Report – Shikukai Autumn Course, Chippenham, Wilts.

The annual Shikukai Autumn Course at The Olympiad in Chippenham is always looked forward to and this year was no exception. Over 40 students travelled from far and wide, braving the inclement weather, to take part in a weekend of varied and interesting training lead by Sensei Sugasawa and assisted by his team of senior instructors.

Prior to the commencement of training Mokuto was observed in memory of the late Peter Suzuki Sensei and Shingo Ohgami Sensei who had both passed away recently. This was followed by the presentation to Teresa Claxton of her 1st Dan Certificate and Shikukai embroidered Black Belt.

Teresa Claxton presented with Shodan certificate & obi by Sugasawa Sensei.

After a short warm up taken by Pam Rawson, the session commenced with basics lead by Steve & Pam Rawson Senseis. Emphasis was placed on moving correctly between stances, focusing on the interaction between Junzuki/Gyakuzuki/Junzuki No Tsukkomi and Gyakuzuki No Tsukkomi.  Techniques were performed in various directions with the importance of keeping the correct Sei Chu Sen emphasized throughout. The students were then paired up and practised drills involving Tobikomi Nagashizuki and Ayumi Ashi Nagashizuki.

Following a short break the class was split into three groups – 2nd Dan and above, 3rd Kyu to 1st Dan and 4th Kyu and below. The Seniors worked with Tim Shaw Sensei who took them through Ni Sei Shi kata in detail, with interesting comparisons in the various versions of the kata.  Steve & Pam Rawson Senseis introduced the brown belts and 1st Dans to Chinto kata. For many of them this was their first attempt at getting to know the kata.  The lower grades trained under the direction of Tim Dixon Sensei. They worked on Kihon, improving their kicking technique, followed by Pinan Nidan and Pinan Shodan, finishing off with basic Taisabaki in simple pairworks.

Throughout the training Sensei Sugasawa kept a watchful eye and moved among the various groups, giving his personal instruction. A Kyu grading was held after training with five candidates being successful.

The venue for the Saturday night social was The Pheasant Inn, Chippenham, where good food and company ensured a pleasant evening as always.

Being Remembrance Sunday, the next day’s training began with Mokuto. Tim Shaw Sensei lead the warm up and the class was then divided into two halves, facing each other across the Dojo, so that the junior grades could watch the techniques of the Seniors. Kihon practice commenced with Naihanchi stance, moving on to Junzuki, Gyakuzuki, Junzuki No Tsukkomi and Gyaku No Tsukkomi, concentrating on correct body shift. Nagashi movement was then covered, moving both forward and backwards.

After a short break the class was split into three groups as on the previous day. Steve & Pam Rawson Senseis lead the Seniors session on the finer points of Seishan kata, emphasizing how important it was to understand and perform the correct movements, particularly when instructing, as students will inevitably copy their Instructor’s technique. This was followed by Kihon Gumite practice. The students were asked to perform Kihons 1 to 10 without pausing or resetting in between, which was invaluable in getting them to think and react quickly.

Carol Chatterton Sensei & Tim Dixon Sensei worked with the middle group on Naihanchi Kata and Kumite Gata (Jodan Soto Uke and Uchi Uke.) Tim Shaw Sensei took the junior grades through a detailed explanation of Pinan Yondan Kata.  As before, Sensei Sugasawa continued his observation of the different groups, imparting his specialist knowledge.

All too soon, time was up. Sensei Sugasawa thanked everyone for their involvement, in particular Carol, Ian & the Chippenham Club for hosting another very successful and enjoyable course.

Pam Rawson


Report: Shikukai Winter Course 2019.

For the 6th year running we have been honored to host the Shikukai Karate-Do International winter course presided over by our chief instructor F. Sugasawa Sensei 7th Dan.

We at Shikukai Chelmsford (Shouwa Jyuku 翔和塾) have been surprised as to how the popularity of this annual course has grown over the years; even more so when it became recognised as the official Shikukai winter course. Attendance this year increased even more and we have had to plan for larger venues to cope with the numbers.

