History of Karate

And My Journey In The Martial Arts

  • Circa 550 – An Indian Prince shares Buddhism teachings in China. Folklore tales link the prince to the Shaolin monks and the creation of kung fu.
  • 1156 – Bushido warrior codes come into play, and the Samurai class is born.
  • 1372 – China begins trading with the Ryukyu Islands, and fighting systems, as well as goods, are among the trades.
  • 1470 – The Shimazu clan invade Okinawa and place a ban on owning weapons. This ban popularizes unarmed combat techniques, with practice taking place under cover of darkness.
  • Circa 1800 – Teacher of Master Itosu and Asato, Matsumura Sokon is born.
  • 1868 – The birth of Gichin Funakoshi (we will start with him)

Gichin Funakoshi

Father of Modern Karate

Funakoshi Gichin was born on Nov 10, 1868 in Yamakawa, Shuri, Okinawa Prefecture. He was of samurai lineage, from a family which in former times had been vassals of Ryukyu Dynasty nobles.

By age 11 he had already made a name for himself in Ryukyu-style martial arts. Beginning his training under Master Azato Anko, it wasn’t long before he equaled his master in ability, and shared with him the distinction of being the “most accomplished” martial artist in the field. He also learned karate-jutsu (written with characters that mean “Chinese-hand martial art”) from Master Itosu Anko. Both his teachers were impressed by his nobility of character.

As over the years he pursued his training and continuously developed his remarkable skills, Master Funakoshi became chairman of the Okinawa Martial Arts Society, as well as an instructor at the Okinawa Teacher’s School. Then in 1922, when he was 54 years old, he introduced Okinawan karate-jutsu at the first Ministry of Education (now Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, and Culture)-sponsored Physical Education Exhibition. This introduction, the first ever public display of karate-jutsu in Japan, was a stunning success. The previously unknown martial artist Funakoshi Gichin rose to instant fame throughout the Japanese world of martial arts.

Immediately the founder of modern judo, Kano Jigoro, invited Master Funakoshi and his pupil Gima Shinkin to the Kodokan judo dojo to give a demonstration of kata. The highly-attended event filled the Kodokan dojo to capacity. It was so well-received that Master Funakoshi found himself pressed on all sides to stay in Tokyo.

Excited by the opportunity to further promote the martial art that he had done so much to introduce to Japan, Master Funakoshi subsequently began teaching it at Tokyo’s Meiseijuku, a dormitory for Okinawan students. In 1922, he published a book entitled “Ryukyu Kempo Karate.” It was the first formal exposition in Japan on the art of karate-jutsu. Not only were its contents fresh and novel, it was also beautifully written, and immediately created an unprecedented karate boom.

As the popularity of karate-jutsu began to spread, Master Funakoshi produced the first ever “Dan Ranking Certification” in April, 1924.

Around the same time, with the encouragement of his teacher of Buddhism, Abbot Furukawa Gyodo of Enkakuji Temple in Kamakura, Master Funakoshi started practicing Zen. He contemplated the well-known Buddhist teaching that says “form is emptiness and emptiness is form.” He began to see the relevance of that teaching to his martial art, and ultimately changed the characters for karate from kara + te (“Chinese” + “hand”) to kara + te (“empty” + “hand”).

In order to popularize the “local” Okinawan martial art in the rest of Japan, Master Funakoshi synthesized a complete system of techniques and theory, and changed the Chinese and Okinawan names of the kata into standard Japanese. In 1929, after much thought and reflection, he also changed the name of karate-jutsu (“Chinese-hand martial art”) to karate-do (“the way of karate,” or “the way of the empty hand”). He then defined the Twenty Precepts of Karate, and established a grand karate philosophy.

At last the way of karate had come into its own, and was gaining popularity all across Japan. The number of people wishing to begin training was growing daily—so much so that it became difficult to find a place to hold all those who wished to practice. So in 1939 Master Funakoshi established the “Shotokan” dojo, which he built at his own expense. (“Shoto” was the literary first name he used when doing calligraphy and writing poetry. “Shoto” means “Pine Waves,” and refers to the sound of wind blowing through the pines, which resembles the sound of ocean waves.)

