About our Karate method


Our Karate method is above all a simple effective self defence method. From day one students are taught a few simple movements that make for good self defence habits – the way we move into an attack, the way we guard and cover and the tools we use and the targets at which they are directed. It is a complete martial art in the sense that all ranges are covered, from standing to grappling. Although we do some drills with a competitive nature (such as sparring) the focus is on combat in an environment where anything goes.


Brown belts getting stuck in

Not just punches and kicks

Not just punches and kicks


When and where are the classes?

Classes (resuming after Christmas on January 8) are Thursday evenings 8pm on the top floor at the Hakutora Academy (formerly known as Van Dang), Newton Street, Manchester. Prices are £6.


What is the aim of the Karate classes?

1) Self defence: Teaching that self defence can be scientific and pragnatic.
2) Karate that incorporates Jujutsu: Teaching that Karate and Jujutsu are two sides of the same coin
3) Karate that incorporates Tai Chi: Teaching that Karate includes the technology of the Chinese internal martial arts
4) Karate as a complete combat system: Teaching that Matsumura and Azato’s Shuri Te was a complete martial art
5) Back to the source: Researching the source of Karate/Jujutsu in the arts of Hakuda, Yawara and Toshu Jutsu
6) Kata as a complete syllabus: Relating the skills back to the kata through Bunkai and Oyo
7) Fitness, confidence and enjoyment

Simon Keegan 5th Dan and Kicki Holm 2nd Dan practising Kobudo

Simon Keegan 5th Dan and Kicki Holm 2nd Dan practising Kobudo

About the Bushinkai School

Bushinkai was established almost 15 years ago. The school is comprised of White Lion Academy (teaching Karate, Jujutsu and Kobudo) and the Metal Tiger Academy (teaching Tai Chi, Chi Kung and related Chinese martial arts). Bushinkai has a great reputation and we don’t chop and change for the latest fads. Our focus is and always will be on the traditional arts of Japan, China and Okinawa. Bushinkai is about excellence, effectiveness and tradition.


David Keegan (head of Metal Tiger Academy), Simon Keegan (head of White Lion Academy) and Poppy Keegan (orange tab in Shito Ryu)

Does the Karate system have a name?

Hakuda Kempo Toshu Jutsu is the name of our Karate, Jujutsu and Kobudo system. The name Hakuda Kempo Toshu Jutsu is a throwback to the pre-war Karate systems (names such as Ryukyu Kempo Tode Jutsu or Rentan Goshin Karate Jutsu were used in Okinawa). Hakuda is an old term for Jujutsu or Yawara common to southwest Japan and Toshu Jutsu is an old Okinawan term for Karate. Many people think of Jujutsu as Judo/BJJ a grappling art but styles such as Akiyama Yoshin Ryu or Yagyu Shingan Ryu had much more in common with Karate. Hakuda Kempo Toshu Jutsu aims to take Karate back to its roots as a complete combat art.

Blackbelts Simon Keegan, Dan Sanchez and Kicki Holm demonstrating a two man kata and its solo drill:

Tell us more about the self defence side…

The Bushinkai Method is central to our martial arts. The belief is that whether you are teaching Karate, Wing Chun, Ninjutsu or Aikido, there are certain boxes that must be ticked for the art to be self defence worthy. We call these the 3 Sciences. The Science of Violence, The Science of Technique and The Science of Learning. Understanding self defence, gaining the technical principle competance to make techniques effective and the ability to learn the arts so they are effective. Read more about our self defence approach.

Van Dang Martial Arts

Van Dang Martial Arts

Tell us more about the Dojo:

Hakutora Academy is our Hombu Dojo (school headquarters). Formerly known as Van Dang it is Manchester’s premier martial arts centre. A three storey Dojo teaching Karate, MMA, kickboxing, Muay Thai, Jeet Kune Do, Kali, Wing Chun and many more arts. It is a martial arts centre for martial artists. Don’t forget it also has the area’s best martial arts shop downstairs including the Hakutora range of equipment.

What associations are Bushinkai affiliated to?

Shikon is our association run by Sifu Steve Rowe. This means we are affiliated to Karate England, the English Karate Council, the World Union of Karatedo Federations, the International Karate Union, United World Karate, the British Council for Chinese Martial Arts (BCCMA), the European Wushu Federation and the International Wushu Federation. Therefore Bushinkai grades, whether in Karate or Tai Chi or recognised by the main governing bodies in each country and the world.

