Our club and chief instructor are featured in a video interview in Issue 3 of Martial Arts Guardian that you can also view here:
MAG intro on Simon’s background
Simon Keegan is the third Guardian to be introduced in our video interviews.
He is very much a traditional martial artist with a strong background in Karate, Jujutsu and Tai Chi. His expertise in this field introduces regular historical and technical features in Martial Arts Guardian.
He has trained with some of the world’s senior martial arts masters and his grades have been awarded by some of Japan’s most prestigious groups.
His father David Keegan is a Tai Chi teacher specialising in Yang style and Chinese sword, who has also studied several Japanese martial arts.
Simon was introduced to martial arts as a youngster by his dad, who had in turn first studied Jujutsu in 1959.
Simon trained for around eight years in ‘Bushido’ a style bringing together Karate, Aikido, Judo and Kobudo and then moved to more traditional Karate in the Shobukan style, first with Bob Carruthers and then with the founder Shihan Phil Handyside 8th Dan. Shobukan differs from Shotokan in that it is also derived from Malaysian Budokan, a style derived from the Karate Jutsu of Kanken Toyama and Chinese martial arts. It is therefore softer and more rounded.
In 2003 Simon was accepted into Japan’s oldest martial arts fraternity the Kokusai Budoin (which has included masters like Gogen Yamaguchi, Kyuzo Mifune, Hironori Ohtsuka and Hirokazu Kanazawa) and was recognised as a 2nd Dan in Kanazawa Sensei’s division and a 2nd Dan Jujutsu under Shizuya Sato’s division. He subsequently trained in Nisseikai Karate under Kyoshi Reiner Parsons, a style which takes Goju Ryu back to its Naha Te origins, with study of Feeding Crane Kung Fu. Simon was able to train with the grandmaster himself Tadanori Nobetsu and graded on the mat up to 3rd Dan. Today he is still a member of Kokusai Budoin and is bringing on board some of Japan and the world’s most knowledgeable researchers to MAG.
Training on seminars with a range of masters from Mitsuhiro Kondo to Terry Wingrove to Patrick McCarthy (who he interviews in this issue), as a 4th Dan in Karate and Jujutsu Simon developed a system called Hakuda Kempo Toshu Jutsu and was one of the founder members of the English Karate Federation.
His aim in Toshu Jutsu (one of the older ways of reading the characters for “Karate”) is to take the art back to its combative source. His teaching is very bunkai-centric and teaches each kata movement with reference to real combat.
From physical and academic study of some of the original Okinawan and Chinese arts from which Karate was derived, Simon is determined to restore Karate to a well rounded and practical art. His studies are often reflected in the content of MAG. In issue 1 he demonstrated Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Iaido, in Issue 2 Nihon Jujutsu and Issue 3 Sun Style Tai Chi. He has also researched the history of British Karate and Jujutsu which have also featured on our pages.
One of his research projects is called “The Lost Book of Kushanku” and in it (featured soon in MAG) he unveils one of the original documents that influenced the development of Karate.
In 2012 Simon graded on the mat to 5th Dan under Shihan Handyside and he was previously awarded the title of Renshi (polished teacher) under the authority of the national head of Dai Nippon Butokukai, the same organisation that awarded this title to Gichin Funakoshi.
Although Simon’s passion is in traditional martial arts, he also features arts like MMA and this month interviews UFC star Tom Blackledge, who was once Simon’s classmate in traditional Jujutsu.
As a journalist for 18 years he has worked for national newspapers including the Daily Mirror, Metro, Sunday People, Daily Star, magazines like New magazine and The Big Issue and he has also edited three local newspapers.
Simon’s expertise in both traditional martial arts and journalism are one of the important aspects of our magazine and we hope you enjoy his interview.