By this time, Master Funakoshi had long been teaching karate to high-school and university students. As a result, karate clubs had sprung up at higher education institutions all over Japan—which is another reason why karate has become as respected as it is today.

In the air raids of World War II, the Shotokan dojo was destroyed, and the growth of karate came to a halt. But after the war, followers of Funakoshi’s way re-grouped, and in 1949 they formed the Japan Karate Association, with Funakoshi Gichin as Supreme Master.

On April 10, 1957, the Ministry of Education gave official recognition to the JKA, and it became a legal entity. A mere sixteen days later, at the age of 89, Master Funakoshi passed away. A large public memorial service was held at the Ryogoku Kokugikan (Ryogoku National Sumo Hall), attended by more than 20,000 people, including many famous names who came to pay their respects.

A memorial monument to Master Funakoshi was established at Enkakuji Temple in Kamakura. Members of the JKA pay an honorary visit on April 29th each year, the date of the Shoto Festival.

Gichin Funakoshi taught Hironori Otsuka

Hironori Otsuka

Wado Ryu Karate Fonder

Modern karate has its beginnings so far in the past that its earliest history is lost. What we do know is that the roots of Wado Ryu come from the martial arts traditions of China, Okinawa, and Japan. Those elements came together in the last century due to the efforts of a most amazing Japanese martial artist named Hironori Otsuka.

Master Hironori Otsuka was born June 1, 1892 in Shimodate City, Ibaragi (or Ibaraki) Prefecture, Japan, as the first son (second of four children) of Tokujiro (a doctor) and Sato, his real name was Kou (Hironori is the name that was used for the martial art). As a boy he listened to his mother’s uncle Chojiro Ebashi, a samurai and the official martial arts instructor of the Tsuchiura Clan, tell thrilling stories of samurai exploits. This may well have been where the first seeds were sown that would later be some of the guiding principles and philosophies of Wado Ryu Karate.


He was a sickly child of weak disposition, and it was decided that the practice of the martial arts would help to strengthen his constitution. In 1897, when he was five years old, Otsuka began to study Koryu Jujitsu under Ebashi. In 1905 Otsuka entered the Ibaragi Prefecture, Shimotsuma junior high school. It was at this time he started training at the dojo of Yokiyoshi Tatsusaburo Nakayama (1870-1933), who was a teacher in his junior high school, in the art of Shindo Yoshin Ryu Jujitsu. 

Whereas most schools at that time stressed throwing or grappling techniques, this school stressed atemi (striking and kicking techniques). His martial arts training continued even when, in 1911, he entered Waseda University to study business administration. It was during this period that he began studying Kenpo, while he continued his studies in Shindo Yoshin Ryu. When his father died in 1913 he was forced to quit school and return to Shimodate to work at Kawasaki Bank as a result of his mother’s increasing concern for his infatuation with the martial arts.

Eight years later, after much dedicated study, he overtook the mastership of Shindo Yoshin Ryu Jujitsu from Nakayama after being honored with the “Menkyo Kaiden” (Certificate of Full Proficiency) in that art, making him the Fourth Grand Master of Shindo Yoshin Ryu Jujitsu. This was on June 1, 1921, his 29th birthday, and was an outstanding accomplishment for a man so young.

Meanwhile a little before the beginning of the last century, karate jitsu began to be taught in public schools in Okinawa as a means of physical exercise for youth and as a way of preparing them for military conscription. Hirohito, while Crown Prince of Japan, saw a karate demonstration while on a visit to Okinawa and subsequently asked that someone come from Okinawa to demonstrate karatejitsu on mainland Japan. The Okinawans, wanting their art to be represented by a refined, gentlemanly person who was also an accomplished martial artist, chose Gichin Funakoshi to represent their art. Funakoshi was a Shurite stylist and was accomplished in poetry and calligraphy.

