This is my martial arts page, you are never to old.....
In the early 1960s few people had heard of karate, what people thought they knew was mainly nonsense based on the character ‘Odd Job’ in the James Bond film ‘Goldfinger’.
About 1964 a club started in Bloxwich near to where I live and straight away I joined. It was called the Spartan School of Karate and was run by a Jack Clarkson along with a Peter Cross, unfortunately they are both now dead.
I trained for about 2 years and then left as I was not very happy with the way the club was being run.
The picture on the left was my "Heian Nidan" kata, taken about 1965 age about 20 at that time. Note the girlfriends A40 Farina in the background. I am wearing a judo suit as I couldn't even get a proper karate suit.
Nice low stance but the spear hand is wrong and left elbow too low. I was trying to learn katas from a book which I still have complete with my own pencil notations way back from the 60s.
About 18 months later I met an old friend from the Spartan who told me that everyone who had left was over at Wolverhampton Shotokan situate in Hilton Road just off the Birmingham New Road. I went over and found Arthur Wickson now a 1st Dan was running the club. He was an old friend from the Spartan who had left early on.
(2021 Flashback, No he was 1st kyu, then he got 1st dan, black belt)
In those days things could get a bit rough, in 1968 and 1969 I attended the Crystal Palace championships where there where a fleet of ambulances acting as a taxi service taking people to hospital, no paramedics in those days.
I trained until about 1969 and then for some reason went back to the Spartan which had moved. Again I became disillusioned and left.
As I was building up a business I was short on time and didn’t train again until about 1976 when I went back to Hilton Road. Now Mick Wragg was running it along with an ex boxer Harry “H” Halford.
H was a very likeable bloke who although only a 1st Dan was good instructor who had a lot of patience with people. “H” had a crooked nose because he never covered his face and had it broke that many times.
I also trained with Andy Sherry who visited the club to instruct on several occasions. Also a tall chap (Neil?) and a shorter fellow with long hair who’s name escapes me.
I also trained with Sensei Takahashi.
2020 flashback. Originally I had spelt "Takahashi" as "Takashi" who is a different person teaching a different style. I also trained with Sensei Enoeda. I am also getting more flashbacks as stuff comes back into my mind from way back. I learned a lot of little nuances of technique from these Japanese instructors. I can now remember Sensei Takahashi at a Mormon hall. We had a chap in our club Roy Satterswaite or Sattersthwaite who was a Mormon who arranged this. I had a sort of 'thing' against belt grading so remained a white belt and Sensei Takahashi questioned me on this.
The club was like a family but it all came to an end in 1979 when Mick finished with karate for personal reasons. I was going to look for another club but never got round to it. This was the end of karate for me until Christmas 2011.
A lot of time has gone by, and Roy has had a lot of adventures, but in 2010 became quite poorly. I got better and took up my usual activities, but unfortunately with increasing problems with my legs. They had been a nuisance for some time, aching pains in the knees after a lot of walking and also difficulty getting them up such as required to climb over a stile. Staying with a friend over Christmas they were giving me a lot of gyp after some walking in the day. I tried exercising them into the pain, and to my surprise afterwards there was no more pain.
This got me thinking. Lying on my bed at home deep in thought about it all I realised that I would have to start a daily regime of exercise. The only exercises that I was familiar with relate to the karate training of years ago, and this started me thinking about karate. We all take a lot of things for granted in life, one of them is getting older and the inevitable fact that we cant do the things that we did when we were younger.
But does it have to be that way?
I figured my core fitness must be quite good due to all the mine exploring and walking. Suddenly a sort of flash went through my brain, and in less than a second my whole attitude to life changed, never to be reversed. I don't understand this, I have no idea what happened, but suddenly I was obsessed with karate. Yes I was going to do it again, come what may.
I immediately started a twice daily regime of exercise and training which includes training on a makiwara, a sort of padded punching post. After a couple of months of this most of my kicks were back on line and I had quite a hard fist. My body was getting looser and more lean and fitter. I stopped drinking alcohol, blood pressure down about 15 points and Supermarket bill down about 25. Easter 2012 and I was up at a training centre in the north Pennines, half my time walking and mine exploring, other half training, much to the annoyance of the others. Now that I was getting back up to speed, time to look for a club to join, I found a really good one quite close to where I live.
It’s the Pegasus Wingfoot Shotokan Karate Club at Cheslyn Hay.
