must at least appreciate the specific nature of Karate’s past.
In class I try not to go on too much about this area of study but instead drip feed microns of information to build up awareness of the Okinawan/Japanese culture that formed what we now call ‘Karate’. But with the current situation it seems the perfect time to give people some thoughts to consider along with practical training videos - Bun Bu Ryo Do.
So today on Day 1 I share with you an extract from an article, written by Kenwa Mabuni in 1934. Mabuni, the founder of Shito-Ryu was a MASSIVE Kata geek, it was said that if a kata was dying out, give it to Mabuni and he would keep it alive. Hence why Shito-Ryu has anywhere between 40 and 60 kata with some Shito variants practicing more. Mabuni ‘collected’ kata so his students could choose which to focus on.
The extract reads as follows:
So here we have Mabuni explaining to us why it is important to practice both Kata and its application (what he calls ‘kumite’). The innumerable variations of habitual acts of physical violence means that kata becomes an example of various principles to deal with situations. Kata does not teach you what specifically to do in each situation, but immutable principles to aid your defence. With this in mind, the study of what we call ‘bunkai’ should reflect what Mabuni has told us - principles.
With this point having been made, over the coming days and weeks I will write little tidbits like this to further enhance your karate training. Having an appreciation of Karate’s past cannot be understated.
In today’s training bulletin we give you two things:
● Firstly an essay by Sensei Trevor Jarrett, 6th Dan KUGB, on the link between Kihon training and its role in kumite - a really interesting read. ● Secondly a video by our new Kata Coach, Angus Li, on basic stances and exercises to help them.
Bruce Lee is often quoted as saying ‘Simplicity is the key to brilliance’ and this is true for both basic training and stance awareness. For the karateka studying karate with the aim of practical application - stances must be viewed transitionally, for example a typical zenkutsu dachi is really about a weight movement forward, same as a kokutsu dachi/neko ashi dachi, is about a weight movement backwards. This realisation will alter the bunkai of the moves and how you interpret it.
For the karateka who studies karate for the appreciation of form, athleticism, body coordination etc then stances make the base of your karate powerful and strong. Without a good stance, your karate will be incomplete. So here it is, an essay by Sensei Trevor Jarrett on the role of kihon for Karate.
Keep an eye out for tomorrow’s training bulletin. Sensei Charlie Knight, 3rd Dan EKF, 2nd Dan KUGB _________________________________________________________
An Examination of Teaching and Student Attitude
Does basic training help Kumite? This is a question that does not get asked often enough, the question that does get asked is “can we do more freestyle we need to practice it”!!
I have been training for almost 40 years and teaching for most of them; during that time lots of students have asked me how to improve their Kumite. This essay gives my view on the answer to that question.
The first thing we teach beginners are what we call basics, but a better name for a lot of the first things we teach are fundamentals, or foundations of the Karate that is practiced by all levels of Karateka.
I believe that these Basic Kihon techniques we do without a partner are the most important part of the art of Karate, these basic moves help to build body coordination, strength and timing, you can also work on the speed and power of your techniques without the worry of hitting anyone! You also learn that a strong aggressive attitude will help you to move faster. This is why when I teach I start every lesson with basic Kihon techniques for all levels of students. I try to get my students to work on all aspects of the move, keeping their head level, focus their eyes on something in front of them, trying not to lean forward or move their arms to early, so as not to telegraph the fact they are going to move, the timing and coordination, keeping light and relaxed through the move not tense and heavy which slows it down. Using simple combinations we can work on all the precise details, sometimes we get the mind working more, doing slightly more complicated longer combinations using moves that require lots of body movement that emphasizes good hip and body coordination.
Learning to move your legs without moving other parts of your body is very difficult but very important. Working on this alone will make your legs stronger and improve your core strength which in turn will give you a smoother and stronger technique. Repetitions of basic techniques are very important not only to practice good form and correct technique but also to improve your muscle memory, allowing you to move without having to think about the details of the technique you are performing.
Kumite is learnt in several stages, these stages are to assist the Karateka through the different levels of their development from beginner to black belt.
The first time you pair up in a lesson for Kumite will be for basic Kihon Sanbon Kumite or Gohon Kumite. At this stage the attacks are limited to Jodan or Chudan Oi tsuki. This is your first opportunity to try out the techniques you have been learning across the dojo to thin air. This is when distance and target comes into training. You start to learn how long your stance needs to be to reach your partner when attacking and not to be too far away when you counter attack. Students when attacking must try and hit their partner but with control, this will make it seem more realistic for the defender. If the attacker does not attack correctly with speed and power then the defender does not learn to block properly. This will become important later as they progress through the grades.
