English Karate 5th AnniversaryAn eclectic mix of instructors and students from 12 countries converged on the National Sports Centre Bisham Nr. Marlow, Bucks over the weekend of 3rd, 4th & 5th August and with instructors from Japan, Okinawa & China the three day BUDOSAI event covered 5 disciplines (Karate, Aikido, Iiaido, Jujitsu & Wushu) and was a first in respect to getting these particular masters on the same mat.

The line-up of masters included Morio Higaonna (together with assistant instructors Tetsuji Nakamura & Eric Higaonna), Shinyu Gushi (with assistant instructor Makoto Fukumoto), Yukiyoshi Marutani, Kando Shibamori (assistant instructor Tibor Rostas), Pan Cheng Miao, Pan Qiong Qi, Chen Jian Feng (assisted by Martin Watts), Alan Ruddock, Alex Da Costa, and additional assistance from senseis George Andrews and Tony Christian plus instructors from CYBERBUDO. Also attending the event from Los Angeles was David Chambers publisher of Classical Fighting Arts magazine and his daughter Alexandra.

We knew we had got off on the right foot when we introduced the instructors to each other on the Thurs. evening prior to the course over a meal at 7-00pm and at 1-30am on Fri. morning Gushi sensei (9th dan Uechi-ryu) and master Pan were out front of the hotel comparing kata while we looked on in appreciation and amazement.

Following registration at Friday lunchtime, classes were soon underway and it immediately became evident that the masters were as interested in each others skills as the students in their classes. With sessions in Goju-ryu, Uechi-ryu, Gensei-ryu, Aikido, White Crane system, Kobudo & Jujitsu.

Using a well tried CYBERBUDO technique of instructors and students sharing meals to get to know each other, Friday evening’s buffet proved a great success and the instructors shared time and wine to answer each others queries.

Saturday started at Bisham at 10-00am and we were blessed with wonderful weather which showed our Grade 1 historical venue at its best, acres of lawns running down to the over spilling Thames attracted all the instructors to take their classes out in the bright sunshine, where they enjoyed hours of training including mixed classes with both Chinese & Okinawan masters collaborating to investigate and compare techniques. In the dojo Gushi sensei taught Kobudo while on the next mat sensei Ruddock enjoyed showing the efficacy of Aikido.

Early Saturday evening we reached the highlight of the course with demonstrations from the masters independently and together ending in masters, Higaonna, Gushi on the mat together showing their styles of Sanchin kata were joined by master Pan who showed the White Crane form. This proved a memorable highlight and was greeted with terrific applause and appreciation by the guests and students.

Following this we had a spirited international Karate competition between Netherlands and England with the English team under the inimitable direction of Ticky Donovan OBE ending up the winner after 2 hard fought rounds 91 to 81 points. It was very good to see the young generation showing their skills in front of the “elders” of English, Japanese & Okinawan Karate.

The wonderful weather continued Sat evening and following drinks on the lawn behind the historic Bisham Abbey on the banks of the Thames, 120 guests including all the instructors and invited celebrities from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s gathered for a banquet in the Abbey. Guests included, Harada sensei, Alan Francis, Bryn Williams, Len Palmer, Brian Hammond, Ticky Donovan, Mike Dinsdale, Ron Colwell, Ray Fuller, Pauline Binda and family, Chris Thompson, Steve & Pam Morgan and many many more. The wine flowed freely as sensei Terry Wingrove invited the guests to drink many different wines from his cellar which was especially appreciated by the Oriental guests. Following the banquet the guests split up into small groups and reconvened late at the hotel to continue their entertainment.

Sunday morning got off to a great start with Dr. Gary Masterson giving his superb lecture on the “Implications of Karate injuries” assisted by sensei Tony Christian. This lecture was attended by all the instructors and students and as usual received tremendous applause. Then it was back to the same format as Sat. outside in the beautiful weather with the Chinese masters and Iiado master Alex Da Costa both teaching under 600 year-old oak trees, which only added to the traditional atmosphere.

Higaonna sensei with Nakamura sensei and Eric Higaonna took a seniors class by the river which also proved very popular. This environmentally friendly training enabled the masters to “network” and combine their training in a unique way. After lunch, a final training session led to a Q & A session to get the input of the students which was 100% positive to backing a similar course next year.

Later on Sunday all the instructors held an inquest on the course where they all expressed their satisfaction with this year’s BUDOSAI and pledged their backing for a similar course next year with better promotion material,course and registration details. A very interesting fact to emerge from this BUDOSAI was that these instructors who had never worked together before made arrangements to see each other in the intervening 12 months in Okinawa, China and Europe. Hopefully we have a successful formula that we will continue into the future to build a “knowledge bank” of the world’s finest teachers. Finally mark the 8/9/10th August 2008 on your calendar now as we will bring you all this year’s instructors plus other masters to compliment them for the BUDOSAI 2008 .

Over the next few days we will post many photos and comments already received of this year's BUDOSAI and invite your comments.

With sincere thanks to all who took part,

Terry Wingrove and the staff of CYBERBUDO