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GAME ON Team GB chief Mark England on karate’s Olympic bow


I knew I’d had to dig deep and it meant more because of that Success in the dojo delivers ‘shy guy’ a boost to his self-belief

WIN The opening chapters of a martial arts masterpiece

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The force is with you Star Wars stuntman explains how karate can take you to a galaxy far, far away...

RELATIVE SUCCESS Meet the Sempai who has switched sports to strengthen his family ties and the dad following in his daughters’ footsteps


...easy to digest tips that will help fuel your body

A NEW ADDITION WELCOME to the first issue of the new-look Shimbun – a magazine which champions GKR Karate, celebrates the successes of its students and showcases the club’s countless inspirational stories. While this launch issue primarily shines a spotlight on karateka from Region 38 in the UK, we are confident you will find plenty of interest on the pages that follow regardless of where in the world your dojo is found. From big-name interviews and input from a leading sports nutritionist 02


Spring 2019

When you pull on a GKR Karate gi you are embraced by an incredibly close-knit and caring club

(pages 40-41) to training tips from Shihan Anthony Ryan (pages 42-45), Shimbun is aimed at all within GKR Karate’s international and everexpanding family. And what an amazing family you are part of. As highlighted by the feature articles in this debut issue, when you pull on a GKR Karate gi you are embraced by an incredibly close-knit and caring club. It is a sporting community that is strengthening existing family ties – as evidenced by our first cover stars, brothers Thomas (11) and Harry Radforth (8) (Guildford, UK),


TO THE FAMILY... and those pictured above – and building unbreakable bonds between classmates. And as newcomers to this extended family, the editorial team behind Shimbun have already felt genuine warmth. We’ve been welcomed into your dojos – despite doing our utmost to disrupt them with camera flashes and persistent questions – and, as this issue went to press, marvelled at the support many of you have shown by pre-ordering copies. We hope our early efforts go some way to repaying your warm welcome and look forward to becoming a

This is your magazine and we want you to love it

trusted and cherished member of the GKR Karate family. This is YOUR magazine and we want you to love it and be a part of it, so if you have a tale to tell, a milestone to mark or suggestion to share then please get in touch – our team are standing in heiko-dachi and ready for action. Enjoy the issue. – The Debut Team



Web: Email: Tel: 01252 714870 Write: 10 Borelli Yard, Farnham, GU9 7NU Content © Debut 2019 • All rights reserved.

Spring 2019




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06 Bow in: Sensei Asmat declares GKR Karate fighting fit for the future

14 Sparring partner: Shimbun’s quick-fire exchange with Team GB’s Mark England

09 Warm-up: A ‘truck-load’ of news highlights from around the dojos

16 Confidence kick: How karate supplied a boost to a ‘shy guy’s’ self-belief

10 Making the grade: A salute to some of those who have recently swapped belts

18 A family affair: Meet the dad and son going head-to-head in the dojo

12 Destination Milton Keynes: A guide to the World Cup’s host town

20 The Force is with you: How karate can be a launchpad to out-of-this-world jobs


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26 Father figure: The pride and pain of following in a daughter’s footsteps

42 Mind games: How to condition your head for a medal-winning performance

28 Sensei says: Instructors run the rule over their students’ progress

46 Console champions: A rundown of the best videogame beat-em-ups

40 Fight fuel: Five things you should know about sports nutrition and karate

48 Unwind: Shimbun surveys some of the latest entertainment releases Spring 2019



Not being interested or ready for tournaments does not mean your goals will go without your instructors’ full support or make your achievements any less worthy of celebration

Sensei ASMAT NADIRY Regional Manager Crawley & Brighton/Guildford, United Kingdom



Spring 2019


FIGHTING FIT AS I HAVE already told many of my own students, spring is an ideal time to stop and take stock of your progress; to assess what you’ve already achieved, what you aspire to achieve and to put in place a sensible plan to get there.

in place for each grading requires them to dig a little deeper and work that bit harder.

Performing a “health check” is also good practice from a club perspective and I’m delighted to report that GKR Karate in our region begins 2019 fighting fit and growing stronger by the day.