The next stage for Kumite is basic Ippon Kumite. The attacks remain from a basic stance, the opponent is told where they are going to be attacked and what with (Jodan oi tsuki). The defender can now choose any block and counter. The defender now has to work what block they are going to use and their own distance for that block, they also have to be in the correct position to be able to use a counter attack of their choice. Common mistakes that students make when practicing Ippon Kumite for the first time are that they are either too close or too far away, especially with kicks. Practicing basic Ippon Kumite is very good for working on attaining the correct distance for the block and the counter every time. If you wish to counter with a kick more foot movement will be needed to be able to achieve this correct distance. Foot movement is very important; students should use basic Ippon Kumite to improve this. The attacker will remain still after they have attacked so they have time to make sure their feet are in the correct position before any counter attack, whether that is a hand or foot technique. The attacks will become more varied as students’ progress up through the grades, but they will still be named and performed from a basic stance giving them time to practice all aspects of the move improving timing and coordination. They also progress to using the left and right side of the body so students get used to blocking and countering using both sides. This is good practice for Jiyu Kumite where being able to block using both arms is very important, and also being able to counter attack from either left or right hand or foot gives you a lot more choices with which to attack your partner.
The next stage is Jiyu Ippon Kumite. Once the basic attacking and blocking techniques of Kihon Ippon Kumite have been learned the student can progress to Jiyu Ippon Kumite. With Jiyu Ippon Kumite basic techniques are practiced in a more advanced way, the student has more freedom to develop their own style. Their stance can be made however they feel comfortable; it also develops Zanshin (awareness). The first difference the students will notice when starting to practice Jiyu Ippon Kumite is the stances that both attacker and defender will be in is much higher (Kamae) this stance gives the student more manoeuvrability than Zenkutsu Dachi. This allows students to move more easily in any direction. Hands are also held in a more natural position so you can block and counter instantaneously. The other main difference is that both students will be moving and the attacker will be trying to disguise when the attack is coming, by making the defendant think they are going to attack by moving in and out of distance, faking the attack. The Kime action is an important difference between Ippon Kumite and Jiyu Ippon Kumite, in Ippon Kumite students block the held out attack and then counter, the counter attack finishes at the full extent of the move i.e., with a straight arm, the fist just touching the target, with the Kime at the very end of the technique, in Jiyu Ippon Kumite the student blocks and counters, the Kime is held only for a brief moment as the technique lands, just before the arm is straightened, it is immediately pulled back (snapped) to Kamae stance ready to go again in case another attack occurs. In Jiyu Ippon Kumite there are two ways of replying to an attack, you can block and counter at the same time giving the attacker no time to react to your counter, this will require good timing and anticipation of the attack. Trying to work out whether you are being attacked or not is a skill students need to work on in Jiyu Ippon where the attack is announced so you know what’s coming but not exactly when. The other option is to move away to block then counter attack. Both ways use the same principles of distance and timing as you learnt in the Ippon Kumite. Learning to disguise your attack is very important, in Ippon Kumite you only rely on speed and good technique to attack your partner, in Jiyu Ippon Kumite students will start to learn how to attack while they are on the move, and then try to disguise when they are going to attack, again the basic Kihon Techniques that the students learnt up and down the dojo and in Ippon Kumite will be needed to control their body because any unnecessary body movements telegraph the fact that you are about to attack.
Teaching at a university club you have students from different styles of karate as well as different associations that practice Shotokan, I have noticed that very few of the higher gradesseem to place much emphasis on basic Gohon and Ippon Kumite or even basic Kihon movements, all they want to do is Jiyu Kumite. When you watch them doing Jiyu Kumite you see them missing the target areas with bad distance, timing and Kime. When you tell them they need to practice more Basic techniques and then basic Ippon Kumite to get these things right they do not believe it, many of them stop attending my lessons because they “don’t like basics” but they attend the special Student led Kumite sessions!! In class we do a range of all types of pair work at all levels so they can get it right and then move on to Jiyu Kumite.
