History: Earliest recorded British practitioners of Karate

In a previous article I presented a history of British Karate and Jujutsu from its Edwardian origins to 1972. This article acts as an appendix and is intended as a list of every British Karateka prior to 1963. The 1963 cutoff is not arbitrary. After this year, the Shotokai and Wado Ryu styles expanded so quickly in Britain it would be hard to keep track of every practitioner and it seems complete records do not survive. Whereas from 1956 to 1963, British Karate Federation records remain fairly comprehensive.

This article is designed to be a comprehensive list of every British Karateka prior to 1963 and as far as possible every grading that they took. Broadly speaking they are all Shotokan practitioners with some minor variances such as Yoseikan.

The previous article details the circumstances of the start of Karate but in a nutshell it is this: French Judoka Henri Plee started teaching Karate in Europe under the direction of Hiroo Mochizuki (Yoseikan) whose Karate was essentially old style Shotokan. British Judoka and Jujutsu teacher Vernon Bell began corresponding with Plee in 1956 and received certification to teach soon after. Bell began teaching a small group of students at his parents home in 1956, Hornchurch, Essex. I re-iterate – in 1956 there were no other Karate clubs in the UK other than the one taught by Vernon Bell. There may of course have been Jujutsu clubs whose instructors were aware of Karate, but Bell’s was the only one linked to an actual Japan-endorsed Karate organisation. Therefore the list naturally begins with Vernon Bell and his first five students who include Michael Manning, later Bell’s assistant and the first man to reach the brown belt grades in Britain.

Vernon Bell, Henri Plee, Hiroo Mochizuki

Vernon Bell, Henri Plee, Hiroo Mochizuki

Founder of British Karate movement: Vernon Bell, Hornchurch, Essex.
Already a seasoned Jujutsu and Judo teacher, began corresponding with French Karateka Henri Plee in February 1956. His Shodan certificate, signed by Minoru Mochizuki was dated April 1957.

The first students in 1956, trained in Hornchurch, Essex:

1. Michael Manning (previously studied Judo)
2. Ken Elliott (previously studied Judo)
3. DF Clarke
4. Gerald Tucker
5. Trevor Guilfoyle

The UK's first Karate club at Vernon Bell's parents' back garden in Hornchurch. Picture courtesy of Michael Manning

Elliott, Clarke, Bell, Manning, Guilfoyle. Picture courtesy of Michael Manning

First students to grade in England (April 30 1957): All passed 6th Kyu:

1) Guilfoyle (see above)
2) Tucker (see above)

Second students to grade in England (May 31 1957): All passed 6th Kyu:

1) Manning (see above)
2) Elliott (see above)
3) Clarke (see above)
4) P Byron

Trevor Guillfoye sparring with Harry Rayner as Bell looks on. Picture courtesy of Michael Manning

Trevor Guillfoye sparring with Harry Rayner as Bell looks on. Picture courtesy of Michael Manning

First recorded grading officiated by Hoang Nam (July 26 1956): All passed as far as it is known:

1) Guilfoyle 4th Kyu (double graded)
2) Tucker 4th Kyu (double graded)
3) Elliott 5th Kyu
4) Manning 5th Kyu
5) D Dyer 6th Kyu
6) P Brandon 6th Kyu
7) B Dolan 6th Kyu
8) D Blake 6th Kyu
Also attending post-grading training was the first female Karateka who was named Higgins

Early picture of Vernon Bell. Picture courtesy of Michael Manning

Early picture of Vernon Bell. Picture courtesy of Michael Manning

6th Kyu grading October 1957:

1) Anderson (passed 6th Kyu)
2) L Pearson (failed?)

Grading December 1957 (including first brown belt grading in UK):

1) Guilfoyle 3rd Kyu
2) Tucker 3rd Kyu
3) Manning 4th Kyu
4) Elliott 4th Kyu
5) Dyer 5th Kyu
6) Blake 5th Kyu
7) Byron (failed and remained 6th Kyu?)