The club is affiliated to the Karate Union of Great Britain, in my opinion the best shotokan association as its run by all the old fighters such as Andy Sherry, Terry O’Neil, Frank Brennan etc
I can tell you that karate has changed a lot since the 1970s, so many children and hardly a white belt in sight.
At Hilton Rd there wasn’t any kids and the training was hard, but although I say it myself we were good and most of the people there would be able to take care of themselves on the street. The instruction at the PWSKC is absolutely first class and one of my sensei (instructors) knows me from the old days, so there are still a few of the old fighters around. Since I started training again, a lot of my thinking has changed, the kids are OK, some of them very good, and they will soon grow into the skills that they have developed.
Karate is often called “karate do”, “do” meaning “way”, a path that is to be followed. One persons path will be different to another’s, worse thing in life and indeed in karate is to attempt to emulate another person. We each have to find our own “way”
To me karate will never be a ‘sport’, it is a martial art, and it is also a ‘way’ of life.
I have just rewritten some this, December 2013.
Well it looks as though at my age I am on the adventure of a lifetime with all this. I have therefore decided to add to this page as time goes by. I wonder where it will all lead to?
Well here I am 12 months on. I would not want to go back to where I was. Leaner and fitter still and just started aikido training at the Dragonfly Aikikai Aikido Ryu which is part of a group of Staffs based clubs Seijitsu Aikido Ryu.
I have been doing a lot of thinking and come to the conclusion that aikido is a logical 'partner' for my karate, remember the Spartan? Well Peter Cross had a blue belt in aikido and this influenced the fighting style taught at the club.
A bit further down the pike now and the spirit of aikido is influencing my thinking greatly. I feel as though I am in a dark cellar and I know that there is something there that I want but I am reaching out blindly and cannot find it. Apart from that all is going fine, I can now do forward rolls on a hard floor, and 69 in January!
I just have to keep going.
Well I have just taken my first grading in aikido, here I am being presented with my grading certificate by Shihan Terry Bayliss.
As its the festive season, here is something especially nice you can download and then if you wish print out and frame. Maybe it will help someone understand what its really all about
The 25th and I am being tested for brown belt in shotokan karate, but Oh Dear. An injured left hand from some bad blocking in freestyle a fortnight before and on the previous Tuesday I went down with flu. I took a long country walk on the Sunday for some fresh air. It was Lathkill Dale in Derbyshire and the weather was dry for a change. Dosed up with Beachams Powders and cough syrups I managed the mock grading on the Monday and took the proper one the following evening.
The dedication of a true belt chaser.
Above: Karate Union of Great Britain Sensei Bob Poynton 8th Dan presents me with my new belt.
I do have to say that I am very proud of club, the standard of karate is very high, and it shows. We have our own Emma Lloyd in the England Squad and Wayne Roberts (originally from Llangollen) in the Welsh Squad.
I get my orange belt in aikido. Aikido is a fascinating art and I continue to be drawn in.
I get brown and white in karate (2nd Kyu), I don't know how, but I did.
I get brown and two white stripes in karate, 1st kyu. So now its training for black. When this will be totally escapes me!
January 9th 2015
70 today and still at it, trained all four nights this week, 2 karate, 2 aikido, after a months absence due to knee problems and the holiday. No problems.
Well three months of problems, reoccurring flu and knee problems back. Karate training is on and off, concentrating on trying for my next aikido belt but even that is iffy.
Knee problems are persisting, back at karate but just doing what I can. The club are a nice crowd and work in with me. Aikido is OK but dropped out of June grading. I seem to have no sense of direction at the moment, am in a sort of limbo land.
Well the knees seem to be getting better, actually its all my own fault, too much daily exercise, you don't want to know!
Picking up on my karate and just attended the Seijitsu Aikido Ryu summer school at Belgrave Tamworth. Very interesting weekend, we had guest sensei's which on Sunday was an experienced nightclub doorman who explained and demonstrated the behaviour patterns and body language which indicate trouble brewing. This man has seen a lot of aggro! It was an education all in itself.
I bet it was a new experience for him to have a group of people in martial arts gi line up and bow to him!
Knee problems gone but a reoccurring flu type bug makes me feel ill and as though I am falling over. Went for my aikido green belt a few weeks ago and had to sit the session out, 2nd attempt and again no good due to feeling ill. Had to leave the floor at karate a couple of weeks ago and come home. I am going to have to give it a rest for while and just do a bit at home until I can sort myself out. 71 in January as well, but I will never give up!