There is no substitute for Jiyu Kumite, but how you prepare for it can make a big difference. A solid understanding of the basic techniques, timing and coordination you learnt in the basic Kihon gives a good and strong foundation from which to build from. All the different types of Kumite are important to practice often for all grades to reinforce good coordination and timing of good techniques. If a student can’t do simple combinations of punches and or kicks across the dojo without the pressure of an opponent, then how do they expect to be able to get the correct execution under fighting conditions? So when asked “how do I improve my Kumite”, I answer, “do more Basics”!
day 2: KIHON VIDEO LESSON; STANCES
day 3: stretching routine
Today we share with you a stretching routine taught to me by my own sensei when I first began Karate, with a few additions by me. It will improve your range of motion and most importantly, your strength throughout this range of motion. This routine is designed as an additional set after an initial full body warm-up, and will help to activate your glutes and hamstrings before practice. Normally the routine is done stepping through although, as shown, it can be done stationary. The video shows three on each side (bar the last one) although you can do more if you wish. Happy Stretching!
Sensei Charlie Knight
day 4: Iain Abernethy and the Training Matrix
If you’re aware of the work of Sensei Abernethy, well done, study it and appreciate it for its user friendliness, simplicity and adaptability. If you’re not then why not!
So who is the man many people label the world’s leading expert on practical kata application. Taught primarily by Doug James, Peter Consterdine and Geoff Thompson, Abernethy has practiced martial arts since childhood and created his website in 2003 and has since launched an app designed to give karate practitioners across the globe access to his methods, thoughts and approaches to karate.
Before we look at Abernethy’s view, let's take into account the views of Karate’s pioneers which, whilst should not be taken as gospel, are a good point to start when attempting to understand the historical intention of kata. As I have previously written: Karate is inherently anachronistic.
“Once a form has been learned, it must be practised repeatedly until it can be applied in an emergency, for knowledge of just the sequence of a form in karate is useless” - Gichin Funakoshi
“It is obvious that these kata must be trained and practised sufficiently, but one must not be 'stuck' in them. One must withdraw from the kata to produce forms with no limits or else it becomes useless. It is important to alter the form of the trained kata without hesitation to produce countless other forms of training. Essentially, it is a habit - created over long periods of training. Because it is a habit, it comes to life with no hesitation - by the subconscious mind.” - Hironori Ohtsuka
“Kata is not fixed or immovable. Like water, it’s ever changing and fits itself to the shape of the vessel containing it.” - Kenwa Mabuni
“I must find the features and meaning of each form by my own study and effort, by repeating the exercises of form through training” - Tsuyoshi Chitose
“ … there are many kinds of postures and many kinds of kata. While learning these postures should not be totally ignored, we must be careful not to overlook that they are just forms or templates of sort; it is the function of their application which needs to be mastered.” - Choki Motobu
So to summarise what they mean: Funakoshi says knowing the sequence is useless - learn a meaning. Ohtsuka says don’t be bound by the kata you need to supplement it with related training. Mabuni says kata should and can fit many different situations, not just one. Chitose says exercises outside kata must supplement its study. And finally, Motobu, ever the realist, says don’t get stuck in the form - learn something useful from them.
Through looking at these quotes we clearly see that all the pioneers intended kata practice to encompass way more than the solitary form. It is peculiar then that modern traditional karate seems to have moved so far away from this.
One of the many facets of training which Sensei Abernethy advocates is what he calls the Four Stages of Kata. A model which works well with my previous article referring the Kenwa Mabuni’s ‘Practice Kata Correctly’ - within this, Mabuni is quoted as saying:
“... if you practice the kata of karate, if that is all that you do, if your [other] training is lacking, then you will not develop sufficient ability”.
Abernethy argues that many karateka only get to this stage, the first stage. That is - practice the kata/learn the solo form. For Mabuni this allowed students to appreciate the innumerable variations. More practically however, the solo form allows you to express the more violent applications of kata in a safe way, i.e. there are techniques in kata that if done properly on training partners would seriously injure them if not kill them. And we generally like our training partners. The solo practice also helps you develop form, timing, direction and weight distribution amongst many others. As a historical phenomenon the philosophy behind kata will be expressed in an upcoming article of Patrick McCarthy’s HAPV theory.
So if the first stage is to learn the kata, it follows that the second stage should be to learn the application of such moves. Now this is where perhaps you could see Mabuni and Abernethy coming into conflict. Mabuni explicitly states the numerous applications of kata cannot be practically practiced - that however does not mean that this should not be attempted. Mabuni, ever the advocate of kata training recognised the importance of solo training to aid these methods. All of the above quotes recognise the importance of learning application alongside this. If the first stage solo form is an acorn then bunaki starts to become the trunk of the forming tree.
