'SHOGUN' TRADITIONAL SHOTOKAN KARATE-DO

ACADEMY   SHOTOKAN Crewe Cheshire England

KARATE IS SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST SELF-DEFENCE ----- THE DOJO KUN - TO STRIVE FOR THE PERFECTION OF CHARACTER - TO DEFEND THE PATHS OF TRUTH - TO FOSTER THE SPIRIT OF EFFORT - TO HONOUR THE PRINCIPLES OF ETIQUETTE - TO GUARD AGAINST IMPETUOUS COURAGE - CHARACTER - SINCERITY - EFFORT - ETIQUETTE - SELF-CONTROL

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Club History

The Club first opened its doors on the 1st. of January 1968. It was run by two Instructors from the Tunstall Karate Club 'Sei-Do-Kan Dojo' Teaching the Karate style of  Wado-Ryu and was part of the BKA group (British Karate Association) and the BKCC (British Karate Control Commission) The Crewe Instructors were Don Lawton and Roy Eldon. The Sei-Do-Kan Instructor was Robert Aikman.

In the latter end of 1969 part of the group broke away from the BKA and formed the SKU (Shukokai Karate Union)
after a visit by Sensei Kimura  8th.Dan. So a change of Styles for the Academy, Shukokai. The Chief Instructors for the new Association were Stan Knighton, Roy Stanhope, Bob Aikman and Peter Consterdine.

Sadly this group broke up "round about" 1974 with Bob Aikman leaving to form the WSKU (World Shukokai Karate Union) I seem to remember some dispute over Bob arranging a Competition with a Japanese university Team for the SKU team  without the permission of the other committee members ? this was what we were led to believe at the time, I was one of the Students along with Dave Warburton, who was asked to take part by Bob, as the Official SKU team were not allowed to take part ? I remember getting some abuse from a senior SKU Instructor at the time for taking part, but then it became a matter of principal, even so, Dave and I did not leave with Bob, although  we got no thanks for helping him (Bob)  in his hour of need. We stayed with the SKU.

Shortly afterwards another high Instructor (Eddy Daniels) left the SKU and formed another association with Sensei Kimura the SKF (Shukokai Karate Federation) Strange thing about all this was, all the Black Belts were called to a meeting in Sheffield to decide if we should keep Sensei Kimura as Chief Instructor in the SKU, I seem to remember Eddie voting against him, then shortly afterwards leaving with him!    
 

Terry Pottage left to form the Kenyukai Group and  Tommy Kwan left to form the Rising Sun Group.

In 1970 the Academy itself changed Instructors, the Club was handed over by Don Lawton and Roy Eldon to four Instructors, Dave Warburton, (now 8th Dan assistant Chief Instructor of the SKU) John Simpson, Bill Gorski and myself Sylvester Walsh.

In the mid 80s we slowly changed to the Shotokan Style of Karate-Do. This happened with influence from Ron Church, a Black Belt with the KUGB (Karate Union Great Britain) He invited me to an Open Karate Championships (CHP) that featured mostly Shotokan Students and a Shotokan course by Sensei Masao Kawasoe. I was so very impressed by the standard and the etiquette  that I  decided then to change to the Shotokan style.  I then attended other courses with the late Great Steve Cattle, Dave Hazard,  Hirokazu Kanazawa and other Shotokan Karateka.        

Another change, the Academy changed names once again to the Traditional Shotokan of Karate and changed its name to the 'Shogun' Traditional Shotokan Karate-Do Academy, with Chief Instructor Sylvester Walsh 5th.Dan, assistant Instructors, Kevin (Harry) Roberts 1st. Dan, Joe Doran 3rd Dan,  Adam Walsh 3rd Dan and Steve Matzen 2nd Dan Other Academy Black (some have now gone) Andy Barlow 3rd. Dan, Paul Webster 1st. Dan, Chris Skade 1st. Dan, Trevor Jones 1st. Dan, Steve Welsh 1st. Dan, Scott Simpson 1st. Dan, Pashori Lai 1st. Dan, Mark Roberts 1st. Dan, Daniel Thorley Cadet 1st. Dan.  

My Profile and more!

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I started learning/practicing Karate in 1968 as an Adult, Wado-Ryu style. Why did I join this Japanese Martial Art? I was first interested in Judo as I did not know that any Karate Clubs existed in England. I went along to the local Judo Club to have a look and what I seen was not what it said in the books. It seamed so unorganized, every one doing there own thing, needless to say, I did not join. What I did not know at that time Judo had changed from the Traditional to more Sport Judo (When  I did start practicing Karate, we were told "Karate would never to down the same road as Judo had, little did they know).