A first visit by Funakoshi was not successful, as the demonstration was given primarily to representatives of samurai families who were not much interested in an empty-handed art but a later demonstration in May of 1922 at the first public sports festival in Tokyo caused a great deal of interest in karate. Otsuka heard of this visit and journeyed to Tokyo to witness the demonstration and afterwards met with Gichin Funakoshi at the Meisei Juku (a residence for Okinawan students) where he was staying at the time, and they spent many hours discussing ideas about the martial arts. 

Funakoshi was asked to stay and teach his art, and in September, agreed to accept Otsuka as a student of his karate.

Otsuka immediately saw the advantages of combining the karate of Funakoshi, especially the kata, with the techniques and principles of Shinto Yoshin Ryu Jujitsu. Because of his martial arts skill, he was able to grasp the principles of karate very quickly, it took him only one year to learn the 15 katas that Funakoshi brought with him from Okinawa. 

By 1924 Otsuka had become his chief assistant instructor, which raised more than a few eyebrows, particularly among Funakoshi’s Okinawan students and on April 24th of that year Otsuka became one of the first seven men to receive the rank of ShoDan (black belt) in karate. He soon introduced the concept of yakusoku kata (pre-arranged fighting techniques), which was warmly accepted by Funakoshi. 

In 1925 Ohtsuka's mother died and he was left in a period of indecision about his career. After three years of deep philosophical thought, he left the Kawasaki Bank and set up a "bone setting" practice, similar to a small hospital. His prowess in the Martial Arts had led him to be the Chief Instructor of Shindo Yoshin Ryu Jujitsu and an assistant instructor at Funakoshi Sensei's dojo. 

By the year 1929 Ohtsuka was a registered member of the Japan Martial Arts Federation. At this time Okinawan Karate only concentrated upon Kata, Ohtsuka thought that the full spirit of Budo, which concentrates both upon defence and attack, was missing. Ohtsuka Sensei meanwhile had been developing Yakusoko Kumite to compensate for the lack of attacking techniques. He thought there was a need for a more fluid type of Karate and decided to leave Funakoshi Sensei to concentrate on developing his own style of Karate, "Wado".

The year of 1934 proved to be a major year for Ohtsuka and "Wado" Karate. On February 28th Ohtsuka the 2nd was born. It is uncanny that during this year Wado-Ryu Karate was also "born" and officially recognised to be an independent style. This recognition meant a departure for Ohtsuka from his hospital and a fulfillment of his life's ambition, to become a full time Martial Artist. 

In 1935 Karate received a further promotion upon Kano Sensei's recommendation to be accepted as a Martial Art, but at first only as an extension of Judo by the Japan Martial Arts Federation.

Ohtsuka Sensei's personalised style of Karate was officially registered in 1938 after he was awarded the rank of "Renshi-go". He presented a magnificent demonstration of "Wado" Karate for the Japan Martial Arts Federation who were impressed with his style and commitment and successfully acknowledged him as a high ranking instructor. The next year the Japan Martial Arts Federation asked all the different styles of Karate to register their names. Ohtsuka registered the name of "Wado-Ryu". Other styles to register included Shotokan Ryu, Goju Ryu and Shito-Ryu. 

The next few years witnessed Wado Ryu karate growing from strength to strength, new dojos were opening and karate was being taught at the Universities. Ohtsuka himself was becoming a recognised figure within the World of Martial Arts. 

In 1942 he was awarded the title of Kyoshi-go. During that year a future great master Tatsuo Suzuki began training in Wado-Ryu Karate. In 1943 Ohtsuka the 2nd began his pursuits in the field of the Martial Arts. He began Kendo under the strict instruction of an army officer called Miyata Sensei. In 1944 Ohtsuka Sensei was appointed Japans Chief Karate instructor and in 1945 Ohtsuka the 2nd began to receive expert instruction from his father. In 1947 Teruo Kono began Karate but did not start training with Ohtsuka Sensei until 1951 and in 1955 the first all Japan Wado-Ryu Karate championships were held.

Until the 1960s Martial Arts and especially Wado-Ryu karate remained upon the small islands of Japan. It was hardly recognised outside of the East. This was soon to change. In 1963 a three-man team left Japan to conquer America and Europe. 