Simon with Hanshi Nobetsu, (9th Dan Karate) chief director of Kokusai Budoin

Simon with Hanshi Nobetsu, (9th Dan Karate) chief director of Kokusai Budoin and founder of Nisseikai Karate

Kokusai Budoin UK is the British branch country of Kokusai Budoin (IMAF), Japan’s oldest martial arts fraternity. Kokusai Budoin is a venerable organisation that has included masters like Hironori Ohtsuka, Gogen Yamaguchi, Kyuzo Mifune, Minoru Mochizuki and Hirokazu Kanazawa. Bushinkai is a member of Kokusai Budoin UK which means we have a direct link to the senior grandmasters in the world of each of the Japanese martial arts. Kokusai Budoin, like Bushinkai is about tradition and excellence.

Fumio Demura 9th Dan, Simon Keegan 5th Dan

Fumio Demura 9th Dan, Simon Keegan 5th Dan

Brief instructor bio:

Simon Keegan holds the grade of 5th Dan in Karate and Dan grades in several other martial arts. He has decades of training in the martial arts and in the UK branch of Japan’s oldest martial arts association he is the highest graded Shotokan practitioner.

He started training in basic Karate and Jujutsu with his dad David Keegan (now 5th Dan Taiji Quan, Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu) in the early 1980s. Simon’s great uncle on his mum’s side was also a blackbelt in old style Jujutsu so Simon always grew up around the martial arts. He joined his first club aged 10 and as a teenager joined the Bushido Academy (studying Karate, Judo, Aikido and Kobudo) where he trained for nine years and was awarded blackbelt. He also joined a Chinese internal martial arts academy (studying Yang style Tai Chi, Sun style, some Hsing-I and Chinese sword) where he trained nine years. He subsequently trained in the Shotokan family of Karate (a blend of Shobukan and Bujinkai) with Kyoshi Bob Carruthers for around 10 years and less frequently in Nisseikai (a blend of Goju Ryu and Feeding Crane) with Kyoshi Reiner Parsons over a period of about 10 years.

Simon was inducted into the Kokusai Budoin in 2003 and has trained with masters like Tadanori Nobetsu, Shizuya Sato, Fumio Demura, Mitsuhiro Kondo and many more. His most recent grading was to 5th Dan in 2012, grading on the mat with Shihan Handyside.


Grades and other awards:

Having graded 1st Dan in 1999, Simon’s grades of 2nd Dan Shotokan Karate, 2nd Dan Tai Chi, 2nd Dan Nihon Jujutsu and 2nd Dan Judo were recognised in Kokusai Budoin by masters like Hirokazu Kanazawa 10th Dan (Karate and Yang style Tai Chi) and Shizuya Sato 10th Dan (Nihon Jujutsu and Judo) of the Kokusai Budoin organisation which was presided over by the hereditary shogun and Japanese Royal Family. Training and grading to 3rd Dan under Reiner Parsons (himself graded by Shoto Ryu Headteacher Ikuo Higuchi) and his teacher Tadanori Nobetsu, headteacher of Nisseikai Karate.

Being awarded 4th Dan Renshi in Shoto Ryu Karate and Nihon Jujutsu, in 2007 Simon established a system of Karate called Hakuda Kempo Toshu Jutsu and attended seminars with senior teachers like Patrick McCarthy, Terry Wingrove, Allan Tattersall and Alan Ruddock. In 2012 Simon was awarded 5th Dan by his teacher’s teacher Shihan Handyside 8th Dan in Shobukan Karate and shortly afterwards Simon was interviewed for Martial Arts Illustrated by Master Alfie Lewis. Simon gave major national demos in Liverpool and Manchester. His studies have also appeared in Combat magazine, Traditional Karate, Fighters and several newspapers.

He trains every single day and currently enjoys cross training with senior Muay Thai practitioners.


What are some of the styles that have influenced Bushinkai?

Nisseikai is one of the styles that has influenced our Karate. Nisseikai was established around 50 years ago by Hanshi Tadanori Nobetsu who combined his study of Goju Ryu with Feeding Crane Kung Fu. Nobetsu Hanshi is the chief director of Kokusai Budoin. Simon trained under Nobetsu Hanshi as far back as 2004 and also trained and graded under Nisseikai Kyoshi Reiner Parsons.

