Bushinkai Headteacher Simon Keegan

The Karate and Jujutsu style of Hakuda Kempo Toshu Jutsu was formalised by Simon Keegan (Renshi) who holds several blackbelt grades including 5th Dan in Karate. This is not a new art that he has “invented” however but rather a faithful transmission of the traditional arts he has studied assimilated into one coherent curriculum. Simon has decades of experience in the martial arts, training under some of the world’s leading Karate masters. Beginning his training informally, training in his family boxing tradition he subsequently spent 20 years training in Shotokan/Shobukan/Budokan styles, and in 2012 being awarded 5th Dan by the headteacher of Shobukan. The Shobukan art combines the Shuri Te based Shotokan with the Tomari Te based Budokan. His Shotokan and Shoto Ryu grades have previously been recognised by masters like Hirokazu Kanazawa and Ikuo Higuchi of Kokusai Budoin. Another style he has trained in and researched for over 10 years is the Nisseikai style which was developed as a Naha Te system by Tadanori Nobetsu, a master of both Goju Ryu Karate and Feeding Crane Quan Fa. In addition to this, Simon has around 16 years formal training in Taiji Quan and many more years formal training and grading in Nihon Jujutsu (authentically Japanese Jujutsu) This is an introduction to his Karate training. Simon teaches at Van Dang martial arts, Manchester, on Thursday evenings at 8pm. Email kaicho@runbox.com for details. 

Simon Keegan: Godan 5th Dan: Shobukan Karate 4th Dan Renshi: Jujutsu/Karate Jutsu 3rd Dan: Nisseikai Karatedo (Goju Ryu) 2nd Dan: Kodokwan Judo wnd Dan: Kung Fu (Taiji Quan)

Simon Keegan

Family Karate Tradition

As the headteacher of Sakugawa Ryu Toshu Jutsu, Simon Keegan (Renshi) follows in a proud family boxing tradition. From his father who is a Tai Chi master, to his great uncle who was a Jujutsu expert, going back through the generations to an ancestor who lived in Okinawa. In 1778, his great-great-great-great-great grandfather Nils sailed from Sweden to Okinawa as an officier of the Swedish East India Trading Company (please click here for dates and citations). His cargo was guarded by Karate master Tode Sakugawa who fended off pirates. Nils returned to Sweden in around 1805 and his son Johannes was born in Kalmar. There became a family tradition for the seafarers to teach their sons the boxing they had learnt on their travels. Johannes’ son was Nils Johann and his was August Nilsson who was born in Kalmar in 1866. August was a sailor with the Swedish Navy and was taught hand to hand combat and swordsmanship. His son William Henry was born in Liverpool in 1896 and won medals for valour in the first world war. William Henry’s two eldest sons Jim and Bill were taught to box by their father and grandfather in the 1930s and both served in the second world war where they saw active service. Their brother in law Ted also served in Japan and China as a master at arms. After the war Bill went to studied Jujutsu with the Kawaishi Ryu and Koizumi Ryu and was awarded black belt. Thus the family tradition goes unbroken from Nils to Johannes to Nils Johannes to August to William Henry to blackbelt Bill Nelson. Neither Jim nor Bill had any sons, but Jim’s daughter Carol married David Keegan who had also commenced Jujutsu study in 1959.

Grandad gets a point back

Simon Keegan 5th Dan and his father Sifu David Keegan

Sifu David Keegan also followed in a combat tradition. His great great grandfather Herve Briant served in Napolean III’s Royal Navy during the time the French made excursions to China and Japan and having observed Kung fu and Karate, created their own arts called Chausson and Savatte. Dave and his twin brother Paul studied Jujutsu under Shihan Bernie Blundell. Dave later trained with members of the Shotokan JKA while Paul gravitated towards Goju Ryu. Dave went to live and work in Guangzhou, birthplace of Tiger Boxing around 30 years ago and since then has studied various arts including Taiji Quan, Hsing-I Quan and Koryu Bujutsu (Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu).

Early Karate and Kung Fu training

Beginning his training in the family tradition in the mid 1980s, Simon also studied arts like boxing, fencing and archery. As a teenager he joined a Dojo called the Bushido Academy under Shihan Bullough where he was taught arts such as Karate, Judo, Aikido and Kobudo. His teacher’s approach to Karate was an eclectic blend. Shihan Bullough had started in Yoseikan/Budokan, then Shotokan, trained briefly in Wado Ryu and Goju Ryu and then Shukokai (Shito Ryu). In the Bushido Academy Simon was taught versions of the Taikyoku, Heian, Tekki, Bassai, Kushanku, Empi and Te no Kata Omote forms and was awarded 1st Dan in 1999. At this time he had also commenced study of Chinese internal martial arts including Yang style Taiji, Hsing-I, Chinese sword and Sun Lu Tang style (partially based on Bagua Zhang). He trained for eight years with the Bushido Academy and the Chinese internal martial arts academy, training hard and learning his craft. He became his Sensei’s Uchi Deshi and began teaching the art and the Bushinkai Academy was born.