Some students will measure their success against the colour of the belt tied around their waist while others will focus on the colour of the medal hung around their neck. Last year we had a large number of students from the region contest the qualifying rounds of the UK Championships and many went on to compete in the finals in Sheffield and return home with medals.

Enquiries from potential students wanting to get into karate and join our classes have gone crazy and we have been inundated with emails and messages through our website and social media channels.

For myself and your instructors, seeing you coming back into the dojo with wide smiles on your faces and a gold, silver or bronze medal in your kit bag is a brilliant reward for our own hard work.

I’m sure the demand will not come as a surprise to those of you already part of the GKR Karate family – and I use the word family deliberately as it sets our club apart from the martial arts crowd.

As for the rest of the year ahead, there is much to be excited about. In June, the UK will host the GKR Karate World Cup and those who qualify for the tournament at Arena MK in Milton Keynes will take on not only the best of Britain but students from Australia, New Zealand and the USA. Competing at a World Cup is a fantastic achievement in itself, but winning a medal at one is awesome.

Seeing a mum or dad training with their child or a grandparent practising alongside their grandchild is not uncommon in our classes, and the sense of being part of something bigger goes beyond relatives fine-tuning their fitness. The people who come into our dojos are from diverse backgrounds but GKR Karate bonds them together and the number of friendships we have seen created is unbelievable. That is the beauty of the system founded by Kancho Sullivan in 1984. Our founder put in place elements so perfectly that GKR Karate students can build their fitness and self-confidence and develop their coordination, discipline and self-defence skills while having fun in a family environment. We are not elitist, aggressive or overly-strict, but at the same time we are not soft and are focused on our students becoming the best that they can be. Equally, beginners do not have to come to us with any sort of sporting fitness. Step-by-step we improve students’ stamina and ability and as they progress through the belts the programme we have

Indeed, before now there was no higher tournament accolade. That will change in 2020 when karate makes its Olympic debut in Tokyo. We already have students among our number with aspirations of being part of Team GB and while 2020 may come too soon, there is a very real possibility of having GKR Karate representation in the future if the sport becomes a permanent fixture of the Games. Of course, not everyone wants to or will become an Olympian. But not being interested or ready for tournaments does not mean your goals will go without your instructors’ full support or make your achievements any less worthy of celebration. As this first edition of Shimbun – a new magazine for members of the GKR Karate family in our region and beyond – demonstrates, success comes in all shapes and sizes and my message to you for the remainder of 2019 is to train as much as you can and smash whatever goals you have set.

Spring 2019



OPENING 1st OCTOBER Ormond Group is proud to welcome Shimbun Local readers and karateka to our two brand new Kuala Lumpur hotels, The Chow Kit - an Ormond Hotel and MoMo's KL. Mention “Shimbun Local� at check-in to receive a mystery gift.



Arthur Flanagan

Arthur Flanagan


SENSEI Matthew Gasse took delivering out-of-this-world tuition to another level on the eve of this year’s Star Wars Day. To mark the “May the Fourth be with you” annual celebration, the Region 25 instructor held a themed training session at Donnington dojo and invited students to dress as their favourite film characters. The black belt’s request resulted in a cast of Jedi, Sith, First Order, Naboo queens, Jawas and rebel princesses bowing in. Demonstrating he doesn’t have a dark side, Sensei Matthew awarded prizes to the best dressed with Arthur Flanagan (pictured above as Kylo Ren) and Emma Tilley (below as Princess Leia) saluted for their galactic garments. Matthew told Shimbun: “Arthur’s reaction on receiving his prize really sums up the reason why we teach – that smile makes it all worthwhile.”