I have been reading some books by old masters of martial arts such as Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris, and I find myself becoming more and more oriented towards Zen, there is a lot of wisdom in it.
Getting towards month end and third week back at aikido, also did a full karate session on Tuesday but took it slow with a partner as I don't yet trust my head. Thursday poorly again and hoping things improve by next week. Fingers crossed. Was 71 last month, well, so what!
Well, a lot of my problems seem to be going, chest and head bug or whatever it was now gone and knee problems I have had all year now diminishing.
Seijitsu Aikido Ryu summer school was weekend of 10th and 11th and one of the best weekends I have ever had. Its is now tradition for two guest instructors from a different martial art to take a Saturday and Sunday session.
This year I had arranged for my karate sensei Chris Dewsbury to take a session on Saturday morning, I was frankly anxious about myself and the knee issues as well as karate would go down with the aikido school. As things turned out it was an incredible success on both counts.
Sensei Chris was at his best, starting at basics he took the class up through basic sparring to a demonstration of the Sochin kata.
Shotokan Sensei Chris Dewsbury of the Pegasus Wingfoot Shotokan Karate Club, a karateka of well over 30 years experience (look at the belt) learns how to handle the aikido jo staff for the first time, and did well at it!
Shotokan 2nd Dan James Turner turns his hand to aikido
Below: Ready to receive an attack. Foreground, Aikido First Dan John Fish in the black hakema.
Below, ready and relaxed.
Well after the September triumphs I have been back into another dose of flu all through November, but managed the Seijitsu autumn course regardless of the infamous right leg playing up.
Also hoping to get some karate in before the new year.
Very highly honoured to be awarded a diploma of honour by the Seijitsu Aikido Ryu, they are very nice people and I am highly flattered by this.
Here I am being presented with my diploma by Shihan Terry Bayliss.
There is much to be learned from aikido. I am currently experimenting with aikido footwork, body movement, and parrying techniques for use in freestyle karate.
Watch this space.
The last time I trained at karate was back in January due to the damned knee problems. I have got rid of the other issues though and am feeling very good. Concentrating on aikido, one has to learn to duck and dive with life and play the hand you are dealt. Anyway, just renewing my Karate Union of Great Britain in anticipation of getting back to it.
Eventually get my green belt in aikido, still feeling good but the knee is still keeping me from karate.
This was the fourth attempt, I have been on an orange belt for 2 years. Each time I was due to upgrade I would have some problem or other, anyway now its done.
I think I look better than the Christmas photo, it shows. I don't know what it was I had but there was a lot of it about.
I am back at karate after an absence, been going a few weeks and starting to roll out some new techniques based on aikido footwork and body movement, plus a technique of my own version of an (aikido) irimi suri agi. How many people actually enter an opponents attack on the dead side in karate?. Its always back or sideways to parry or block, yes?
Use mawashi empi, if mai is longer, go to a tetsui or uraken.
What a terrible winter what with the weather and all the flu that was about. I was down with it all the New Year up until the halfway through March. I was out of everything. My problems seen to revolve around being very susceptible to whatever flu's are going around and the of course the blasted knees. Anyway, now back at karate and aikido and although still having knee trouble feel optimistic. The karate black belt looks as far away as ever with the knees, but as Donald Trump would say, "We shall see, we shall see".
I may have a cure for the knee problem, touch wood, seem to be doing OK. I am developing a fighting style based on taking body movement and footwork from aikido as I mentioned before and developing it into a fighting style of its own. Young people are very fast on their feet, getting older slows one down, but the trick is to adapt. I have some definite ideas which I want to develop. There will be more on this.
Still doing OK, bar periodic returns of what I call a 'flu head' which stops the odd night. Seem to have a bit of a flare for aikido weapons, boken and jo staff.. 74 in January, so what.
Dec 8th.. carrying stuff from the car tripped and went sprawling onto concrete. Could not roll or breakfall with hands full. Took a right old bang on my left hand side, hurt like hell but now, following Tuesday, getting better. Give karate a miss tonight.. not worth the risk.
But lesson. With all the training, I am in truth getting a very hard old body, its been commented on. If I hadn't gone back to karate where would I be now after that fall?