Steve counters my Oi Tzuki with a Yoko Kekomi

Simon in 1999 with his sensei during his 1st Dan grading

The Japanese years: Kokusai Budoin and Dai Nippon Butokukai

In 2001 Simon vowed to move away from sport martial arts and concentrate on traditional karate, Jujutsu and Tai Chi. Joining new Karate and Jujutsu schools in 2000, he broadened his repertoire. Kyoshi Carruthers and associated instructors taught him Karate including the forms Jutte, Nijushiho, Wankan, Bassai Sho, Kanku Sho, Meikyo, Unsu, Tekki Nidan and Tekki Sandan. his teacher’s senior student Brennan Sensei also taught Simon two-man flow drills of Koryu Uchinadi. Simon was awarded 2nd Dan in Karate, Karate Jutsu and Jujutsu (Bugei Ju Hapan – 18 martial arts).

During my 2nd dan Karate grading

Simon during his 2nd dan Karate grading

In 2003 he was introduced to Kyoshi Carruthers’ own teacher Shihan Handyside 8th Dan of Shobukan Karate, a style which blended Shotokan with Malaysian Budokan which was derived from the teachings of Kanken Toyama. Mr Handyside had been graded by Hirokazu Kanazawa (as well as Budokan founder Chew Choo Soot) and Simon was admitted into Kokusai Budoin where his Karate grade was recognised in Kanazawa Soke’s division. Simon’s grade of 2nd Dan Nihon Jujutsu was also recognised in Shizuya Sato’s Nihon Jujutsu division.

My Nisseikai teacher Reiner Parsons and Tadanori Nobetsu who combined Goju Ryu with Taiwanese Feeding Crane

Nisseikai teacher Reiner Parsons and Tadanori Nobetsu who combined Goju Ryu with Taiwanese Feeding Crane

Simon trained with a number of other instructors and masters, notably Kyoshi Reiner Parsons and his teacher Hanshi Tadanori Nobetsu. A major influence on our style, Nobetsu’s Sensei’s Nisseikai combines Goju Ryu Karate with Feeding Crane (White Crane) Kung Fu and is one of the original schools under which the Bubishi was transmitted. Keegan was trained in forms like Seisan, Sanchin, Kururunfa, Saifa, Sanseiryu, Shisochin and Gekisai, also known as Fukyugata. The Gekisai kata is unique because it was jointly created by Goju Ryu founder Miyagi and Matsubayashi Ryu head Shoshin Nagamine, a student of Choki Motobu and Chotoku Kyan.

As an IMAF instructor in about 2003

As an IMAF instructor in about 2003

Simon Keegan (now 5th Dan) as a 2nd Dan Nihon jujutsu wearing IMAF badge

Simon Keegan (now 5th Dan) as a 2nd Dan Nihon jujutsu wearing IMAF badge

Simon’s teacher Reiner was awarded his 6th Dan by Ikuo Higuchi (Shoto Ryu headmaster) whose own teacher Makoto Gima was the man who joined with Gichin Funakoshi in introducing Karate (Shoto Ryu) to Japan in the 1920s. Simon was awarded his 3rd Dan in Shoto Ryu (lineage Funakoshi-Gima-Higuchi-Parsons-Keegan).

Simon was accepted into Kokusai Budoin, Japan. His grade of 2nd Dan was endorsed by Shizuya Sato, he also trained under Mitsuhiro Kondo, was graded under Hirokazu Kanazawa and Ikuo Higuchi's Shotokan and Shotokai divisions and his license was signed by the hereditary Shogun, Mr Tokugawa Yasuhisa

Simon was accepted into Kokusai Budoin, Japan. His grade of 2nd Dan was endorsed by Shizuya Sato, he also trained under Mitsuhiro Kondo, was graded under Hirokazu Kanazawa and Ikuo Higuchi’s Shotokan and Shotokai divisions and his license was signed by the hereditary Shogun, Mr Tokugawa Yasuhisa

Simon was also recognised as a regional officer of the Kokusai Budoin and was assistant to the UK secretary. Subsequently IMAF GB separated from Kokusai Budoin and became the United Kingdom Budo Federation (UKBF) and Simon was elected international director.

Simon with Hanshi Nobetsu, master of Feeding Crane

Simon with Hanshi Nobetsu, master of Feeding Crane

Simon promoted the UKBF’s inaugural seminar to celebrate 50 years of British Karate and the British Jujutsu Federation and Simon also become a member of the International Jujutsu Federation and the European Jujutsu Union. At this time Simon trained on seminars with the likes of Hanshi T Wingrove whose Karate Jutsu was largely based on the teachings of Uechi Ryu grandmaster Hiroshi Fujimoto; Shihan A Ruddock who was a personal student of the founder of Aikido; Hanshi A Tattersall the UK head of Dai Nippon Butokukai and headmaster of Myoshin Ryu and Hanshi Patrick McCarthy one of the greatest Karate researchers of the last 100 years.