Emma Tilley

TRUCKLOAD OF SUPPORT WHEN Tanya Robinson returned to the dojo in 2017 after a seven-year break, few would have criticised her had she chosen to focus solely on her own health and wellbeing. The 31-year-old was battling with a fragile immune system and was still haunted psychologically by the serious injury that sidelined her from the sport she loved. But perhaps unsurprisingly for someone drawn back to GKR Karate by a desire to be among old and cherished friends, the benevolent brown belt quickly found herself rallying around others – an act which literally put a truck-load of weight on her shoulders. During a conversation with new classmate Samantha McCarthy, Tanya discovered her training companion had also become familiar with hospital visits as a consequence of her father’s fight with cancer. In awe of Samantha’s sunny demeanour in spite of her dad’s illness and inspired by the doting daughter’s plan to run a half-marathon to raise money for Maggie’s – a charity providing support centres for cancer sufferers and their families – the 1st Kyu

vowed to do something to help. As a consequence, Tanya’s own determined efforts to return to her physical prime took a dramatic turn. Having recruited the services of a physical trainer at a strongman gym with the intent of challenging for medals at last year’s UK National Championships, she caught sight of a poster promoting a charity truck pull and her fundraising fate was sealed. “I had set myself some serious karate goals and was focusing on getting in shape for the Nationals and the World Cup, but when I saw that poster I knew I had another target,” explained Tanya, whose prolonged

absence from karate began when she landed awkwardly attempting an Empi jump and found herself with torn ligaments and tendons, and in plaster for six months. “Samantha was so full of life despite everything her family were going through; she has an ability to pick herself up and be positive and that really inspired me. Pulling a truck to raise money for Maggie’s, which had given my friend so much support, seemed a good way to do something to help.” True to her word Tanya – cheered on by Samantha and her father Francis – completed her eight-tonne Herculean haul and raised more than £350 for her chosen charity. “It was hard work and I was hurting for days after,” concluded Tanya (pictured left with Francis), who went on to claim gold in kumite and silver in kata in Sheffield and is now helping the Kent squad prepare for World Cup action. “The sense of achievement was fantastic though and to see Francis looking so happy and proud made it all worthwhile. Samantha and I have been close friends since and the McCarthys have become like family – and families help each other out.”

TAKE A STARRING ROLE IN SHIMBUN BY the time the second issue of the new-look Shimbun hits dojos this summer, World Cup medals will have been won, belts will have changed colours and personal goals will have been attained – and we need your help marking these milestones. Wherever you train, please share your successes with us so that we can showcase them to GKR Karate’s international family and the wider world. Help shape the future of your magazine by emailing, following us on Facebook (@ShimbunMagazine), Twitter (@Shimbun_ Mag) and Instagram (@shimbun_mag). You can also subscribe and save by visiting



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The force is with you

GAME ON Team GB chief Mark England on karate’s Olympic bow

Star Wars stuntman explains how karate can take you to a galaxy far, far away...



I knew I’d had to dig deep and it meant more because of that

Meet the Sempai who has switched sports to strengthen his family ties and the dad following in his daughters’ footsteps

Success in the dojo delivers ‘shy guy’ a boost to his self-belief


...easy to digest tips that will help fuel your body

WIN The opening chapters of a martial arts masterpiece

Spring 2019




Shimbun salutes just a few of those students who have recently taken another major step in their GKR Karate journey

Aaryav Jagarlamudi, 8th Kyu, Region 38 (28/4/19) Abigail Smith, 2nd Kyu, Great Barr/Erdington (28/4/19) Aditya Dora, 8th Kyu, Region 38 (28/4/19) Amanda Cesnovska, 8th Kyu, Wellingborough (28/4/19)

Abigail Smith

Arthur Flanagan, 7th Kyu, Donnington, Telford (28/4/19) Arya Dora, 8th Kyu, Region 38 (28/4/19) Ben John, 8th Kyu, Kingsthorpe (28/4/19)

Jessica &

Billy Brundish, 6th Kyu, Region 38 (28/4/19)


Catherine Earl, 3rd Kyu, Mitcham, Melbourne (3/19) Corey McKee, 7th Kyu, King’s Heath (28/4/19) Dan French, 7th Kyu, Northampton (28/4/19) Daniel Inverno, 8th Kyu, Region 38 (28/4/19) Dave Purvis, 3rd Kyu, Cranbourne East (4/19)

Dylan & Joshua

Dionne John, 8th Kyu, Kingsthorpe (28/4/19) Dylan Sutton, 5th Kyu, South Yardley (28/4/19) Ellery Fomenky, 7th Kyu, Wellingborough (28/4/19) Enzo Melanda, 8th Kyu, Region 38 (28/4/19)