This year we had students from as far afield as Hungary, Holland, The Czech Republic and Norway, as well as students from Devon and Yorkshire.

In all this was an opportunity for four days training, kicking off with our regular club night on the Thursday. This was taken by Shouwa Jyuku instructor Tim Shaw 7th Dan and assisted by Steve Thain 4th Dan. The class was centred around some very usable, carefully designed continuous paired drills which incorporated Wado’s characteristic body shifting (Tai Sabaki).

Friday evening’s training was orchestrated by Sugasawa Sensei. Sensei started off with training and grading for the children’s class who are based at the Woodham Walter Junior School and instructed by Sue Dodd. He gave them some very useful kata instruction, particularly on Pinan Sandan. The children taking the examination had been well prepared and inevitably succeeded in their grading. They were a credit to themselves and the care and attention taken by their instructors.

In the senior session Sensei based the first part on the use of the elbows; this naturally led on to the correct application of the elbows in Kake Uke, and then on to paired kumite.

After the training a meal had been organised at the pub across the road, who coped really well with such a large group taking over their dining room.

Saturday training was at the Danbury Sports & Social club. The three hour training began with foundation techniques for everyone and then the class was split three ways with training directed by the senior instructors. We were lucky this year as we not only had Sugasawa Sensei overseeing the classes but also Shikukai seniors, Tim Shaw Sensei, Steve Rawson Sensei, Carol Chatterton Sensei, Richard Barham Sensei and Tim Dixon Sensei. The last half of the class was selected kata for each of the grade groups.

Saturday night was a chance for everyone to get together. We took over a town centre restaurant and for some the revelry went on into the early hours of the morning – others took to their beds at a more sensible time.

Report: Shikukai Spring Course Rescue Adventure 2016. (Courtesy of the Dorset Echo).


Swimmer in distress at Lulworth pulled to safety by quick-thinking day trippers.

A swimmer was pulled to safety by quick-thinking day trippers after spending almost two hours battling to get back to shore.

The open water swimmer was rescued by a passing boat just outside Lulworth Cove on Sunday after he found himself stranded out at sea, unable to battle through the strong tides.

Stephen Rawson, who runs Shikukai Karate Club in Portland, had chartered the boat from Sirius in Weymouth for the day to visit Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove with six other club members.

Mr Rawson said it was only by chance the boat was in the area as the Lulworth Ranges, military firing ranges, were not active that day.

“The boat driver knew the ranges weren’t shooting that day so that’s the reason we had headed to Lulworth Cove,” Mr Rawson said. “We saw a swimmer with a floatation buoy a couple of hundred metres away. He was waving his arms about and was quite clearly in distress.”

Mr Rawson said the man, who was from Alicante in Spain, was tall, athletic and ‘clearly a good swimmer.’

“He told me he often goes open water swimming in Alicante Bay for two or three hours at a time. He had gone out of the Cove on Sunday and into open water and was swimming fine for about half an hour. But when he turned round to swim back he couldn’t get back to shore.”

Mr Rawson said the man had been battling against the strong tide for almost two hours when the boat found him.

“He didn’t realise we have tides that run along the coast and couldn’t get through it. If we hadn’t been there he would have been a goner. His only option would have been to go with the tide – going further away from potential help. I think he probably would have drowned. There was no one else around. He was very lucky – it could have been a very differnt outcome.”

Mr Rawson commended the driver of the boat, Tim Day, who he said did an excellent job of manoeuvring a potentially dangerous boat close to the swimmer.

Report: Shikukai Autumn Course Spain 2016.

The inaugural Spanish Shikukai Autumn course was held at Albir near Benidorm, Alicante on 9/10/11 October 2016. Most students stayed at the Albir Garden Resort which proved to be an excellent venue with comfy beds, substantial breakfasts, good showers and a great outdoor swimming pool. Students travelled from across the UK, France, Holland and Norway.