The team was composed of Mr. Arakawa, Mr Takashima and Mr. T. Suzuki. The impressions they left upon America and Europe were tremendous, Wado-Ryu Karate became recognised worldwide for its true merits. Back in Japan in 1966 Ohtsuka Sensei was awarded the title "Kun Goto Suokuo Kyoku jujitsu Shou" by the late Emperor Horohito. It was presented by the Emperor for his dedication to the introduction and teaching of karate. By the early 1970s karate had become truly established worldwide. Ohtsuka continued to train and instruct in Japan, whilst a team of highly qualified Japanese Sensei's continued to spread the doctrines of Wado-Ryu Karate worldwide.

Ohtsuka Sensei in 1972 was historically awarded with an honor never before bestowed upon any Karate master, the president of the International Martial Arts Federation, a member of the Japanese royal family, presented Ohtsuka with the title of "Meijin" - the first excellent Marital Artist in Karate (10th Dan) it was the greatest title possible and bestowed upon him.

In 1980 Ohtsuka Meijin began to think about retirement as the head of Wado Karate and wanted his son to succeed him as Grand Master. However other high level Wado Karateka were not in favor of this and wished for a different leader to be appointed. Although many negotiations took place no agreement could be reached and some of these Wado Karateka broke away and formed their own association.

Ohtsuka Meijin continued to lead the World of Wado-Ryu Karate until the 20th November 1981, when he finally decided to abdicate his possession as Grand Master of Wado-Ryu Karate and nominated his son Hironori Ohtsuka 2nd as his successor. 

Hironori Ohtsuka Meijin peacefully passed away on 19th January 1982, two months later. 

Throughout the entire world where Marital Arts are practiced he will always be remembered for his enormous contribution and individual devotion to Wado Karate.

Hironori Otsuka has a son called Jiro (Hironori Ohtsuka)


Jiro (Master Hironori Ohtsuka, Jr.)

Son of Hironori Otsuka

Ohtsuka Sensei was born on February 24, 1934 in Tokyo, Japan.  He graduated from Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan, receiving a degree in Economics.   

Sensei began his training in Wado-Ryu karate at the age of fifteen (15) years.  He has trained in Iai-do, Ken-do, Judo, Aiki-do and Wado Shindo Yoshin Ryu Jujitsu Kenpo.  

In 1983, Ohtsuka Sensei, upon the death of his father Hironori Otsuka, creator and grand master of Wado-Ryu, succeeded to the head master and President of the International Wado-Ryu Karate-Do organisation. 

Jiro taught Toru Takamizawa

Toru Takamizawa

Bringing Wado to the UK

Toru Takamizawa helped bring Wado Ryu Karate from Japen to the UK!

He was born to a family of samurai lineage in 1942 in the city of Nagano Japan. He was the youngest of seven children, having three brothers and three sisters.

Takamizawa began practising Judo when he was fifteen years old. One of his older brothers had encouraged him to start training. He had wanted to study Karate, but could not find a suitable dojo. Also at the time, people had funny ideas about Karate. Some thought that this relatively new martial art was violent and more suited to thugs.

For the next couple of years, Takamizawa progressed through his Judo training, eventually being awarded his black belt. At the age of eighteen, he stopped training, to concentrate on his studies to enter university. He eventually won a place at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, where he majored in Russian Culture and English Language.

It was during this time that Takamizawa saw a Karate demonstration given at the university. It rekindled his interest in the martial art. He joined the university’s Wado-ryu Karate club, training under Jiro Otsuka, son of Wado-ryu founder Hironori Otsuka. He found that he was well suited to Karate. Fitting his practice around his studies he would train for around fifteen hours a week. He gained his 1st Dan after only nineteen months. Eighteen months later he had earned his 2nd Dan. Despite his natural talent for Karate his family were disgusted with him taking the foreign Okinawan art of Karate.

After graduating from university, Takamizawa decided to travel to England to further his English studies. Initially arriving in London March of 1966, he stayed in the city for around five months. He then moved to Wales, intending to join Swansea University.