Sonja Dengler

Eric Fomenky, 7th Kyu, Wellingborough (28/4/19) Eva Miskolczi, 6th Kyu, Kingsthorpe (28/4/19) Gabriel Lai, 7th Kyu, Donvale, Region 8/20 (4/19) Henry Tang, 8th Kyu, Donnington, Telford (28/4/19)

Dave Purvis (R ) 10


Spring 2019

Patrick & Linda


Ian Mafham, 7th Kyu, Region 38 (28/4/19) Jack John, 8th Kyu, Kingsthorpe (28/4/19) Jacob John, 8th Kyu, Kingsthorpe (28/4/19)

Kayleigh Jewkes

Jagruthi Anand, 8th Kyu, Donvale, Region 8/20 (3/19) Jake Moore, 3rd Kyu, Region 38 (28/4/19) Jessica Poon, 7th Kyu, Donvale, Region 8/20 (4/19) Joshua Marriott-Sutton, 8th Kyu, South Yardley (28/4/19) Julius Fomenky, 7th Kyu, Wellingborough (28/4/19)

Amanda Cesnovska

Kayleigh Jewkes, 8th Kyu, Wellingborough (28/4/19) Keith Ingleson, 3rd Kyu, King’s Heath (28/4/19) Linda Shanahan, 2nd Kyu, King’s Heath (28/4/19) Lucas Charlton-Eve, 6th Kyu, Region 38 (28/4/19) Maruam Nassir, 8th Kyu, King’s Heath (28/4/19)

Michelle & Catherine

Micheala Faulkner, 8th Kyu, King’s Heath (28/4/19) Michelle Westwood, 2nd Kyu, Mitcham, Melbourne (3/19) Miklos Aradi, 6th Kyu, Kingsthorpe (28/4/19) Nalini Murkutla, 8th Kyu, Region 38 (28/4/19)

Eric,Julius &


Oscar Meara, 7th Kyu, Region 38 (28/4/19) Patrick Shanahan, 7th Kyu, Kingsthorpe (28/4/19) Philip Buddin, 6th Kyu, Region 38 (28/4/19) Pranav Sreeprajith, 8th Kyu, Cranbourne East (4/19) Rhianna Pittaway, 6th Kyu, Kingsthorpe (28/4/19) Richard Morris, 7th Kyu, King’s Heath (28/4/19)

Jagruthi Anand

Sarah Edmunds, 8th Kyu, King’s Heath (28/4/19) Shereydi Ali, 8th Kyu, King’s Heath (28/4/19) Sonja Dengler, 7th Kyu, Region 38 (28/4/19) Steve Champ, 5th Kyu, Region 38 (28/4/19)

Pranav Sreeprajith

Rhianna Pittaway

Srishank Gopu, 8th Kyu, Region 38 (28/4/19)

l Made the grade? Send your belt bulletins (name; grade attained; region or dojo; and date of grading) and celebratory snaps of you proudly wearing your new colours to Spring 2019



DESTINATION: MK Sitting just 50 miles north west of London, Milton Keynes is a relatively new addition to the British landscape having been built from the ground up in 1967. But while it may be lacking in history, the town boasts more than enough present-day fun and games to make it an attractive host for June’s 2019 GKR Karate International World Cup 10. Shimbun paid a visit to “MK” to find out what awaits those heading to the competition at Arena MK... 2. GULLIVER’S LAND

1. HIT THE SLOPES The early summer might not sound like the ideal time to strap on a snowboard, but visitors to Milton Keynes can do just that at the town’s SnoZone. Even when the sun is shining outside, the centre’s 16 cannons blast real snow onto the ski hall’s 170m main slope and 135m training slope to provide ideal conditions for skiers and boarders of all ages and abilities. Find out more:

Travelling to the World Cup with younger children? Why not treat them to a day out at Gulliver’s Land, a family-friendly theme park just minutes from the town centre? Catering especially for those aged between two-and-13, the centre’s attractions allow visitors to spin, slide and ride

to their hearts’ content. A plethora of play areas provide yet more fun – and Gulliver’s picnic-friendly policy helps keep costs down for those wanting to bring their own food. Find out more:

3. THE GREAT OUTDOORS Milton Keynes is blessed with more than 6,000 acres of parkland and green space – so pack your walking shoes and get outdoors after your World Cup exploits! Nature lovers should head to Howe Park Wood, home to more than 200 plant species as well as rare butterflies, or keep their eyes to the skies at birdwatching sites such as Stony Stratford Nature Reserve. MK’s green and pleasant lands are cared for by Milton Keynes Parks Trust, which organises more than 200 events and activities each year, so check out the group’s website to see what’s on during your visit. Find out more:



Spring 2019


4. WATER WORLD Thrill seekers should have Willen Lake South marked on their maps before heading to Buckinghamshire. MK’s most popular park offers high-rope hijinks at Treetop Extreme (see right), aqua adventures at the outdoor Splash ‘n’ Play park and a wealth of waterborne activities ranging from wakeboarding and canoeing to stand-up paddleboarding. Willen Lake, which also incorporates a northern section, is lined with play areas and trim trails and a loop makes for a perfect family walk. Find out more:

5. UP IN THE TREES You’ve conquered karate’s heights by making it to this year’s World Cup, so why not take on a literally loftier challenge at Treetop Extreme? Located at Willen Lake, the adrenaline-fuelled activity pits you against a series of obstacles ranging from nine to an eye-watering 35 feet above the ground. The centre offers three adventures of varying difficulty, starting with the Explorer

Climb, progressing to the 16-obstacle Adventure Climb and topping out at the Extreme Climb, which throws in two zip wires for good measure. And while a head for heights is certainly helpful, participants need not fear as they are firmly attached to a state-ofthe-art safety system at all times. Find out more: activities/treetop-extreme

6. CRACK THE CODE Situated to the south of Milton Keynes is Bletchley Park, once the top-secret home of Allied codebreakers – including Alan Turing – during the Second World War. Visitors to the increasinglypopular museum can check out restored codebreaking huts to see the environments where intelligence officers cracked codes, including those from the Enigma and Lorenz cypher machines. Tickets to Bletchley Park include admission to the National Radio Centre, which provides a fascinating insight into the development of radio communication. Find out more: Spring 2019



LET THE GAMES BEGIN With karate’s Olympic bow edging ever closer, Shimbun steps into the ring for a quick-fire exchange with Mark England, the man charged with leading Team GB’s assault on the medal table in Tokyo... Q. Karate will make its Olympic debut next year, but the 2020 Games will mark your second as Chef de Mission of Team GB. What does being part of Team GB mean to you and why do you think the Games continue to be seen as the pinnacle of sporting achievement? A. It is a huge honour and I am incredibly proud to once again be appointed as Chef de Mission for Team GB because the Olympic Games are the pinnacle of an athlete’s sporting career. Team GB has



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an unique ability to unite the four home nations once every four years in the largest global multi-sport event. Q. Following Team GB’s success in London and Rio, do you feel under increasing pressure ahead of 2020? A. No, not at all. Tokyo 2020 will undoubtedly be a more competitive Games for all countries attending as the winning margins are becoming increasingly smaller, and at the top end there are at least five nations capable of coming in the top three. The sports and athletes focus at the moment is very much on qualifying their places for the Games and our focus is ensuring that we have the best preparations and plans in place to support their ambition at Games time in Tokyo. Q. What plans – if any – are there to send a Team GB karate team to Tokyo? A. All sports have their own qualification route to the Olympic Games and we very much hope that karate athletes are able to qualify to represent Team GB in Tokyo in karate. If they achieve qualification, brilliant, we look forward to welcoming them as part of Team GB. Q. Great Britain boasts a huge number of karateka, how do you rate our medal potential?

