Sensei Gareth Edwards 6th Dan Shukokai, 16 Pool Lane, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, North Wales LL55 2AL
E-mail : dojo@Cofis.co.uk
Tel: 01286 676166
The history of Shukokai and its evolution
The Style of Shukokai Shukokai Karate, "The Way for All" is a dynamic form of Karate, which has evolved from careful analysis of the dynamics and principles of traditional karate. The lineage of Shukokai is such that it can be considered a direct descendant of it's parent style, Shito Ryu. Thus in order to fully appreciate the evolution of Shukokai Karate from the original Okinawan Te schools, it is a valid exercise to first explore the development of Shito-Ryu Karate.
The Evolution of Shito Ryu The formation of the Shito Ryu school of Karate is accredited to Soke Kenwa Mabuni (1890-1952). Mabuni, like many of the old karate masters, was descended from the Okinawan warrior class, or bushi. Mabuni family members had served Okinawan lords for hundreds of years.
Chojiro Tani Shito-Ryu Shukokai was founded after World War II by Sensei Tani who lived in Kobe City Japan. Sensei Tani sort to perfect his style by studying the mechanics of the human body and developed techniques which can be delivered with maximum efficiency. The theories behind Shukokai are somewhat complex and it takes a lifetime of study to truly understand the art. It is a system of combat which seeks perfection and therefore demands continuous study. Shukokai translates to "a way for all" which in essence means that it is a style that can be practiced by people of all ages.
Shigeru Kimura Sensei Kimura was born in Kobe on March 2, 1941. After having tried judo and kendo, at 16 he began learning karate with Sensei Chojiro Tani (1921 - January, 1998). At 21 he won the All Japan Championships. He repeated the win the following year.
Even though successful Kimura doubted the effectiveness of his karate, so he decided to try full contact fighting with other students. The punches were fast, but much less effective than he had expected, this frustrated him and he began his life long search for greatness.
Without the slightest knowledge of English Sensei Kimura left Japan in 1965 for Africa, he taught in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa. The first country where he was to stay longer and have a considerable influence on karate was South Africa. Wherever the Master was at work, successful schools with well-trained instructors were the result.
His search led him to Europe, where he then settled in England. Ultimately, his journey ended in the USA where, thanks to Sensei Kidachi - a renowned Judoka, he settled and opened his first Dojo. The dojo soon became too small and Sensei Kidachi was again at hand as they set about looking for a larger training establishment. The two masters remained close friends and visited one another often. The Shukokai Headquarters was set up in Hackensack New Jersey and would remain so for 18 years. Sensei Kimura was then 37 years old and one of the youngest ever to have held the 7th Dan with an acknowledged style.
Sensei Kimura married Kaoruin 1980. She lent more serenity to his life and gave him a solid foundation apart from his Karate Students.
Sensei organised the first Shukokai World Tournament in the USA in 1981 - an event that established itself and has since then taken place every two years. Shukokai Karateka from all over the world were now visiting the headquarters regularly. Even Karateka of other styles often sought advice from Sensei Kimura as well.
He continued to develop the Tani-Shukokai further, something which constantly challenged, irritated, and frustrated but above all brought his students further. He revolutionised his entire Shukokai once again. The manner of practicing Shukokai now differed considerably from the Tani style, which is why the term Kimura's Shukokai is used today. In 1991 Kimura's Shukokai was being practiced world-wide by 20,000 students in 14 countries.
Even in his later years, Sensei remained innovative and open. students who were closed to developing further were out of place with him, proof of which were the numerous partings of ways. Sensei Kimura - a man of no compromise; his influence is still present in many large organisations of today, even though working together has ceased.
In 1987 Sensei Kimura had already begun contemplating the replacement of his Dojo, which was too small and somewhat run-down. To everyone's delight, he was able to fulfil the dream of having his own new headquarters, this time in Tenafly, New Jersey. This Dojo was beautiful and professional, with a kitchen, recreation room, large training room and the option of overnight stays.
Sensei Kimura, full of plans for the future, died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 54.
Zanshin Karate Cymru Since the inevitable split of Shukokai in the UK, different groups were set up with each claiming to be performing the original style. Because Kimura was constantly developing the system it is impossible to claim to be the true exponent of a developing system. Many say that the true style of Shukoaki was the original developed by Tani, others say it is the furtherance of Shukokai taught by Kimura. Whatever your beliefs, Shukokai remains to be a very popular style. It is very dynamic and powerful. It incorporates the use of impact pads in the grading system.
If you've never come across Shukokai before, it is an eye opener
to anyone. The power that the karateka applies raises a few eyebrows to say the
least. In fact, all techniques are very fast and very powerful. Zanshin
Shukokai is taught under Sensei Gareth Edwards 6th Dan (the highest graded Shukokai Instructor in Wales), who keeps the style in
its pure form as it was taught to him. The guidance of Shihan Roy Stanhope 0th
Dan and original student of Kimura helps keep the club on track and to grow.
Shihan Roy Stanhope
Roy Stanhope holds the rank of 7th Dan in Shukokai karate. Over the years he has also trained in other styles obtaining Shodan in Wado Ryu. Shihan Stanhope runs one of the largest martial arts organisations in the UK. The United Kingdom All Styles Karate Organisation is one of the most popular groups around, with groups such as Kung Fu, Taekwondo, Wado, Goju, Shotokan and many others affiliated to the organisation.
Shihan Stanhope has trained alongside leading figures in the Shukokai world. Names like Shihan Stan Knighton of The Shukokai Karate Union and Eddie Daniels of the Sukokai Karate Federation. As well as his wealth of knowledge pertaining the martial arts, Shihan Stanhope has trained many UK and world champions. Ex world champion Abdu Shaher was also under his wing at one time.
Leading figures in the martial arts, currently members of U..K.A.S.K.O include Kevin Barlow 7th Dan and Phil Mead 8th Dan. Shihan Stanhope is a former England team coach and was awarded the coveted Fellowship of Karate title.
Learn more about Roy Stanhope and his organization here Roy Stanhope's U.K.A.S.K.O.