Bushinkai chief instructor Simon Keegan followed in the footsteps of a number of his relatives (read about his extensive family history here) in studying the martial arts, and began his training at an early age (in basic Karate, Jujutsu and numerous weapons) then joined his first club age 10. After continuing his studies in many diverse arts, he joined the Bushido Academy studying Karate, Judo, Aikido and Kobudo. By the age of 16 Simon was competing at national level in Karate, kickboxing and weapons.
At the age of 16, under the tutelege of Sensei Steve Bullough, Simon won his first national gold medal in freestyle Karate and regularly competed across the FSK, WKA and EMA circuits. At the age of 19 Simon began formal study of Chinese internal martial arts.
In 1999 Simon was awarded Blackbelt 1st Dan following a grueling 8 hour grading in which he was tested on his Karate, Judo, Jujutsu, Kobudo, Iaido and Kickboxing skills. He began teaching as an assistant instructor soon afterwards and in 2000 launched his own club which became the Bushinkai Academy.
Simon continued his studies in many different martial arts including Shotokan Karate (Seiki Juku school) with Kyoshi Bob Carruthers; Koryu Uchinadi Kempo Karate Jutsu (Shoshin Ryu school) with Sensei Steve Brennan and trained with a Jujutsu school called Kiai Yamabushi Ryu in which 18 martial arts (Bugei Ju Hapan) were taught including Jujutsu, Aikijujutsu, Koppo Jutsu, Kosshi Jutsu, Kenjutsu, Iaijutsu, Jodo and Ninjutsu.
Simon was awarded the grade of 2nd Dan and the traditional scroll of Menkyo Mokuroku after a seven hour grading in London and a few months later graded again for the 2nd Dan in Shotokan in another hard fought grading.
In 2003, Simon was accepted into the Kokusai Budoin (International Martial Arts Federation) one of Japan’s most venerable martial arts fraternities presided over by none other than the hereditary Shogun Tokugawa Yasuhisa. Simon’s grades of 2nd Dan (which he held in Shotokan, Tai Chi, Judo, and Jujutsu were recognised in the divisions headed by:- Hirokazu Kanazawa 10th Dan Shotokan Karate and Yang style Tai Chi master – Shizuya Sato 10th Dan Nihon Jujutsu and 9th Dan Judo.
In 2003, Simon’s Shotokan teacher Bob Carruthers introduced Simon to his own teacher Shihan Phil Handyside who taught Bob in the 1970s. Mr Handyside was taught Shotokan by numerous Japanese masters including Kanazawa (who awarded him his 1st Dan) but was also a student of Malaysian Budokan grandmaster Chew Choo Soot (who awarded him his 2nd Dan).
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. 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. 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 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, Shihan A Ruddock, Hanshi A Tattersall and Hanshi Patrick McCarthy.
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. 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).
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. In 2013 Alfie interviewed Simon for Martial Arts Illustrated and Simon also joined Steve Rowe’s Shikon organisation, affiliated to the WUKF.
In 2014 he renewed his membership of Kokusai Budoin, and also attended a seminar with master Fumio Demura.
in 2015 he became the editor of Martial Arts Guardian.