By Michael Clarke
By Garry Lever
By Barrett & Lever
By Mark Bishop
The Shinken Dojo 真 剣 道 場
|Ryusyokai Okinawa Goju Ryu Karate 琉 翔 会 沖 縄 空 手
Ilfracombe - North Devon - England 英 国
Web Sites of Interest
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contained within this
|"Karate the Okinawa way" Blog posts by Glyn Jones
|"Brian Hinchliffe Sensei"
What always amazes me with Karate Ka is some of the people who they will go to for advice. Why? Well the thing with advice
and guidance is that it tends to be kind of threefold. Firstly, it is yourself who needs the advice or guidance, not the person you
are asking. Secondly, who you decide to ask or receive advice from is so important that it's paramount. Thirdly, if you decide to
follow or take the advice that you have been given, really is all down to yourself. You as an individual and Karate Ka will make
all of these choices, be they good or bad!
When you write a blog like this you often get people asking you for advice on Karate. I'm happy to help out if I can, but in truth
what little advice I have to offer I prefer to keep for the small number of students that I regularly share my Karate training with,
and only then, to those students who are prepared to listen. Those that don't, I leave them to get on with it.
I have always likened most Karate Ka to this quote by John Steinbeck;
"You know how advice is. You only want it if it agrees with what you wanted to do anyway." John Steinbeck.
From my initial introduction in to the Martial Arts as a youngster under the tutelage of my father in the Art of Judo. I have
always sought out both guidance and tuition (advice) from reputable Sensei who know their art inside out. I just don't do wishy
washy advice, as in seeking training guidance from everyone and anyone. Many these days just get on discussion forums and
take advice from arm chair know all's, or the bigger the Karate name or celebrity, the more people who tend to attach
themselves and listen. Maybe it was taking a disliking to the story of the pied piper as a kid, I am unsure, but I have never
been a natural follower. I prefer to listen to the quiet man of Budo who does his talking through many years of quality
experience, through proven to be seen regular in Dojo training. True Budoka offer advice and guidance of value sparingly!
Oh, plus they train not talk... Primarily I listen to those who I regard as my Sensei or in the know, not just anyone. Most Karate
Ka would benefit from relating this quote by Patch Adams to their Karate.
"See what no one else sees. See what no one else chooses to see... Out of fear, conformity or laziness.
See the world anew each day!" Patch Adams
When I get to spend precious time with my Sensei, be it inside or outside of the Dojo. I am quietly taking in and absorbing the
words and direction that Sensei offers. Not just because they are my Sensei, but because they have decades of quality
experience in Okinawan Karate behind them. And I don't mean talk or showman Karate either. They have been there before
me so I learn from their experiences.
Tamaki Sensei has been an hands on regular in Dojo student under his Sensei, as in Senaha Sensei, on Okinawa for over 45
years. Where by others have sought to teach, he has sought to train, where by others talk good karate and effective
techniques, he demonstrates them. Where by others talk about training, he has trained regularly, hard and often, where by
others have rode off a Sensei for a few years, he has shown decades of unwavering loyalty. These are the characteristics of a
true Karate Ka and what the art is truly about.
If you are ever lucky enough for Tamaki Sensei to offer you advice or guidance on Karate, the seriousness or sternness that
he says these words "This is very very important in Okinawan Karate"! will leave you in no doubts how important it is to
receive quality advice or guidance from a real Sensei of Karate.
"In Karate if you take advice or guidance from a person of deep understanding it can be invaluable,
take it from one who is not, and it may be useless".
|Senaha Sensei and
his student Tamaki
Sensei leading by
example as they
|Spending precious time In the company
of my Sensei
|"See what no one else chooses to see"
Through the years of practising Karate you find that there are many Karate Ka
who will accompany us along the way. There will be those who come and go
after just a few years, others will join us and stay with us for the duration of the
journey. Just as the people we meet in everyday life, it is not always the time
scale that we share with people that is most important, but the fond memories
and influence or effect that they have upon us that is of most significance.
I have always liked the following saying ;
"Karate is a lifelong battle, you verses yourself, there is no one else".
In many ways it kind of acts as a reminder that when it comes down to it, we
are on our own, and all of our ambitions, successes and failures really are
down to ourselves and our decisions, not others. You can't keep blaming
anyone else in life or in Karate, it's our journey and us alone make the choices.
To practise true Karate one really needs training partners of worth. Yes! Much
valued Karate practise can be done alone, both with and without training
apparatus. However, there are many elements of Karate where by training
partners are an essential exponent, of which there is no other substitute than
a living moving body. To put it bluntly; training partners of worth are worth
their weight in gold, and without them your practise will always be restricted or
Over the years I have had a few regular training partners. In many ways I see
the whole basis of a Karate Dojo as the forming of a training environment, with
the Dojo not just being a place where by a Sensei teaches Students, as so
many seem to perceive things these days. Personally I always try and train
alongside and with my students as much as is possible when teaching. A Dojo
is for training in not standing around or being lazy in. The belt colour, grade
held, or years of experience count for nothing if you don't train regularly and
hard. There are way too many supposed Sensei around these days who turn
up to Dojo's, talk to much, and train way to little.