A. Our medal potential across all athletes is strong; but our job is to put in place the right infrastructure and support system that will enable all athletes to realise their potential at an Olympic Games. Q. From your experience, what benefits can featuring on the Olympic programme bring to a sport? A. The Olympic Games is the greatest show on Earth and the platform it provides Team GB athletes and their sports to promote themselves to existing and new audiences in unrivalled. I am sure karate will attract a huge new audience when it appears on the Tokyo programme next year. It is hugely exciting for the sport, and it must ensure it’s in a strong position to capitalise on its new exposure and popularity. Q. GKR Karate asks its athletes to be “strong, humble and brave” – how does this chime with Team GB’s own ethos and the Olympic values? A. Team GB’s values are pride, unity, respect and responsibility which ultimately all underpin the athletes’ performance on the field of play. We invest heavily preGames in working with the sports and the athletes on our programme One Team GB. We very much respect that the sports have their own values but when we come together at Games time we are one team and that is incredibly powerful.

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CONFIDENCE KICK Surrey student Harry Simms explains how spending time in the dojo and success at the National Championships have delivered a dramatic boost to his self-belief WHEN Harry Simms first expressed an interest in taking up karate, his parents feared a gi would not prove the most natural of fits. With kata sitting at the martial art’s core, they were concerned how their six-yearold son, who sometimes had difficulty with the written word and found sequencing a struggle, would cope with remembering the complex moves on display in the dojo. And although at the time Harry had little understanding of what it meant to be diagnosed as dyslexic, he too suffered some early doubts about the suitability of his choice of sport. “I remember my first class as being really scary,” the 13-year-old told Shimbun. “I was worried about the discipline and getting told off and worried about remembering what I had to do and when.” Harry’s concerns – and those of his parents – were, however, short-lived and he quickly progressed from a white belt to 6th Kyu and qualified for the UK National Championships in 2015. “I stuck with karate because I liked the fitness side and the mental challenge,” he explained. “As a sport it keeps making you push forward; you are always learning new things and preparing to take the next step. “I’m not sure if being dyslexic has made karate more difficult or helped me to be honest. “I don’t find kata easy, but I think – and have been told by my sensei – that I pick them up fairly quickly. I find it easier 16


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to remember patterns in my head than I do writing things down. I can picture the patterns in my mind when I’m doing them. “The more you practise your kata, the more of them you remember and if you’ve practised them enough you have to then just trust yourself.” Harry admits having faith in himself is something he previously found difficult as a result of his learning difficulty and he credits karate with teaching him to hold his head up high. He points to being asked to lead a warm up for a packed class at GKR’s Farnham dojo as the moment his self-belief began to soar. “That first time was nerve-wracking,” said Harry, a Year 9 student at All Hallows Catholic School. “I’m quite shy and never really used to like talking in front of big groups, but to be honest I really don’t mind any more. “It’s great to see people doing what you have asked them to do. In karate, everyone responds and shows whoever is talking respect and that makes you feel more sure of yourself.”

Harry also highlighted the morale-boosting effect bowing a class in and out can have. “You have to make it sound like a command rather than a request so that everyone follows and when a whole class is listening to you it fills you with confidence. “I am definitely more confident in class at school now,” he added. “I’m no longer worried about answering a question whereas before I didn’t want to be noticed.” Despite Harry’s new-found confidence and excellent academic progress, his karate journey has not been without bumps in the road and he found progressing from green to blue belt to be a significant challenge. Reflecting on his 18-month wait to grade, he said: “There was a brief time when I wanted to give up. “I felt I was stuck and going nowhere having reached green belt quite quickly. What kept me going was that when I went to classes I was still enjoying my karate and that kept me interested. “I liked karate, I just didn’t like the colour of my belt and was frustrated at not being a higher grade.” The wait, of course, made the prize all

In karate, everyone responds and shows whoever is talking respect and that makes you feel more sure of yourself 6th Kyu HARRY SIMMS Farnham Central


the more worthwhile and Harry hasn’t looked back since grading to 5th Kyu last summer. Buoyed by wearing blue, he made the decision to return to tournament karate after a three-year break, qualifying for the UK National Championships at the first attempt and returning home from Sheffield with a bronze medal in kumite having excelled in a division dominated by red belts. “Getting my blue belt was sweet,” Harry said. “I knew I’d had to dig deep and it meant more because of that. “Just being back at the National Championships was great, but winning a medal was amazing because I didn’t expect it. I thought the other finalists would be better than me but I just kept going and the experience has definitely given me even more confidence in myself. “If I now come up against someone who I think is good at karate, I don’t immediately think they are better than me.” While medalling at this summer’s World Cup is his immediate target, Harry says he is committed to karate for the long-term and is set on becoming a black belt. He knows that doing so will take hard work and hours of practise but is ready for the challenge. “I’m the only one from my friendship group who does karate, but that doesn’t bother me,” he said.