One day in September 1968 I seen an advert in the local paper for a Karate Club starting a Beginners Class in Crewe in a Church Hall. I went along to see and I was so enchanted by what I saw. The Discipline, the Etiquette, the Kai (Shouting) and the next minute complete silence, I was spellbound by all of this. I was 24yrs old and had never seen anything like this before. The Instructor on this first session was a Purple Belt (At this time there was not many Black Belts about) called Roy Eldon. As I was sitting watching he approached me and asked me to join in. I was petrified, but he pulled on to the floor and that changed my whole life for ever. The next I went to the Instructor was a Brown Belt called Don Lawton, he was a very hard Instructor. Both Roy and Don came from the Potteries twice a week taking turns teaching for each session. There was around 25 Students at that time in the Club. The highest grades in the club were two Green Belts (The Club actually first opened in April of 1968)

 I took my first grade on the 9th of April 1969 along with Dave Warburton, John Simpson, Bill Gorski. The style of Karate at the Club at that time was Wado-Ryu (I did not know then that  there were different Styles of Karae)

Near the middle of 1969 a Japanese Instructor came to the Club called Kimura. so the whole group changed over to the Style of  Shukokai style at the latter end of 1969. We trained very hard in this style under many Japanese Sensei. Lots of Competitions that I got placed in Kumite and Kata. I got an invite to a Shotokan Competition by Ron Church (KUGB) and when I mentioned this the the Secretary of the SKU, I was told I was not allowed to go there anymore! 

This then started the change to the Shotokan style in 1982. Why did I change Styles so many times you may ask ?. The first change is easy to explain, the group I was in changed, so I did not have much choice. The second and last change is more complicated. I somehow had it in my head that Shukokai was the be-all and end-all of Karate and all the other styles were not very good. I had never been to an open Course or Competition, so all I knew was Shukokai and  little of Wado-Ryu, so I led a sheltered Karate life for about 14 years.


I got an invite to a Shotokan Course by a KUGB Instructor, Ron Church, I was then invited to an 'Open' Karate Competition, run by Cliff Hepburn (North Midland Open, one of the CHP Open Competitions) as a Referee. To put it mildly, I was amazed by the Standard of the 'Kata' and 'Kumite' (most of the Competitors were KUGB, Shotokan). I went along to this and felt a re-serge of enthusiasm for Karate and began to go on Shotokan Courses with some great Instructors e.g. Masao Kawasoe Sensei, Steve Cattle Sensei, Dave Hazard Sensei, Rick Jackson Sensei. I have also trained with some great Shukokai Instructors -  Kimura Sensei, Nambu Sensei, Ashima Sensei, Kamohara Sensei, Ikazaki Sensei, Suzuki Sensei, Yamada Sensei, Stan Knighton Sensei ('Stan the Man' they called him, a gentlemen of Karate) Eddy Daniels Sensei. Others Styles, Meiji Suzuki Sensei. What found extraordinary and  liked about the Shotokan KUGB people, they all excepted me, even though I was of a different Style and Group. Like the people in the photo below taken the Mickey out of my Shukokai Badge. Left to right, Dave Pridgeon, Simon Oliver, Tivvy Gomersall RIP, Steve Coyne, Steve Hyland, about 1983.

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I have been competing in Karate competitions since 1970. I have been placed in several (hospitalized in some too) since that time.

1970 SKU National Kata 2nd. 1974 SKU Kumite 3rd. 1974 North of England SKU Kata 1st. 1974 all England SKU Kata 1st. 1975 North of England SKU Team Kumite 3rd. 1975 South of England Team Kumite 2nd. 1975 South of England Kata SKU 1st. 1980 South of England SKU Kata 3rd - the decline.

I did not complete again until 1983, having sadly with regret parted company with the SKU. I then started to enter Open Competitions --- 1983 North Counties Open 4th. 1984 North Counties Kata 2nd. 1984 Central Open Kata 2nd. 1984  Counties Masters Kata 2nd. 1984 Sports Council Open Kata 1st. 1985 Midland Open Kata 3rd.

Again I did not complete 'again' for another Five Years --- 1990 Eastern Open Kata 1st. 1991 Eastern Kata 1st.