The third stage is then to identify variations within such bunkai both within the act of physical violence and the underlying trends within the bunkai application. Mabuni says Kata is not ‘fixed or immovable’ and is thus adaptable depending on the situation. For example in the opening movements of Heian Shodan you could interpret the gedan barai as a sort of arm bar followed by an oi tsuki to the head. Whilst the kata prescribes a punch, if distancing wouldn't allow you to switch to an elbow strike or if they dropped too much, use a hammer fist etc. The underlying principle remains the 90° angle to the opponent forced lower with downwards pressure followed by a strike. This template can thus be adapted and applied to various attacks and scenarios. The third stage thus prescribes moving outwards from the kata after identifying underlying principles.
The final stage is perhaps the one least studied by modern karateka: gaining experience of the application and themes through live scenarios, what Abernethy terms ‘kata based sparring’. According to Abernethy the differences between stage 1 and stage 4 are void as they are essentially the same thing. You must think, if the original karate practitioners valued kata so highly whilst simultaneously being revered as some of the toughest and most skilled combatants of Eastern Asia, what are we missing? For example, the infamous Motobu Choki notably favoured Nihanchin kata (Tekki Shodan for Shotokan folk) and often only taught this kata to his students. Yet Motobu was also supposedly involved in over 100 street fights in Okinawa’s red light district Tsuji and never lost one. It can therefore be aptly assumed that Motobu was able to easily apply Nihanchin in various situations - he was obviously aware of the importance of what Abernethy has labelled ‘The Four Stages’.
Whilst stuck in isolation for the foreseeable future, unless you live in a house of karateka you will be unable to fulfill the four stages. You can however practice the first, and for now hypothesise the second and third. This being said, if you own a focus mit, both stages two and three can be practiced solo. The importance of these stages cannot be underestimated. If you are interested in getting to the heart of karate, one must be aware of the evolution of your kata practice.
day 9: A History of Karate in Britain 1957 - 2020: Part I
Across the globe, thousands upon thousands of people can claim to be ‘World Champions’ or ‘National Champions’ of some form or another. Indeed, when karate was inducted into Tokyo 2020 and the World Karate Federation (WKF) was granted the mandate, this effectively removed the possibility of competing for thousands of practitioners worldwide. The sheer amount of different styles, sub-styles, associations within said styles etc etc means Karate is perhaps one of the most divided sports/martial arts (yes it can be both simultaneously) around. To fully understand the way karate is in this country at present, one must first understand how it has evolved and transformed in both Britain and Okinawa/Japan. This Kararticle (a name my housemate gave these written pieces) will focus on the British history of karate, yet, to fully appreciate karate’s divisions globally you would need to understand styles and Japanese culture more broadly. The Early Days: Bell, Kanazawa, Suzuki and the founding of the BKCC.
Before we start, it’s important to note that Karate’s popularisation, spread and eventual success is indebted to one way, and one master - Judo and Jigoro Kano. Not only did Gichin Funakoshi adopt the grading system, belts and gis from Kano, but in Britain, the spread of Karate grew from the roots of Judo. Judo arrived in Britain in the late 1800s with the first Dojo opening in 1918 by Gunji Koizumi, by the mid 1960’s the Budokwai as it was known, had well established links with the Japanese Karate Association - indeed it is still the dojo of Yoshinobu Ohta of the JKA today.
To properly understand British karate we need to go back a bit further than the mid ‘60s. In 1955, the Frenchman Henri Plée founded his dojo: the Karate Club de France (KCF). Whilst Plée began in (wait for it) Judo, he showed particular aptitude for striking under his teacher Minoru Mochizuki - the founder of the amalgamate system Yoseikan. In Britain a man called Vernon Bell had reached the rank of 3rd Dan in Judo under Kenshiro Abbe, affectionately called ‘the man with too many friends’. Abbe was invited to Britain by the London Judo Society in 1955 and helped form the British Judo Council (BJC), a rival to the British Judo Association (BJA) of Koizumi’s Budokwai. Whilst studying Judo amongst other martial arts, Vernon Bell became interested in Karate and travelled to Paris to the KCF and Plée. After 18 months of training Bell was awarded his 1st Dan in Karate by Hiroo Mochizuki (son of Minoru) and Plée; a month later on 1st April 1957, Bell founded the British Karate Federation linked to Plée’s KCF. After teaching out of his parents’ garden, in January 1958 Bell opened a dojo at St Mary’s Hall, Upminster and immediately invited Tetsuji Murakami of Yoseikan to teach in England. Initially clubs only spread within London and Essex and it was not until 1960 that a BKF Club opened in Stoke under the judoka Edward Shaw. The publication and spread of Nishiyama and Brown’s book Karate: The Art of "empty Hand" Fighting (1959) attracted many Judoka like Shaw to Karate, indeed 1961 saw massive BKF expansion with seven new dojos opening including one in Liverpool. BKF Liverpool was registered by Fred Gille and Andrew Sherry, two judoka under Prof. Jack Britten, and instantly began to train under Bell and Murakami.