“I don’t mind the step-up in training as you reach the higher grades. You have to be dedicated to improve and I can see that it is worthwhile. I get a buzz from doing better and better.” Seven years after taking part in his first class, nobody would argue that karate is not a good fit for Harry. But why does the former “shy guy” think the sport suits him so well? “I really like the etiquette and how you have to behave to others,” Harry concluded. “In some sports, like football, people don’t always show their teammates or opponents respect. “In the dojo you are always treated seriously and no matter what your grade, you are seen as an equal. “I think people have always shown me respect at school, so that has not changed because of karate, but it has made me feel better about myself.” Spring 2019



A FAMILY AFFAIR Rugby convert Martin Booth tells Shimbun how a desire to follow in his children’s footsteps led to a switch in sports and coaching roles

GIVING up something you love is never easy, but Martin Booth had two very good reasons for walking away from a long-running rugby romance.

of the time I have at least two of my family members with me. The whole club has a family feel and I get to see what my kids are doing, how they are progressing and the enjoyment they get from karate.”

Having developed a passion for the sport as a schoolboy, the trained PE teacher carried an oval ball in competitive matches for 25 years before a series of knee operations convinced him it was time to hang up his boots.

In addition to allowing the Booths to spend more time together, Martin said GKR Karate can be credited with improving his family’s fitness and injecting a healthy dose of competition into his household.

Being forced from the field by injury did not, however, dull rugby’s appeal for Martin, who simply swapped playing for coaching – a change of roles which demanded no less energy or dedication. Indeed, the 44-year-old’s relationship with rugby looked unbreakable until it came into competition with his other great loves, his children Aiden (9) and Lizzie (6), and their own fledgling fancy for karate. A desire to see more of his son and daughter and to watch them train meant something had to give in Martin’s busy schedule and he chose to swap rucks and mauls for kata and kumite. And perhaps unsurprisingly for someone who doesn’t do things by half when it comes to committing to a sport, the devoted dad has quickly gone from being an interested spectator at the dojo to working towards becoming an instructor through GKR Karate’s Sempai Training Programme. “The fact that karate is very much a family affair for me is most definitely its biggest appeal,” Martin told Shimbun. “One of the reasons I gave up rugby was because I found I was out every Tuesday and Thursday night and most of the day on a Saturday, which pulled me away from home and my kids. “I’m currently doing karate three times a week, which is what I was doing with rugby, but the difference now is that 99 per cent 18


Spring 2019

“I’ve got a nine-year-old son, so of course there’s some rivalry and competition between us now that we are doing the same sport,” joked the 7th Kyu. “Aiden started GKR Karate a few months before Lizzie and I and he’s always pointing out that he got his yellow and orange belts before us.

I’ve got a nineyear-old son, so of course there’s some rivalry and competition between us

“Even though we are all now orange belts, he is still quick to tell us that he was the first to grade; has done more classes; is more experienced; and that he is the only one with a national medal. “To say he regularly reminds me of these facts would be an understatement.” While Aiden’s tournament success – which includes a silver in kumite at the 2018 UK National Championships – has given son an edge in the bragging stakes, dad insists he couldn’t be more delighted to be standing in his child’s sporting shadow. Martin, who missed out on the UK Championships’ regional qualifiers due to work commitments but has since secured a World Cup berth alongside his son, added: “I am ridiculously proud. I was so happy for Aiden when he passed through the regional rounds and to then see him compete and win a medal at national level was such a proud and emotional moment.” Martin’s sense of pride rightly extends to


Lizzie, who has put her gymnastic and dance prowess to good use in the karate dojo to catch-up with her brother belt wise and won a silver medal in kata at the recent K5 tournament. Although her sporting focus may ultimately lie away from karate, Martin is content his daughter has already learned some valuable skills. “Karate is equipping Lizzie with the ability to look after herself; to be able to defend and protect yourself at any stage in life has got to be a good thing,” he added. Of his own ambitions wearing a gi, the orange belt said he was pleased to have been given the opportunity to put his past teaching and coaching credentials to the test. “I had some surgery recently which meant I was out of action for a while and frustratingly had to spend sessions sat at the sides watching,” Martin explained.