In January 1965 one of Hironori Ohtsuka’s top students, Tatsuo Suzuki, moved to London aiming to spread Wado-ryu outside of Japan. At his London dojo, he was assisted by the talented Masafumi Shiomistu, Hisaomi Fujii and Myoshin Hayakawa. Takamizawa started training with the Japanese instructors regularly. He admitted that after training with these top instructors for only seven months, his Karate had vastly improved. Rather than pursuing his academic studies he decided to become a fulltime Karate instructor and returned to London.

Initially, there was a lack of teaching opportunities for Takamizawa in London. By 1969 he did manage to teach classes in Birmingham twice a week. His classes were held at the Digbeth Civic Hall. This meant commuting from London several times a week. Eventually, he settled in Birmingham.

By 1970 Takamizawa had helped establish Karate at the Temple Club. The Temple Karate Club was one of the most successful clubs of the 1970s. The club was founded in 1964, initially as a bodybuilding gym by Mike Haig. Haig was at a Judo event when he saw a Karate demonstration by Wado-ryu master, Tatsuo Suzuki. He was so impressed that he invited Suzuki to teach Wado-ryu Karate at the Temple Club. Takamizawa would eventually become the resident instructor. 

By 1975 Takamizawa had been living and working in the United Kingdom for almost ten years. He had met and eventually married his wife Tracey. Britain had now become his home, so he applied for and was granted British Citizenship.

Having helped make the Temple Karate Club a force in British Karate, Takamizawa formed the Tera Karate Kai organization in 1978, breaking away from the other Japanese Wado-ryu instructors. The organization started with fifteen clubs. Several years later membership of the organization had risen to over fifty clubs.

For the next couple of years, Takamizawa continued to establish his brand of Wado-ryu Karate. In 1986, together with martial artist and author, Steve Rowe, he wrote the book ‘Concepts of Karate’. An intelligent and technical karateka, the book features many of the insights on Karate that his students had come to know and love. In later years he realigned himself with Jiro Ohtsuka, his original instructor.


In 1998 the World of British Wado-ryu was shocked by the death of Toru Takamizawa from throat cancer aged only fifty-seven years old. He was survived by his wife Tracey and their four children.

An open-minded and forward-thinking instructor, Takamizawa’s quiet and intelligent teaching style helped bring the best out of his students. Ex-students would state that he held no animosity to them leaving and would always be available to offer them advice. His fluid, precise and powerful techniques were always an inspiration to his students.

Turu Takamizawa taught Clayton Murrain


Clayton Murrain

Brings "sport" in Wado Ryu Karate

Clayton Murrain started Karate in 1969 at the Temple Karate Centre in Birmingham with his friend Clive Henry. They joined the Temple as it was one of the largest clubs in Birmingham at the time.

It started with Clayton training at Digbeth Civic Hall (another venue for the Temple) on a Sunday morning for 2 Hours with Ken Dicks. His instructors at The Temple Karate were Toru Takamizawa, Sakagami, Ken Dicks and John Hopkins.

Clayton began to compete when he reached Green Belt. He won numerous individual and team Championships with the Temple.

The Temple Karate were one of the most successful Karate Teams of the 1970's and during this

Golden Era of Karate the team consisted of Clayton Murrain, Eddie Cox, Fred Rose, Eugene

Codrington, Joe Kissane, Josh Johnson and Al Knight. Still to this day the Temple is held in high regard by all those who are in the know about Karate, especially those who practice Wado-ryu Style Karate.

Clayton started teaching Karate in The Temple about 1975 and he has been teaching Karate for 38 Years. He went into teaching Karate after retiring from a successful career in fighting and decided to go into coaching to pass on his knowledge, collected as a member of the Temple Karate Club. On retirement Clayton took over the management and running of Temple Karate Squad which was very successful featuring many World Champions and European Champions in Semi-contact and Kickboxing.

Clayton has been very successful at producing many National and International Champions in Traditional Wado-ryu, Sport Karate and Kickboxing.

In 1980 Clayton decided to create the new association.

Clayton Murrain taught Stephen Thompson

Your Instructor - Stephen Thompson

7th Dan Black Belt (Kyoshi)

Chief Master Stephen Thompson is an educator, author, businessman, owner and the driving force behind National Black Belt Schools. With the help of his wife Karen and good friend Master Everton Smith, they have  helped the lives of literally thousands of people.