Lefevre throws Manning. Guilfoyle and Gerald Tucker sparring. Picture courtesy of Michael Manning

Lefevre throws Manning. Guilfoyle and Gerald Tucker sparring. Picture courtesy of Michael Manning

June 1958 grading (all passed 5th Kyu):

1) J Sen
2) H Rayner
3) J Russell,
4) R Armstrong
5) P Conlon

July 1 1958 special brown belt grading:

1) Michael Manning (3rd Kyu)

Murikami kicks Manning. Photograph courtesy of Michael Manning

Murikami kicks Manning. Photograph courtesy of Michael Manning

Early students of the new London Dojo (1958):

F Fox, C Musgrove, G Izzard, K Richardson, J Lydon, Revill

December 1958 grading:

1) Armstrong (4th Kyu)
2) Rayner (4th Kyu)
3) Russell (4th Kyu)
4) Sen (4th Kyu)
5) Conlon (5th Kyu)
6) Fox (5th Kyu)
7) Hughes (5th Kyu)
8) Clarke (6th Kyu)

Manning kicks Terry Wingrove. Guilfoyle and Gerald Tucker sparring. Picture courtesy of Michael Manning

Manning kicks Terry Wingrove. Guilfoyle and Gerald Tucker sparring. Picture courtesy of Michael Manning

Tetsuji Murikami (1927-1987) 3rd Dan Yoseikan under Minoru Mochizuki and 1st Dan of the JKA arrived in England in July 1959.

Note: In July 1959, Terry Wingrove commenced Karate study having previously studied Jujutsu with Bell since 1956 and previously Judo in 1952. Around the same time Jimmy Neal commenced Karate training.

First Karate grading in UK, held under a Japanese instructor (Tetsuji Murakami) July 17 1959:

1) Armstrong (3rd Kyu)
2) Rayner (3rd Kyu)
3) Russell (3rd Kyu)

A early shot of the Upminster Dojo

A seminar with Kenshiro Abbe

Two days later on July 19 1959 (note Vernon Bell was now 2nd Dan Karate):

1) Vernon Bell (2nd Dan – awarded by Murakami – the first man in England to be awarded this
2) Michael Manning (2nd Kyu) – note the first man in England to grade for this
3) Trotter (6th Kyu)
4) Wardle (5th Kyu – double graded)

Subsequent students grading included:

Goss, McEvoy, P Milner, Carter, F Gille, Dougherty, Gunns, Farkas.

Note: It is not known if P Milner (who failed) was Phil Milner (later a notable Karateka)

Gille (who also failed) was Fred Gille (later a notable Karateka)

Guilfoyle and Gerald Tucker sparring. Picture courtesy of Michael Manning

Guilfoyle and Gerald Tucker sparring. Picture courtesy of Michael Manning

February and April 1960 gradings:

1) Michael Manning (1st Kyu) – note the first man in England to grade for this
2) AR Martin (failed 6th Kyu)
3) Lydon (failed 6th Kyu)

Liverpool Dojo 1962. Pictured include Charlie Naylor, Andy Sherry, Alan  Smith, Terry Astley, Frank Cope and instructor Fred Gille.

Liverpool Dojo 1962. Pictured include Charlie Naylor, Andy Sherry, Alan Smith, Terry Astley, Frank Cope and instructor Fred Gille.

LIVERPOOL DOJO FROM 1959

The British Karate Federation’s first Liverpool representative was Fred Gille, previously a Judoka who applied for membership on September 29 1959.

First Liverpool Karate students, 1959:

1) F Gille (see above)
2) Barry Juxon
3) Kenneth Caulfield (previously studied Jujutsu with Jack Britten)

FIRST NATIONAL GRADING UNDER MURAKAMI August 1960 – Held in Scarborough

Terry Wingrove (London) 5th Kyu
Fred Kidd (Middlesborough) 5th Kyu
E Shaw (Stoke Dojo) 5th Kyu
A Tranter (Stoke Dojo) 5th Kyu
R Buckner (Essex) 5th Kyu
P Butler (Sunderland) 5th Kyu
C Cabot (London) 5th Kyu
T Laverick (Sunderland) 5th Kyu
V Maxwell (Essex) 5th Kyu
R Salmon (Essex) 5th Kyu