I have also organized several large Open competitions since 1983 to 1993 (due to commitment at Work I was unable to organize any more) For ten years The North Midland Open, The North Wales Open, The Cheshire Open, and several Sports Council Competitions.
I have also been Chief Referee for several Competitions, during these years i.e. Yorkshire Open, South of England Open, Welsh Open, East of England Open, North of England Open. Have also been Chief Referee for Associations outside my own.

I found my 'Open Years' the years from 1983 the best years, meeting and competing against some great Shotokan Karate-ka, Cyril Cummins, John Errington, Simon Oliver, Baz Leeshue, Eddy Johnson, Frank Cope, Mike Dinsdale, Ian Burndred, Billy Tattum, Freddie Tonkmor, and Cliff Hepburn who with Ron Church brought me into the world of Shotokan. All these were and most still are High Grade KUGB Shotokan Instructors.

I also met some other very good Shotokan Instructors in my journey with Karate. Mike Katowski 4th Dan, Paul Katowski 5th Dan, Dave Sanderson 4th Dan. John Follows 4th Dan. They still come to Practice and Instructor in our Club to this day September 2007.  

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During my time in Karate I have seen and experienced some 'strange and wonderful things. Like the time I was competing in a team event in the 70s, in the SKU (Shukokai) during the finals I was the last fighter on and we need a draw to win. I was swept and stamped on and could not get up from the ground. The Referee shouting at me to get up (I was fighting an international, one of his Students and his team) I ended up in Hospital broken ribs and collapsed lung, by the way he was not disqualified but won the fight and the final. At one national SKU Competition, all the Senior Grades after the first round, had to do the First round again, because the the 'Chief Referee was not part of the panel ? (I was one of them) Prima- (By the way, this was the same Chief Instructor as in the Rib breaking incident). On another occasion I saw a very senior grade kick a Dojo door open, because the  Instructor from that club was late 'cool uh'.
At  other National Competition a Competitor asked if he could fight with his Trainers on ? strange you might think, but stranger still, he was a Chief Referee from a big organization. I have seen so many so called 'Karate-Ka' use foul language on the Competition floor, when they lost a point or fight. Seen others knowingly cheat and change the order of their Team, even change their Team, after they had a sneak look at the draw sheet. 

On a Referees course I was told by a very 'Senior' Instructor and now Head of his own Association, quote " When I call the Judges or Judge together to discuss a point, I tell a joke (the Competitors and Spectators think we are discussing) because I have made up my mind anyway " some Karate Chief Instructor uh!. I seen this first hand when I was a judge and was ignored (This instructor is not in the SKU now)

I have see good things also, like the first time I met the great Steve Cattle, I walked past and he said "hi Syl". After I asked him "how do you know me" I was curious how could the great Steve Cattle know me, he said  "of course I know about you" That day I learned something more about Karate, I don't for one minute believe Steve Cattle knew anything about me, he was being  very polite.

In the early 80's I was asked to head the Panel of Judges of Senior Men's Kata at a large Competition, as we walked towards the Area one of the Judges asked me what Grade I was ? I said "I am a 2nd Dan" he said "I am a 4th.Dan" (of course he should have been the Chief Judge, being  the Senior Grade) I then offered the honour to him, and because I offered, he declined, this honorable real Karate-do man was Cyril Cummins 6th Dan KUGB.

  In 1986 I had the honour of being  able to referee the Senior Men's Kumite, one of the competitors was Frank Brennan 6th Dan KUGB (probably the best all rounder none Japanese Karate-ka) when I awarded a Point against him, he turned to me and bowed with ous, I never seen that before. Another lesson I learned that day, someone who believed in the 'Way'. This is the way all Karate should behave, but sadly not. Like I have said in the past, not all Karate is Karate not all Karate Ka are Karate Ka. Gichin Funakoshi the founder of modern Karate said "What sometimes looks like Karate, is not always Karate".  

I should say a few words here about a very clever man I met and who changed my life, Cliff Hepburn. He along with Ron Church, changed the way I thought about Karate, I owe a great amount  to them. Cliff Hepburn had a way about him that could make you do things you thought you could not do. Sadly, since he moved the USA I lost touch with him, but will never forget him.      

  Everything I have writing here is only my opinion or what I have experienced.    

 

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A Yoko Geri Jodan

 

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A  Mawashi Geri Jodan, Adam Walsh aged 12yrs.

 

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