When you're a member of a Dojo you tend to have a fair few and a variety of
training partners to practise with during set classes, which is great as all are
different. A lesson that I got from my father many years ago whilst a junior
practising Judo was this. "Son you need to get yourself a regular training
partner to meet up with to practise, refine, perfect and improve your
techniques away from the classes of the Dojo". Or words to that effect. So
that is what I did! It is such a simple formula that many Budo Ka fail to see, but
one that I would strongly recommend, as in reality there are very few who will
achieve the higher levels of Karate without a training partner to work with
Moving on from my early training partners in Judo. The three guys pictured
training with me are all guys who I used to meet up with away from the Dojo at
least once a week over many years, during differing periods. There was no
ego or seniority, we simply met up and had a mutual agreement of training
hard and working together on things needed to the benefit of both of us.
Strangely enough all of these three guys that I mention were very different
and individualistic when it came to training. None the less, all were highly
skilled, serious and dedicated Karate Ka.
Stranger still and sadly, neither of these guys still practises Karate these days,
so of course they have come and gone on my Karate journey. They all though
had valid but differing reasons for breaking our mutual training partner
agreement. Moving away, family problems and serious injury.
A reminder though that when it comes down to it we really are on our own in
Karate, but it is also a lesson that we can't hang around living in the past, we
must move on and forward. So that's where other training partners of worth will
come along and join us, hopefully for the full duration of our journey, but only
time will tell.......
8th October 2015
|Andy Price (above) was a training partner of few
equals when it came to effectiveness and getting stuck
in. Looking back on it our training was probably a little
to rough around the edges, with to much time spent on
knocking lumps out of each other.
I still smile at the words spoken to me by
Sugimoto Sensei after he'd just attempted his Shodan.
"Had he been preparing by feeding on raw meat"?
|Roy little (above) for me was the perfect all round Karate
Ka. He had it all! Dedication, determination, good technique
and speed and power to match his skill.
We entered Goju together, we trained constantly together,
and even graded together.
He really was the perfect technician and the perfect training
partner who would always bring the best out of you.
|Ada Priest was a totally
different training partner in
comparison to Andy or Roy.
Of course he also trained hard,
he trained regular, and he lead
by example. However, not only
did he come through the Dan
ranks of Karate, he was also a
Dan grade in and a very
accomplished Judo Ka.
So our solo training sessions
together could be anything
from working on a Kata and its
applications, to throwing each
other about, or rolling around
trying to lock each other up on
|"Training Partners of Worth"
|Hinchliffe Sensei at the Butokuden in
Kyoto, Japan, 2015.
I would like to send my congratulations to Brian Hinchliffe Sensei-Kyoshi, who was recently awarded 8th Dan in Goju Ryu Karate
by the Zen Nihon Sogo Budo Renmei during a recent visit to Japan. This is a well deserved and remarkable achievement.
Normally I never really take much notice of grades or status these days as very few people seem to carry their worth, as in more
cases than not they all seem a little made up, unjustified and false, especially so in the West. However, there are rare exceptions
to the rule, as at times you come across true Sensei like Brian Hinchliffe, who are more than worthy of these achievements, or
may I say they are a little extra ordinary. In Okinawan Karate terms finding a true Sensei of worth is like finding a diamond in a
beach full of sand.
I first met Hinchliffe Sensei on the 1st of February 1996, which is soon coming up to twenty years ago now. At the time I was
already an established Karate Ka who had already held a Dan Black Belt grade for ten years or so, but from our very first
meeting I knew that he was not only a special Karate Ka but a very special kind of person too. He then went on to have a major
influence on me. Over the years I have not only gained so much from his teachings, kindness and deep understanding of Budo, I
have continued to grow higher in both my own understanding and also in admiration of him as a person too.
In addition to being a kind of Karate mentor to me over here in the U.K. for many years, it was Hinchlife Sensei who encouraed
me to go to Japan and then on to Okinawa to pursue and seek out Senaha Sensei and study the true Okinawan ways of
practising Goju Ryu Karate..
I accept that our Karate is a little differing these days, or shall I say "We don't do things so different, just differently", as he
keeps reminding me. He is though one of the few Karate Sensei over here in England that I would train with on a daily basis if it
I would like to thank him deeply for the help, advice and guidance that he has given me over the years, not just in Karate but in
life too. Here is a link to Sensei Brian Hinchliffe's Ho Ei Juku group.
15th October 2015
|After training with Hinchliffe Sensei
in my home Dojo during the sumer.