SO HOW DID ALL THIS START?

Master T started training back in 1979 at 10 years old.  Back then he was the youngest member of the school.  Martial Arts in the seventies had not really been taught to children in the UK.  By the age of 15 he was the youngest person to ever achieve the rank of Black Belt in the UK, and was named student of the year in an organisation with over 2000 students in.

COMPETITION

He loved competing, and won many National tournaments.  In 1988 he started his own martial art club called Buki, and has been teaching ever since.  His first major total was when he was selected to fight in the British Kickboxing Championships being held in London.  He went on to win that competition.  With this victory, he was selected to fight for England in Madrid to fight in the Kickboxing European Championships.  At the end of the three day event, he was the new European Champion, beating the current World Champion in the final!

FULL TIME MARTIAL ART CENTRES

He opened the first full time martial arts centre in Gloucester back in 1992.  Full time centres were common place in the USA, but in the UK, very few existed.  Even though Master T was trained as a carpenter, he new that he wanted to be a martial arts instructor. So the first martial arts full time centre was born, called Gloucester Martial Arts Centre.  From this day, Master T has always owned full time martial art centres.

WORLD CHAMPION

In 1992 he travelled to Italy to compete in the World Karate Championships.  He won THREE Gold medals.  His weight class, an open weight class and was team captain in the team fighting event.  

He went on to win World Karate titles in 1994 (Argentina), 1996 (Canada) and 1998 (USA).  He then retired from competing.

He has opened up full time martial art centres in Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and Worcester.  For many years he managed martial art full time centres.  His instructors then purchased the schools, and Master T formed his own school called Kicx.

He runs his own private martial arts studio in a purpose built centre at his home in Churchdown, Gloucester.  This site is over 3 acres, and was a dream of his many years ago.  He consults other martial art schools around the country and has formed an organisation called National Black Belt Schools.  His dream is to have over 10,000 students training in the NBBS.  A goal that he is driving toward.

Now a Seventh Degree Master Black Belt in Wado Ryu Karate and Kickboxing, Master Thompson is an innovator of martial arts teaching, competition and Personal Development.  His life skills programme Character 1st is a combination of over 30 years teaching martial arts, and helping parents bring out the best in their children.

His upbeat, dynamic powerhouse style of teaching is the reason why Kicx, and National Black Belt Schools goes from strength to strength.

He now only teaches small classes, using his classes as a platform for teaching on line around the world.  If you are lucky enough to have a space in his private school, GRAB IT!!!

Training at home

Original "Online" training

I loved training in the martial arts.  Attending Longlevens Karate Club under the instructor Chris Rudge.  At the time the school was under an organisation called "Tera". 

Then in 1980 Chris left Tera with his instructor, Clayton Murrain.

Amateur Martial Arts Association

Here is my 2nd licence that I got being part of the AMAA.  This organisation was headed by Clayton Murrain when he left the Tera group headed by Turu Takamizawa

1982 - Student of the year

I loved tournaments!!

I started competing very soon after I started Karate.  I remember attending my first tournament, I was so confident.  In my martial arts school there was only one other boy at the time, and I always beat him easy.  I had a shock coming, LOL

I can still remember it, no nerves, just could not wait to get on the mat and perform.  You guessed it, I got beat!!!  I could not believe it, I was so upset, crying like a baby!  It taught me a very important lesson, just because you was the "best" in your club, did not mean you was the best at the tournament.

Anyway, I got over this defeat, LOL.  The next tournament I won, and from there on, I was one of the ones to beat.

I was awarded student of the year in 82, I had no idea I was going to get this.  I travelled down to Birmingham with my father and friends.  When my name was called out, I could not believe it.  When I got back, we told the local paper and it was the first time I was in there.  I was a celebrity at school for a while.

1st Dan Black Belt

What a GREAT day!

