The Martial Arts are probably as old as human history. Those generally known today as "karate" actually originated fairly recently in Japan, though they developed from older Arts that are still practiced today in the Ryukyu Kingdom (a chain of islands off the coast of Japan), notably Okinawa. Before that they are probably rooted in much older Chinese and Asian styles. Karate's founder, Gichin Funakoshi, was born in 1868 in Okinawa. By the time of his death in 1957 he had formulated the basics of what became modern karate-do (literally the "way of the empty hand") and founded the Japan Karate Association (JKA). Master Funakoshi was also a poet and scholar and used the pen name 'Shoto.' The modern karate style most closely associated with him inevitably became known as 'Shotokan' (Shoto's hall).
Today there are several main styles of Japanese karate that can trace a direct lineage to the founder, or one or more of his direct students: the best known include Shotokan, Goju-Ryu, Shito-Ryu, Wado-Ryu. Within each style there are huge numbers of variants represented by different associations and individual clubs.
We are part of the Seishin KyoKai association of karate clubs. This is an alliance of similar minded clubs, dedicated to teaching traditional karate that is of high quality using safe body movement. We base our approach on the teachings of the founder, Master Gichin Funakoshi, and Sensei Hirokazu Kanazawa 10th Dan.
The training includes kihon (basic techniques), kata (set sequences of techniques) and kumite (ritualised and freestyle sparring). Students are encouraged to look beyond the traditional Shotokan grading syllabus and learn the history of karate as well as in-depth and effective Bunkai, Oi Jutsu and Henka. Seishin KyoKai's grading syllabus is demanding but achievable by anyone with the necessary perseverance and determination . The standard of instruction is very high and performance required at gradings is above average. The founding sensei , Phil Shire 7th Dan, is a dedicated karateka with many years of experience.
Ours is a relatively traditional Japanese style, with the emphasis on karate training as a martial art rather than a competitive sport - although we can claim many excellent fighters and kata performers in our dojo's past and present membership, and within the wider membership of Seishin KyoKai. Another important characteristic is that the fighting aspects of our karate are 'non-contact.' This means that strikes are not landed on our training partner's bodies. Blocks and applications of the kata do involve (non-injurious) contact as this is necessary to learn effective technique.