1963 proved a pivotal year for karate in Britain for a number of reasons:
In December, the 1st European Karate Championships were held between Bell’s BKF and the French and Belgian teams. The team included Sherry and was captained by the highest graded student - Terry Wingrove.
By the end of the Championships it also became apparent that Murakami had misled the BKF over his affiliation to Yoseikan which Bell believed to be affiliates of the Japanese Karate Association (JKA). When this proved false - Bell removed all links to Yoseikan and Murakami and made the BKF the JKA’s representative in Britain in 1964.
1963 also marked the arrival of Mitsusuke Harada and his style Shotokai into Britain. Harada was (and remains) a 5th Dan, the highest rank in Shotokai, personally awarded by Gichin Funakoshi himself. Whilst the Shotokan of the BKF (and everywhere else) more closely resembled that of Nishiyama, Nakayama and Obata’s JKA, Shotokai (created by Egami) arguably more closely resembled Funakoshi’s original teaching. Harada had been invited to Europe by Plée and to Britain by Abbe and Bell - teaching a course in Bell’s London Dojo.
1963 also marked the beginning of a tour of Europe by Tatsuo Suzuki, a student of Wado-Ryu founder Hironori Ohtsuka. Suzuki would eventually settle in London in January 1965 assisted by Japanese instructors such as Tadayuki Maeda and Masafumi Shiomitsu.
In London and Liverpool, Shotokan continued to develop with the arrival of four Japanese instructors in 1965 from the JKA - Kanazawa, Enoeda, Shirai and Kase. Whilst Bell had requested Kanazawa soon after the BKF’s break from Yoseikan, by 1966 it was evident he did not want to renew his contract with him. The BKF effectively collapsed over Bell’s unwillingness to let Kanazawa and Enoeda continue teaching in London and Liverpool respectively, aided by the founding of the Karate Union of Great Britain (KUGB) in the same year. The KUGB now had some of Britain’s finest Karateka: Andy Sherry, Bob Ponyton, Terry O’Neil, Charles Naylor, Mick Randall etc etc. Kanazawa would leave for Germany in 1967 leaving Enoeda as the KUGB’s chief instructor.
As alluded to, 1965 was also a pivotal year for Karate in Britain, the arrival of the JKA, the beginning of Suzuki’s Judd Street Kings Cross Dojo, but 1965 also saw the arrival of one Steve Arneil in London. Arneil, a native South African, had lived and trained in Japan under Mas Oyama, the founder of Kyokushin but only after Oyama had sent him to train with both the JKA and Gogen ‘The Cat’ Yamaguchi of Goju Ryu to experience different ways. Arneil was only the second person to complete the One Hundred Man Challenge - the first was Mas Oyama himself. Arneil arrived in Britain and created British Karate Kyokushinkai (BKK) and quickly became the British All-Styles Team Manager.
As is the case now, as was the case then - the existence of alternative karate styles led to many changes amongst karateka, mainly based on geography and disillusionment. Walter Seaton, previously head of BKF Middlesbrough, left Bell in 1963/4 over the abandonment of Murakami, and joined Suzuki (although Seaton continued with the JKA until 1968 studying both styles). Seaton had previously taught Pauline Laville (later Pauline Bindra), Britain’s first female Black belt. Similarly after grading and competing in Wado Ryu, Billy Higgins left and joined the KUGB in 1972.