Its all in our karma.
I was 74 on the 9th and trained all four nights, problems seem to be going and looking forward to a good year.
Still at it, but off for a couple of weeks with minor injuries. its the heat of the kitchen.
I am currently developing my own 'style' of karate, basically could be called a 'substyle' of Shotokan. See my post of August last year. I will be starting a separate page all on this. A lot of my ideas come from weapons, the Samurai Sword arts and arts of the 'Jo' or 'Bo' as in Bojutsu, a fighting art of the wooden staff. The aikido we practice in the SAR includes weapons and I take a lot of my ideas from this. I now think that a lot of karate was derived from weapons.
Aikido can learn much from karate, and karate can learn much from aikido.
Anyway, we recently had a grading at the karate club. A lot of newer students are catching me up because with the issues I have been having I have not gone for my black belt. If things improve I will sort this next year. Anyway, behind the table is a wall mirror, the photographer at the back far left is me. Left to right at the table, our sensei Chris Dewsbury on crutches after a recent ankle operation, centre is karate Union of Great Britain grading sensei Bob Poynton, right is our own sensei Keith Robinson.
Pegasus Wingfooot is a fantastic little club with a great atmosphere. The best I have ever trained with.
January 9th 2020 - My wonderful 75th birthday.
I have had a lot of good wishes from both my mining friends and my friends at the martial arts clubs. The evening saw me on the training floor at the karate club. To be training on a karate floor on my 75th birthday is a feeling I cannot describe. 10 years ago was the worst year of my life due to illness and if anyone had told me I would be doing this at 75 I would have told them they mad. The evening before I was at the Dragonfly aikido. I have been having more knee trouble and missing karate since mid October, I hope now to be back at my 4 nights a week routine, 2 karate, 2 aikido.
Below, Pegasus Wingfoot Shotokan Karate Club.
On the right Sensei Chris Dewsbury and Sensei Keith Robinson.
Below: A gift and card from the karate club, right card from Dragonfly aikido.
It is with great sadness that I have to report the death of Karate Union of Great Britain Sensei Bob Poynton, shown here on many of my above photos. He was a lovely, kindly man.
With the Virus emergency the clubs have closed, but I am into a training routine at home. The knee, which was the other one, not the one I had trouble with for years, is now almost mended. My daily routine includes two sessions of exercise including the splits, and at my age I am now about 8 inches from the floor. If I mange to get right down I will upload a photo. I am also developing some good kicking techniques. Most spectacular is possibly my right side Mikazuki Geri, (crescent kick) followed by a spinning hook kick with the same leg. My right foot comes straight up off the floor in an arc to an opponents head, then I do an anticlockwise body spin and go into an opponents head on the other side.
My punching and blocking is quite good, all you see are blurs and hear the bones cracking, but its my lower half that needs the work. At my age I will never be as fast on my feet now as a young fighter, but am developing other ways using longer flowing movements. mainly from aikido.
My primary weapon though is still my right fist, I was striking brick walls back in the 1970s. I don't know what happens to the bone to get a hand like this, but my common sense tells me its deadly. Hope I never have to use it.
Its possibly difficult to understand, but martial arts are not about hurting people, there is nothing clever in hurting people. They are about not having to hurt people.
Well the karate club has started up again and did my first session for months on Wednesday last. Expected to be out of form, but not that bad. Its all non partnered techniques and kata, as expected. Also in trainers rather than bare feet. Aikido is a non starter, but I hope to see weapons classes starting at some time.
Always someone out there worse than you, so where will Judo be heading. Nowhere I would think.
A much more serious note is where will society be heading? At this point in time cases are on the rise again.
Well here we are on the 18th, "I'm dreaming of a non Christmas" - always keep your humour.
At home and no training, cases rising, outlook bad.
Well, I am learning new katas from YouTube and Sensei Kanazawa's book "Karate, The Complete kata". I have recently learned Basai Sho, Jiin, and quite along one Jion. The last I find the most difficult to try and get right. To me a kata should be solid. Have its pauses and slow movements, but the fast movements should be fast and powerful, just like Kanazawa on YouTube.
Karate will survive the pandemic and be stronger than ever, aikido I am not so sure. But I was doing it for 7 years, twice a week, (alongside karate when my knee would let me) and have learned quite a lot. I do miss the weekend Summer Schools at Belgrave, Tamworth, but life changes. Doors close and new ones open, that life.