With Alan Ruddock and Terry Wingrove in Poland

With Alan Ruddock and Terry Wingrove in Poland

Developing Hakuda Kempo Toshu Jutsu

With a strong foundation of decades of study in tradition Karate, Simon formalised his Karate system. Not only would it have the Shoto Ryu kata (Heians, Tekky, Bassai, Tekki, Empi, Kanku etc) it would also be taught with the science of Chinese Internal Martial Arts and the hard-soft insight of Nisseikai crane boxing. It would be underpinned by the Bushinkai Method of self defence and kata would be given deep analysis (bunkai) through grappling and hidden applications (oyo), two man forms and drills and weapons study.

Hangetsu kata being tested

Being Sanchin tested during 5th Dan grading

Simon was invited to be founder member of the English Karate Federation (World Karate Federation) and was awarded his 4th Dan by the World Karate Association. In 2007 as a 4th Dan he formalised his studies into a Karate/Jujutsu system called Hakuda Kempo Toshu Jutsu which featured in Traditional Karate magazine.

The national director of the Dai Nippon Butokukai gave the UKBF the mandate to awarded shogo (traditional Samurai titles) and Simon was awarded the title of Renshi (polished teacher).

Bushinkai's Karate method Hakuda Kempo Toshu Jutsu featured in Martial Arts Illustrated magazine

Bushinkai’s Karate method Hakuda Kempo Toshu Jutsu featured in Martial Arts Illustrated magazine

In 2012 Simon graded on the mat for his 5th Dan under Shobukan headteacher PAJ Handyside 8th Dan (under Shikon and the World Union of Karatedo Federations) and was honoured to be asked to perform a demo for Karate legend Alfie ‘the Animal’ Lewis with the likes of Sensei Terry O’Neil watching on. Simon also worked with UK Nippon, a Japanese cultural organisation and performed at a major Japanese festival where he demonstrated arguably Karate’s most advanced form Meikyo.


In 2013 Alfie interviewed Simon for Martial Arts Illustrated and Simon also joined Steve Rowe’s Shikon organisation, affiliated to the WUKF. Simon published an e-book called The Lost Book of Kushanku which has been read in over 100 countries. His second e-book is called The Lost Tiger of Canton. In 2014 Simon’s daughter Poppy began her formal Karate training age 5. She trains under Sensei Julian Mallalieu in Shito Ryu Karate.

David Keegan, Simon Keegan, Poppy Keegan

Three generations: David Keegan, Simon Keegan, Poppy Keegan

Simon Keegan’s grades:

  • 5th Dan Shobukan Karate (Shotokan/Budokan) Awarded in 2012 by Shihan PAJ Handyside 8th Dan. World Union of Karatedo Federations
  • Renshi Shoto Ryu Karate Awarded in 2010 by Dai Nippon Butokukai grandmaster Allan Tattersall 9th Dan
  • 4th Dan Freestyle Karate/Jujutsu Awarded in 2007 by World Karate Association, recognised by World Karate Federation
  • 3rd Dan Nisseikai Karate (Goju Ryu Karate/Feeding Crane) Awarded by Kyoshi R Parsons under Hanshi Tadanori Nobetsu, Kokusai Budoin Japan
  • 2nd Dan Nihon-den Jujutsu/Yawara. Ratified by Shizuya Sato 10th Dan, Kokusai Budoin Japan
  • 2nd Dan Kodokwan Judo (honourary). Awarded by Shihan J Kruger 7th Dan, European Jujitsu Union, Aiichi University Judo Club, Japan
  • 2nd Duan Kung Fu (Taiji Quan). Awarded by Sifu David Keegan

Previous grades superseded by the above include:

  • 2nd Dan Shotokan Karate. Awarded by Kyoshi R Carruthers 7th Dan, under Hanshi Hirokazu Kanazawa, Kokusai Budoin, Japan
  • 2nd Dan Karate Jutsu. Awarded by Shihan A Wilshaw 7th Dan, Nippon Traditional Kobudo
  • 2nd Dan Jujutsu/Bugei Ju Hapan (Iaido, Jodo, Aikijujutsu etc). Awarded by J Lee-Barron 8th Dan, Kiai Yamabushi Ryu
  • 1st Dan Bushido (Karate, Judo, Aikido, Kobudo). Awarded by S Bullough 8th Dan, World Karate Association
Simon in 2014 sparring with Muay Thai instructor Giorgio

Simon in 2014 sparring with Muay Thai instructor Giorgio


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