Karate was growing at a rapid, and some believed uncontrollable, rate. This all came to a head in October 1966 when the British Karate world was rocked by the ‘Karate Murder Case’. Anthony Creamer, a Bricklayer from London, was remanded into custody for the murder of Andrew Allan with ‘seven blows in three seconds’ - the irony was that Creamer had never attended a karate class, but had learnt the techniques from the various books avaliable. The judge Justice Glyn-Jones was slanderous about karate prompting a response from the relatively new All Britain Karate-do Association (ABKA) headed by Suzuki, with Len Palmer as chair. Suzuki even invited Glyn-Jones to his Judd Street Dojo to convince him of Karate’s merits but a Governmental Inquiry was launched into Karate’s practices with the decision made to create an overarching British Karate Control Commission (BKCC) - a body aimed to regulate and unify Karate in Britain.
Upon its creation in 1968, the BKCC included Enoeda’s KUGB, Harada’s Karate Shotokai, Bell’s BKF (which still functioned albeit on its last legs), Suzuki/Palmer’s ABKA, Arneil’s BKK and Tommy Morris’s Scottish Karate-do Association. Morris had trained under Plée in Paris and his Glasgow Club was associated with his KCF. In 1965, Morris met Yoshinau Nanbu, the student of Chojiro Tani, the founder of Shukokai, on his European tour. After his creation of the Scottish Karate-do Association, Morris held the first International competition in Britain attended by Nanbu, Suzuki and Plée amongst others. Shukokai would soon take off under Nanbu and Shigeru Kimura, another of Tani’s students.
In 1967/8 Wado Ryu in Britain divided, firstly between Suzuki and Palmer and then between Palmer and Roy Stanhope in the North. The first split saw Suzuki, Shiomitsu, Takamizawa and other Japanese instructors leave ABKA despite the success of individuals such as Peter Spanton in competition (against greats such as Dominique Valera). ABKA was left in the hands of Palmer, Spanton, Ticky Donovan and Dave Mitchell although it would soon divide again between North and South (and rename itself the British Karate Association [BKA]). The Northern Clubs under Roy Stanhope felt under represented by Palmer at the newly established BKCC meetings and selections. Stanhope believed that talented fighters such as Peter Consterdine were being overlooked due to their removal from the capital and thus left instead opting to follow Shukokai and Kimura.
Let's take a breather and recap.
Vernon Bell adopts Henri Plée’s Karate from Paris and forms the BKF in 1957, inviting Tetsuji Murakami to teach.
In 1961 the BKF massively expanded, founding clubs in Liverpool amongst others.
The arrival of Mitsusuke Harada in 1963 exposed many British Karateka to a different style of Karate.
By 1964 Bell had severed ties with Murakami and launched an association with the JKA inviting Kanazawa, Enoeda and others to Britain in 1965.
1965 also saw the arrival of Tatsuo Sazuki of Wado Ryu, Steve Arneil of Kyokushin and Yoshinau Nanbu of Shukokai as well as the beginning of the end for the BKF as many practitioners preferred Kanazawa over Bell.
The following year saw the creation of the KUGB and the beggining of the ‘Karate Murder Case’ saga.
In 1967 Wado Ryu split between the Japanese and the English and then again between the North and South in 1968.
Finally, 1968 saw the creation of the first attempt at an overarching British Karate governing body - the BKCC, encompassing the groups of Enoeda, Harada, Palmer/Suzuki, Morris, Bell and Arneil.
The initial decade of karate saw the arrival of four of the five main styles to Britain. Bell introducing Shotokan (or at least the Yoseikan version), Suzuki introducing Wado Ryu, Nanbu/Morris introducing Shito Ryu/Shukokai and Arneil introducing Kyokushin. The period saw a reliance on the British Judo scene for its early proponents, training setup and foreign instructors, whilst Plée and French Karate provided access to many of the Japanese instructors who came to Europe. There appeared an orientalist fascination with Japanese instructors whilst some would put forward the case of racism in terms of the splits most notably the Japanese/English Wado split in 1968. Karate’s rapid explosion outwards of London created many hubs namely in the capital, Essex and a few northern cities such as Liverpool and Manchester. University campuses, like they had been in Japan, became a nucleus for engaging young people in the martial arts and was responsible for much of the middle growth. The period is also notable for the first governing body encompassing the majority of British Karate at the time. Although arguably government enforced, the BKCC showed an initial willingness of all styles to cooperate together and there is definitely more scope for detailed research of the organisation's formation.
Part II of ‘A History of Karate in Britain: 1957-2020’ will cover the arrival of Goju Ryu, the end of the BKCC and the rise of Ticky Donovan and the ‘Golden Years’ of British Karate.