Here I am again. Cases now in free fall, vaccinations rising, I was done a couple of weeks ago. Now I have katas : The 5 Heian, Tekki Shodan, Bassai Sho, Bassai Dai, Jiin, Jion, Jitte, Sochin, and Enpi - almost.
Been doing a lot of thinking and have some good new ideas.
Life seems to go in a circle, the books below were written by the Frenchman, HD Plee who instructed Vernon Bell. The one on the left was published in 1962, the other 1967.
This is from his first book
TO MOVE IN ON THE ATTACK
"To move in on the attack is the beginning and end in karate. It is the only way that can assure that an opponent is put out of action with the greatest certainty. It requires courage and technique but it is the surest way in real combat and the richest in mental benefits in training"
Back at my regular karate club and also a new club in Wolverhampton, the Zenith Aikido which is focused on weapons at this time due to covid restrictions. From their facebook page, we use wooden swords called "Boken", live blades would run us out of members!
More from the Zenith
As I will be taking some karate classes at the Zenith, I have 'resurrected' an old black belt from the distant past.
A bit about this. Belts earned at a private club not affiliated to any national association mean nothing outside of that club. belts gained on Internet courses such as run from USA based websites are worthless, you may as well give yourself one, they not recognised anywhere. There is also the consideration of what happens if a particular club which awarded your belt ceases!
I strongly recommend that martial arts students only grade at clubs affiliated to some universally recognised national association, such as the Karate Union of Great Britain, British Aikido Board etc.
Moving on, a bit of history.
When I first started karate back in 1964 it was very difficult to get kit. People would train in track suits, judo suits or even a karate gi made up by a local seamstress/ dressmaker. Belts would be handed down after a grading and often dyed darker colours as one progressed. Problem was this made then shrink!
I first trained in a room above the old CoOp in Bloxwich, near Walsall UK. Its the old building opposite the Cenotaph on the High Street.
The belt I wear below dates back to about 1970 and really has shrunk a bit due to being dyed. Nowadays people dont know when they are well off. We have instructors with 40 years of experience, best facilities, everything laid on.
Explained by an analogy. If I was to get a digger and dig a big wide massive hole in the ground, down to bedrock or whatever, and fill it with concrete, I could build anything I want on top of it. A house, a tower, block of flats, whatever. Think of the concrete as the foundation for ANY martial art.
All movement is either a line or a circle. If an opponents attack is in a line you get off it, if its a circle you get inside it - the eye of the storm where all is peace. I am trying to say something here, but sometimes words defy.
LEFT. Kenjutsu with Kieran Kennedy Sensei.
I am an old dog learning new tricks
17th October 2021
I successfully get a Black Belt in Shotokan karate with the Karate Union of Great Britain, I am about 3 months off 77.
My grading kata's were the usual Basai Dai, and Heian Nidan.
I went in with a group of 11, there were 3 passes inc me, bottom picture.
My 77th Birthday
I was acknowledged as an "inspiration to all" at the Zenith Aikido and presented with a lovely book "Karate -Do" which had been signed by everyone at the club. On my right Sensei Kevin Jones makes the presentation.
Some very skilled and highly respected martial artists in the photo. Sensei Kevin Jones, on my left my friend Phil, then Sensei Nick Ronin, and then Sensei John Fish. behind me is Martin Pugh, another old friend and a very skilled martial artist of many arts.
At the moment aikido is in a sort limbo. There was a huge growth on the back of the Steven Seagal films, but following his decline in popularity and the Covid pandemic, it has declined. Seagal did develop his own style, TenShin, this took a lot of movements from the sword arts and brought them into a new shorter and more direct style of aikido. I have taken these and brought them into karate in my own niche style.
October 2022 Zenith Aikido again
A small but close and friendly club based in Wolverhampton. here we practice the Tenshin style founded by Steven Seagal.
Classical aikido - knife attack kotegaeishi. 78 now but still at it.
THIS PAGE WILL BE PERIODICALLY UPDATED
The is more martial arts on my Other stuff page
|The Seven Virtues of Bushido|
· Rectitude (義, gi)
· Courage (勇, yū)
· Benevolence (仁, jin)
· Respect (礼, rei)
· Honesty (誠, makoto)
· Honour (名誉, meiyo)
· Loyalty (忠義, chūgi)