British Karate Federation footage from 1964:

Followed by grading in Essex a few days later:

C Alibone (6th Kyu)
E Harris (5th Kyu)
R Richardson (4th Kyu)
Jimmy Neal (5th Kyu?)
J Wijesundera (5th Kyu?)
Michael Manning (ratified 1st Kyu by Murakami)

December grading in Essex by Murakami:

Mike Dinsdale (6th Kyu)
K Goult (6th Kyu)
K Mansfield (6th Kyu)
S Morgan (6th Kyu)
J Shepherd (6th Kyu)
G Stubbings (6th Kyu)
E Tillet (6th Kyu)
D Williams (6th Kyu)
R Buckner (4th Kyu)
V Maxwell (4th Kyu)
Jimmy Neal (4th Kyu)
K Richardson (4th Kyu)
Terry Wingrove (4th Kyu)
J Wijesundera (3rd Kyu)

Bell, Michael Manning, Brian Hammond and others attend a seminar with Kenshiro Abbe. Picture courtesy of Michael Manning

Early shot of the Upminster Dojo. Picture courtesy of Michael Manning

April 1961 grading, Upminster:

J Alibone (6th Kyu)
K Goult (5th Kyu)
Brian Hammond (5th Kyu)
E Harris (5th Kyu)
S Morgan (5th Kyu)
Alan Ruddock (5th Kyu)
J Shepherd (5th Kyu)
E Tillet (5th Kyu)
D Williams (5th Kyu)
Bob Buckner (3rd Kyu)
Terry Wingrove (3rd Kyu)

scarb

LIVERPOOL DOJO FROM 1961

1961 members:

1) Andy Sherry  (previously studied Jujutsu with Jack Britten)
2) Terence Astley  (previously studied Jujutsu with Jack Britten)
3) Michael Walls  (previously studied Jujutsu with Jack Britten)

Note Juxon was the first Liverpool student to grade, being awarded 6th Kyu under Murakami in 1961. Technically this made him senior to his teacher Gille, who failed that grading (see above)

Other 1961 Liverpool students:

T Barry, G Bingham, Alan Dewar, G Dicker, J Donoghue, G Frodsham, G Galletly, K May, P Meir, Charles Naylor, Alan Smith, E Travis, T Wignall, F Wignall, J Wilson.

Note: Representatives of other centres:

Buckinghamshire Dojo was established by Art Malia in 1961
Scottish Dojo by Edward Ainsworth in 1961
Lincolnshire Dojo by Douglas Pettman in 1961
Ireland Dojo by Alan Ruddock in 1961
Scarborough Dojo by Fred Kidd in 1961
York Dojo by Gordon Thompson in 1961
Stoke Dojo by Edward Shaw in 1961 (previously studied under Kenshiro Abbe)
Leicester Dojo by Robert Johnson in 1962 (previously trained in Singapore)

Note: Middlesborough Dojo was established by Fred Kidd and later Walter Seaton and it was at this dojo that the UK’s first female blackbelt Pauline Bindra (nee Laville) commenced her training.

August 1961 Grading (Essex):

R Barker (6th Kyu)
S Dalton (6th Kyu)
D Flateau (6th Kyu)
B Juxon (6th Kyu)
R Lamport (6th Kyu)
G McLeod (6th Kyu)
Edward Ainsworth (5th Kyu – double graded)
D Pettman (5th Kyu – double graded)
C Cabot (4th Kyu)
K Goult (4th Kyu)
Brian Hammond (4th Kyu)
Alan Ruddock (4th Kyu)
J Shepherd (4th Kyu)
D Williams (4th Kyu)

First Grading in Liverpool conducted on September 24 1961 by Vernon Bell:

1) T Astley (6th Kyu)
2) G Bingham (6th Kyu)
3) C Butler (6th Kyu)
4) K Caulfield (6th Kyu)
5) G Dicker (6th Kyu)
6) J Donoghue (6th Kyu)
7) K McCaldon (6th Kyu)
8) P Meir (6th Kyu)
9) Andy Sherry (6th Kyu)
10) P Sloan (6th Kyu)
11) M Walls (6th Kyu)
12) T Wignall (6th Kyu)
13) F Williams (6th Kyu)
14) J Wilson (6th Kyu)
15) Fred Gille (Honourary 5th Kyu)
16) Barry Juxon (5th Kyu)
17) Charlie Naylor (5th Kyu)
18) B Patsky (4th Kyu)

Charles Naylor

Charles Naylor

Liverpool grading December 1961:

T Barry (6th Kyu)
A Dewar (6th Kyu)
G Galletly (6th Kyu)
K May (6th Kyu)
Alan Smith (6th Kyu)
E Travis (6th Kyu)
F Williams (5th Kyu)

Essex grading December 1961:

B Henn (5th Kyu)
S Dalton (5th Kyu)
E Harris (4th Kyu)
A Malia (4th Kyu)
J Shepherd (3rd Kyu)

Note Buckinghamshire student Arthur Malia went on to become a senior practitioner of the Korean art of Mo Dok Kwan and Bell saw him as his US representative.

Early members of BKF Scotland:

P Bannerman, J Bell, H Hackett, J Kelso, j malley, E McGowan, J McLean, J Mitchell, R Park, J Shaw

THE MANCHESTER DOJO:

Martin Stott who had trained under a Vietnamese instructor in France launched a Manchester Dojo in 1961. He is the first Karateka listed so far that was not affiliated to Vernon Bell’s British Karate Federation.

First Manchester members whose names are recorded:

1) Martin Stott (started approx 1961)
2) Danny Connor (started approx 1962)
3) Roy Stanhope (started approx 1962)
4) Tony Hudson (started approx 1962)

The first British JKA Blackbelt

Charles Mack may have studied Shotokan Karate as early as 1958, rivalling Vernon Bell as one of the UK’s earliest Karate practitioners. However he did not study in teach or Britain at this time. He spent seven years in Japan where he trained under Masatoshi Nakayama. Although Bell was the first British 1st Dan, that was in the Yoseikan organisation. Bell was later ratified by the JKA but Mack was already graded 1st Dan JKA.

March 1962 BKF Grading at Buckinghamshire:

J Winichx (6th Kyu)
F Alonso (5th Kyu)
E Daniels (5th Kyu)
M Echeverna (5th Kyu)
R Norman (5th Kyu)
B Norris (5th Kyu)
G Sullivan (5th Kyu)
M Thornton (5th Kyu)
A Love (6th Kyu)
John Chisholm (6th Kyu)
Jimmy Neal (2nd Kyu)
Terry Wingrove (2nd Kyu)

May and June 1962 Liverpool gradings:

S Coy (6th Kyu)
S McConell (6th Kyu)
K Skinner (6th Kyu)
T Astley (5th Kyu)
F Cope (5th Kyu)
Joseph Chialton (5th Kyu)
J Galletly (5th kyu)
Charlie Naylor (4th Kyu)
A Smith (4th Kyu)

R Stephens (5th Kyu)
R Woolfall (5th Kyu)

Selected early 1962 grading results:

A Love (5th Kyu)
K Goult (3rd Kyu)
D Williams (3rd Kyu)
J Chisholm (5th Kyu)
Walter Seaton (6th Kyu)
Fred Kidd (4th Kyu)
T Astley (5th Kyu)
Andy Sherry (4th Kyu)

Scarborough Summer school grading results;

Liverpool students:

T Astley (4th Kyu)
A Dewar (4th Kyu)
A Smith (4th Kyu)
R Stephens (4th Kyu)
R Woolfall (4th Kyu)
Charlie Naylor (3rd Kyu)
Andy Sherry (3rd Kyu)

Upminster students:

J Chisholm (4th Kyu)
A Love (4th kyu)

Scotland:

Edwards Ainsworth (4th Kyu)

August 1962 gradings:

Liverpool:

S Moore (5th Kyu)
J Chialton (5th Kyu)
G Gallately (4th Kyu)
K McCaldon (4th Kyu)

North Yorks:

K Bauer (6th Kyu)
J Clark (6th Kyu)
J Gough (6th Kyu)
J Sparkes (6th Kyu)
F Higgins (5th Kyu)
Walter Seaton (5th Kyu)
Gordon Thompson (5th Kyu)

Final gradings on 1962 saw the following awards:

G Heyward (5th Kyu)
J Sparkes (5th Kyu)
F Higgins (4th Kyu)
Walter Seaton (4th Kyu)
Fred Kidd (3rd Kyu)
K Bloomfield (6th Kyu)
H Frost (6th Kyu)
J Chialton (4th Kyu)
F Cope (4th Kyu)
J Donoghue (4th Kyu)
R Stephens (4th Kyu)
R Woolfall (4th Kyu)
B Williamson (6th Kyu)
K Bauer (5th Kyu)

February 1963 gradings in Liverpool:

K Bloomfield (6th kyu)
H Frost (6th kyu)
E Travis (6th kyu)
J Galletly (4th Kyu)
K McCaldon (4th Kyu)
S Moore (4th Kyu)
P Sloan (4th Kyu)
M Walls (4th Kyu)
W Whitehead (4th Kyu)

Epilogue:

In August 1963 the grade of 3rd Kyu was awarded to students including Joseph Chilaton and Andy Sherry

In November 1963 Murakami visited Liverpool again for a grading. This visit was significant as it was the first grading of Terry O’Neill  (who passed 5th Kyu) and because an R Bell graded to 8th Kyu, the first time the Kyu grades were extended beyond 6 kyu grades.

In December 1963 the first European championships were held. The Great Britain team consisted of captain Terry Wingrove (2nd Kyu),Jimmy Neal 2nd Kyu), Andy Sherry (3rd Kyu), Alan Smith (3rd Kyu), Brian Hammond (4th Kyu) and Ron Mills. It is here that we conclude this history of the early British Karate practitioners. Shortly after this Shotokai Karate was established under M Harada, Wado Ryu under T Suzuki and a tsunami of Shotokan arrived led by masters Kanazawa, Enoeda, Kase and Shirai.

Michael Manning’s status as the senior grade in Britain (other than Murakami and Bell) held for three years as Murakami awarded 1st Kyu to Terry Wingrove and Jimmy Neal.

Vernon Bell was ratified as a JKA blackbelt on February 5 1964 having corresponded with the JKA in Tokyo and relinquished his Yoseikan grade. Taiji Kase, Hirokazu Kanazawa, Keinosuke Enoeda and Hiroshi Shirai gave the first JKA demo at Kensington Town Hall on April 21 1965.

None of the aforementioned students (Wingrove, Manning, Neal, etc) attained blackbelt in these early days (although many including Wingrove, Naylor, Seaton did later in their Karate careers) . It is thought that Martin Stott, Danny Connor and Roy Stanhope may have achieved 1st Dan as early as 1964 but it is not certain to what extent these grades were recognised.

In other words as 1963 gave way to 1964. the only non-Japanese Karate blackbelt in Britain was Vernon Bell (and Charles Mack in Japan) and the only holders of 1st Kyu were Michael Manning, Terry Wingrove and Jimmy Neal.

Jack Green was awarded 2nd Kyu by master Kanazawa on June 24 1965; Andy Sherry and Joseph Chialton were graded 1st Kyu around the same time; and Eddie Whitcher and Robert Williams were awarded 1st Kyu in February 1966.

It was not until Andy Sherry and Joseph Chialton of the Red Triangle, Liverpool were graded 1st Dan by master Enoeda on February 10 1966 and Blackpool area instructor Jack Green around the same time.

The first ever British team consisted of Brian Hammond, Andy Sherry, Ron Mills, Jimmy Neal and captained by Terry Wingrove.

The first ever British team consisted of Brian Hammond, Andy Sherry, Ron Mills, Jimmy Neal and captained by Terry Wingrove.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s