Bob Carruthers and Reiner Parsons: I've trained and graded under both of these karate teachers and learnt a lot from both

Bob Carruthers and Reiner Parsons: I’ve trained and graded under both of these karate teachers and learnt a lot from both

Shobukan Karate was established by Shihan PAJ Handyside 8th Dan who has over 51 years in the martial arts. Among his teachers were Shotokan instructors Tomita, Kobara and Kato but his biggest influence was Hirokazu Kanazawa 10th Dan. Not only did Kanazawa Sensei train under the founder of Shoto Ryu, Gichin Funakoshi and masters like Masatoshi Nakayama he also travelled to Okinawa where he studied with Shorin Ryu masters Chibana and Higa and also studied Yang style Tai Chi. Another of Mr Handyside’s mentors was Malaysian Budokan founder Chew Choo Soot 10th Dan whose style was derived from the teachings of Okinawan master Kanken Toyama who may be considered a Tomari Te practitioner.

Shihan Handyside 8th Dan visiting our Dojo

Shihan Handyside 8th Dan visiting our Dojo

Is Karate really any good as self defence?

Yes – and so is any martial art if taught correctly.

Central to our teachings is the Bushinkai Method of Self Defence. This is not a style or syllabus but rather a disciplined way of teaching and learning that maximises the student’s capacity to improve. How Does it do this? We divide our teachings into 3 areas: 1) The Science of Violence, The Science of Technique, The Science of Learning.

The first thing we must do is understand that effectiveness transcends style. it doesn’t matter whether you study Karate, Wing Chun, Ninjutsu or Jujutsu – your martial arts should equip you for self defence. So stripping away all the style, etiquette, terminology and abstract notions, we deconstruct the syllabus into its raw components.

a) The Science of Violence

Self defence is not random and about guesswork. It is about habitual acts of physical violence. In other words what are the realities of self defence? If you are a Taekwondo student and you really think people on horseback are going to attack you with flying kicks, you need to think about what you are being taught. In your training do you encounter shoves, headbutts, garment grabs, hair grabs, bearhugs, kicks, chokes? If not, then consider cross training. If you do not know the nature of the game you cannot play it.

b) The Science of Technique

You have a reverse punch for example. Is it as hard as it could be? What about your feet, your knees, your hips, your tail bone. Are you using your waist. Are your shoulders relaxed, are your elbow down. Are you breathing correctly? Are you punching with the correct part of the fist? Are you targeting the right part of the opponent? Could you be punching faster? Could you telegraph it less? How would a boxer do the same punch? How would a Thai boxer? Could the fundamental principles of this punch be applied to anything else like a throw? How about its relationship with combative distance and unbalancing. Now you have done this with your reverse punch, do it with every technique.

Use drills to build reactions

Testing structure and power is essential

c) The Science of Learning.

If you think about how we learn other things, for example learning a language or learning to drive, the person learning uses many different methods to ensure the information stays with them. it is ok to be shown something and copy it, but how do we learn it so that it becomes instinctive or when we are under pressure? This is why we use drills, testing methods, kata and resistance training.

How come Karate and Jujutsu are taught as one system?

Some systems historically have combined Karate and Jujutsu. For example Hironori Ohtsuka’s Wado Ryu and Minoru Mochizuki’s Yoseikan. But there are reasons, both historic and technical why we believe the two arts are complimentary:

1) Most people think of Karate as linear “punch kick block” and Jujutsu as softer “throw choke grapple” actually both arts were in no way restricted to these areas and both included a complete repertoire.

2) People think of Karate as Okinawan-Chinese but pioneers like Matsumura (fl1850) and Azato (fl1880) received their formal qualifications with the Japanese Jigen Ryu

3) What many think of as Jujutsu is actually Judo, modern Jujutsu, Brazilian Jujutsu which are essentially sport forms of the safer grappling techniques of Tenshin Shinyo Ryu. Many Jujutsu styles were closer to Karate in appearance. For example, Yagyu Shingan Ryu very much resembled the karate form Naihanchi and Yoshin Ryu was originally referred to as Hakuda, a striking based system close in appearance to Karate.

In Bushinkai the techniques are taught intertwined. For example a Gedan Barai (Karate’s lower block) can be applied as a Tai Otoshi (one of Jujutsu’s most popular throws). This is true of all the Karate and Jujutsu techniques we teach.


Karate or Jujutsu?

What Kata are taught?

To give them their Japanese names, Heian Shodan, Nidan, Sandan, Yondan and Godan, Tekki, Bassai Dai, Empi, Kanku Dai, Wankan, Matsu, Nijushiho, Hangetsu, Jutte, Bassai Sho, Kanku Sho, Gojushiho and Meikyo.

Where can I find out more information?

This website includes over 200 articles. You can choose technical, historical or club news in the browser.

Also don’t forget to read Simon’s e-book on Karate history, The Lost Book of Kushanku. 


New students: Neelu about to counter a rear grab by Emma

New students: Neelu about to counter a rear grab by Emma



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