Welcome to the official website of the Bushinkai Academy. Although I’ve made a post before, that was over 100 posts ago and so I just wanted to tell any new visitors about what Bushinkai’s all about. Bushinkai is different things to different people, so here is a brief rundown of what we’re all about:
1) Manchester Karate club (White Lion Academy)
The headquarters of the White Lion Academy is at Hakutora (Van Dang martial Arts) on Newton Street, Manchester. There I teach a system of Karate/Jujutsu called Hakuda Kempo Toshu Jutsu (see below) which is both traditional in content but self defence efficient in outcome. The club includes some very strong blackbelts like Dan Sanchez 2nd Dan (grappling specialist), Kicki Holm 2nd Dan (kata specialist) and Ben Gaunt 1st Dan (self defence specialist). The Dojo itself at Van Dang is purpose built for martial arts and has a great atmosphere. And while you are there, why not check out some of the other classes, like Muay Thai and MMA. Classes, suitable for newbies are Thursdays 8pm-9:30pm. The name White Lion Academy has a dual reference, firstly it ties in with the hypothesis that one of the arts Karate was derived from was Ba Sai Quan (White Lion Boxing), and secondly, because my family coat of arms is the white lion.
2) Wigan Tai Chi club (Metal Tiger Academy)
Bushinkai’s Tai Chi club is run by my dad Sifu David Keegan, teaching Yang style Tai Chi. Classes are currently in the 8 step and 24 step forms but the curriculum includes various other sets. For more information visit the Metal Tiger Academy website.
3) A scientific approach to self defence that can be applied to any martial art
The Bushinkai Method can be applied to any martial art such as Karate, Tai Chi, Aikido, Jujutsu, Kung Fu, Wing Chun, Ninjutsu (perhaps not sporting arts or specialist arts like Kyudo or Sumo). It is more an approach and understanding, based on the Three Sciences:
a) The Science of Violence: Understanding the realities of self defence and ensuring we defend against habitual acts of physical violence not just “Dojo attacks”
b) The Science of Technique: The underlying principles and skills that make techniques work efficiently regardless of style
c) The Science of Learning: Drills and exercises that ensure what we learn becomes instinctive not just copied
4) Hakuda Kempo Toshu Jutsu: A Karate /Jujutsu system that returns the arts to their roots with a pragmatic and coherent set of applications.
HKTJ represents how Karate would have been before it was introduced to mainland Japan ion the 1920s – in other words as a combative system of self defence. From the early 1700s to the early 1900s, Karate was developed by serious fighters like Sakugawa, Yara, Matsumura, Itosu, Motobu and Higaonna. It was practical, efficient and was not simply a sport for kids. This is the spirit in which HKTJ is taught, small classes of adults students.
The art uses traditional forms like Kanku, Empi and Bassai (earlier known as Kushanku, Wansu and Passai) which according to our studies in The Lost Book of Kushanku (see below) were developed from a Chinese art called White Lion Boxing. Some of the forms taught, which are also common to Shotokan, Wado Ryu etc are Nijushiho, Hangetsu and Jutte for example which owe their origins to Shaolin crane and tiger boxing. These forms are taught with and without weapons such as the Bo, Nunchaku and Sai.
Where HKTJ truly comes into its own is the kata applications which shows that within the kata are a wealth of practical fighting techniques such as throws, locks, chokes and vital point strikes. HKTJ is not only external however and also uses the internal principles and postures of Chinese internal martial arts.
Toshu Jutsu was featured in this issue of Martial Arts Illustrated:
5) Academic research into the origins and puzzles of the martial arts
Studies written include:
a) The Lost Book of Kushanku: A study which uncovers the origins of the Heian, Bassai, Kanku and Empi forms and identifies a lost Chinese art called White Lion Boxing, There is also a hypothesis that identifies that Chinese masters who taught the Karate pioneers of Kushanku and Bassai. You can read the study here at Lost Book of Kushanku.
b) The Lost Tiger of Canton: This study identifies the origins of forms like Hangetsu, Sanchin and Nijushiho. It explores the relationship between Tiger Boxing styles like Hung Gar and Pangai Noon and the style introduced to Okinawa by Tang Daiji. This book is coming soon ut you can read a teaser here at The Lost Tiger of Canton.
6) A family tradition of martial arts
Aside from myself, Simon Keegan and my dad David Keegan there is also a martial arts tradition on my mother’s side of the family. My great uncle Bill Nelson was a Jujutsu blackbelt in the 1940s (read about Bill Nelson) and Bill’s brother in law Ted fought in Japan and China as a master at arms. Bill and his brother Jim (my grandad) were both world War II veterans, but before this were taught to box by their dad, a World War I veteran, and their grandfather August Nilsson, a member of the Swedish Navy. But there is also another link to complete the circle. August’s father Nils Johann Nilsson was born in Kalmar in 1830. If we go back a generation Johannes Nilsson was born in Kalmar in 1805 and his father Nils (the original Nilsson) spent several years in Okinawa because he was working for the Swedish East India Trading Company. He worked on the ships at the exact same time as Karate pioneer Sakugawa Tode and we believe that having travelled the Far East contributed to the family’s boxing traditions. Read more about Sakugawa Ryu family tradition here. You can follow the family history of the Nilssons in Okinawa on this genealogy page.
Another hypothesis is that half Okinawan half Skandinavian Karate master Matsu Kinjo, whose father was Nio Kinjo was the grandson of Johann Nilsson. This Karate master would therefore be the first cousin of my great great grandfather. I named the kata Matsu in his honour.
Thanks for reading
Simon Keegan Renshi (5th Dan)