At 15, I was the youngest person in the test.  The examiners were Clayton Murrain, Ivan Riley and Patrick Salisbury.  The day went well, one thing I remember about the day was when it was the time to do bag work rounds, it just seemed to go on and on.  After the grading I was told that they were impressed with the bag work I was doing and wanted to just keep watching.  Why was my bag work great? I can thank my father for that.  

Walter George Thompson "Terry"

My Mum and Dad

My Hero's!

I realise that I was so lucky to have a family that I was born into.  I have one brother in Jamica, whose name is Hugo, and three wonderful sisters who live in Gloucester.  Joan, Lynda and my younger sister Paula.  My mum is truly an angel, and would do anything for her kids.  Even to this day, her words of wisdom are always listened to by us.  

We grew up with mum and dad teaching us principles, and what they would call, "good old fashioned values".  Is this to say I have done everything perfect in my life, no way.  To learn from my mistakes though is a huge lesson that they have taught me.  Mistakes will always be made, learn from them, and move on!

Growing up in the Thompson household may have seemed tough, as there were rules, strict rules. We had to be in before all the other kids, we were not allowed to simply hang around the streets.  Bed time, was bed time.  No adjustments.  My only exception, was my Karate nights.  Karate did not finish until 9:30pm, and then the person that gave me a lift always went in the community centre pub for a drink after training.  WOW!!  I did not get home until sometime's 10:30, GREAT TIMES, LOL.

My dad came over to the UK from Jamica to become a professional boxer.  He had total belief in himself, and wanted to go all the way.  Unfortunately the titles eluded him, but he loved his boxing training and matches.  He would also take on all comers at the fair in the boxing booth.  I was not born in these times, but the stories my dad would share with me were brilliant. 

The BULLY!!

I loved my dads stories, one that come to mind straight away was when he was boxing in Jamica.  He was from Spanish Town, and was getting a bit of a reputation in the town for being good at boxing.  One day a big man "bully" came into the gym and said "where is this man called George that thinks he is all hard".  Dad at the time was in the ring with someone.  This man got into the ring, and took the gloves off dads opponent and was ready to fight.  

(By this time, when my dad was telling us this story, my dad would have been laughing hysterically, and it was hard for him to get the rest of the story out. I miss these stories so much)

Dads trainer was only a short man, and he whispered into dad's ear, "Be careful George", and got out of the ring, leaving dad and this massive man in front of him.

Dad said that he was scarred, but he could not show it.  My dads favourite punch was his left hook.  As the "bully" came in dad was able to easily throw one left hook, on target and down he went!  But it was not over, he got back up, and dad thought to himself, wow, he was really going to get it now from this bully.  Once again, the bully came in, and once again dads left hook connected and dropped the bully.  This time it was a GREAT connection and he did not jump up as before.  With this, dads trainer jumped in the ring and hosted dad up as the winner.  WOW.  What a moment.  Dad would not say it was because he was brave, or that he was not scared, because he was.  The advice he gave, if you are trained, and you do what you are taught, the bully does not have a chance.

This was just one of many of my dad stories.  Even though he would have liked me to eventually do boxing, he did not want me to do it at a young age.  So this is why I started Karate, and this was my passion.  Dad always helped me with my training, this was the reason why my pad work was good.  Also, he taught me timing, reflexes and footwork.  Without those skills, I know I would have not accomplished what I did in the Martial Arts. 

A HUGE thank you to my mum and dad, I can never pay back the gift of Love they gave me.  We lost my dad a few years ago to the big "C", he was taken much to young. He is always with us though, and his words of wisdom I share with my kids, and my students.

 

Crystal Palace

This was my first big win.  It was a difficult time, as I was going from a junior, being successful in tournaments.  Then, as soon as I was 16, you were in the adult sections.  So I was having to fight men, that were Black Belts (as I was a Black Belt), that had been fighting for years.  I found it, well, a shock.  These punches were hurting, lol.  

Because this tournament was a big one, it had many different categories.  It had a "cadet" section, so I found it easy.

I came away from that with a great feeling, not so much because I had won, but because I realised I could still fight ok.  I just needed a little more time to "toughen up".

More to Fllow

This page is a work in progress. I will constantly be updated, so make sure to check back soon.