A short bus ride took students to the light and airy training venue at Pabellón Municipal Pau Gasol in L’alfas del Pi. Day 1 began with using the bleacher seating as a training aid both for stretching the legs and focussing techniques. Sensei proved he could still outstretch everyone by effortlessly placing his leg on the highest row of seats possible. The first session involved using the spaces between the rows of seats as focus points for techniques. There were several loud clashes when students had not quite perfected this drill! Sensei then moved on to Kata, covering Pinan Nidan in depth, particularly concentrating on the final four moves. The junior grades continued their practice under Sensei’s watchful eye while the seniors went on to practice Chinto Kata.

On Day 2 Sensei again took students through a thorough warm up after which Junzuki and Gyakazuki movements were practiced in pairs using alternating hand techniques. Emphasis was on a relaxed shoulder action throughout the technique and not concentrating on the end result. The importance of correct posture, hand movement and position of the pelvis was stressed in the practice of Seishan Kata. The seniors practiced Seishan in detail while the junior grades worked on the Pinan katas. The session finished with Ji Yu Kumite, the emphasis being on continuous attack and defence movement as opposed to individual scoring techniques (similar to the recent Over-50 years category at the recent Wado Championships in Japan.)

The final day started with continuous techniques around the dojo to loosen up aching muscles and then maintained the emphasis from Day 1 of how to release a technique as opposed to the end result. This was achieved through a variety of drills designed to make students aware of which muscles needed to be fired up. Sensei emphasised the importance of Sogu (skimming action) when performing techniques including Naiwan, Gaiwan and Gedan Harai Uke. The session continued with Kihon Gumite numbers 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 while the juniors practiced Nihon Gumite.

It was not just the superb training, but also the social activities that made this a course to remember. Once training was over for the day students went to the beach, checked out the many local bars and restaurants, swam in the outdoor pool, or simply relaxed on a lounger. Later each evening everyone met up for a social meal, ranging from Thai, to Indian to traditional fare. The most memorable night was at the local seafront Columbus Restaurant which had a nautical theme with excellent food and drink. We were joined by Sensei Bob Flowers from Bristol who happened to be staying nearby. In true “Bob” style we had phone calls with some old karate friends back in the UK. An additional guest at the table was Dave, a local radio presenter and a long time friend of Carol’s, who had made a broadcast earlier in the week promoting the course and referring to Sensei as the Commander in Chief!

At the end of the course Sensei thanked Carol for organising the event and the students for making the effort to attend. Everyone was impressed with the facilities both for accommodation and training and would like to return in the future.

In Memoriam – Chris Mortimer 1989 to 2012. 

It is with great sadness that I have to announce the passing of regular Shikukai member Chris Mortimer, who died at the age of 23 years at the beginning of November this year.

Many Shikukai seniors and students will have fond memories of Chris. In the short time he was with us it was hard to miss his personal warmth, positive outlook and cheery smile. Always quick to engage in leg pulling and banter he treated all people equally and was unfailingly generous in spirit and deed.

Chris displayed an implacable spirit of adventure and was always willing to go the extra mile, literally; putting himself out to attend courses, competitions and seminars from as close to home as Chippenham and as far afield as Hungary .

He was also willing to walk into anyone’s Dojo and offer himself up for training, no matter how tough and demanding it was. It was through this that he earned the respect and admiration of everyone he came into contact with, and sadly it is only with his passing that we are able to see and acknowledge this aspect of his strength of character and willingness to connect.

I have particular memories of his bounciness and enthusiasm during training, which was tempered by his curiosity and willingness to question what he was doing. It was this balance which singled him out as a youngster with considerable potential. Sadly circumstances contrived to rob us all of this potential and all those he came into contact with have felt a need to acknowledge the loss. But our loss as friends pales in comparison to the loss to his family; for whom we cannot begin to comprehend their feelings and deep grief.

Tim Shaw 13/11/12