7th Kyu MARTIN BOOTH North Camp

“I found myself spotting little things some of the younger students could do to improve their karate and suggesting ways they could better themselves. “Helping others to improve has always been a bit of a passion of mine anyway, so to be able to one day do that as a sensei would be great. “Beyond that I don’t know if I have got a firm target yet,” he added. “I know that getting to put on a black belt would be a massive achievement. “That’s Aiden’s goal and if there is a chance I can help him get to that point through my own karate, then that’s more than enough motivation for me to stick at it. “I just want to keep up with him as much as I can because if he gets too far ahead of me I’ll never live it down!” Whatever the future holds, Martin is not missing his former sporting love. “To be honest, I’m really enjoying karate,” he concluded. “I’m learning new skills, keeping fit and I am doing something with my family.” Spring 2019



THE FoRCE iS WiTH You Star stuntman Andreas Petrides tells Shimbun how karate can be the launchpad to out-of-this-world opportunities WHEN it came to getting career advice at school, Andreas Petrides did not need telling to aim for the stars – he was already set on pursuing a profession that would take him to a galaxy far, far away. And that is exactly what his determination to become a stuntman delivered 20 years ago when, as a fight arranger and double to Ewan McGregor, he lent his expertise to Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and helped to create a chapter of cinema’s most-celebrated franchise. On anyone else’s CV training Obi-Wan Kenobi to wield a lightsaber and sparring with Darth Maul would rightly rank highly among any achievements listed, but for Andreas these out-of-this-world experiences represent the briefest of clips from a stellar showreel.



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February Spring 2019 2019 SHIMBUN KAZOKU


His hard-won reputation as one of the UK’s leading stunt co-ordinators and performers has seen him share sets with – and square up to – some of Hollywood’s biggest names, and bring to life blockbusters such as Braveheart, 28 Days Later and Tomb Raider. The respected action director’s enduring 30-year career has also included four Bond movies and, alongside colleague Nick Powell, he choreographed all of the fight sequences in the Oscar-winning Gladiator and trained the film’s cast (pictured above). Indeed, things couldn’t have worked out much better for someone who spent much of his childhood rewinding and rewatching the fights, falls and fast-paced chase sequences of classic films. “I am, without doubt, living my dream,” the 51-year-old told Shimbun. “A great American stunt guy called Dar Robinson had a brilliant saying – ‘why grow up when you can make movies’ – and he was so right. The last 30 years really have been like being a kid. 22


Spring 2019

“Yes, it is hard work and takes dedication, but I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I get paid for doing something I love.” Landing the perfect job was, however, no mean feat. While the next-generation of stunt performers can now learn their craft through courses at training establishments such as Andreas’ own British Action Academy in Surrey, there was no such professional education available three decades ago. KARATE KiCK START Fortunately, Andreas found karate to be an ideal syllabus from which to master many of the skills needed to work in the industry and he credits his dream career to the dojo. “My dad learned and later taught Shotokan karate back in the 1950s, so I learned a martial art from a very early age,” he explained. “I probably started training when I was six or seven and dad showed me the basics – kata forms and how to punch and kick.

My father used to tell me that you could achieve anything with dedication and that’s what inspired me. I dedicated myself to being the best I could be

“I guess that’s what got me into movies; I loved watching the likes of Bruce Lee, Bill ‘Superfoot’ Wallace, Chuck Norris and Jackie Chan – all great martial artists – and sort of became fixated with getting into the movie industry. “I used to have every martial arts movie imaginable on VHS and would wear them out watching and copying the actors’ moves,” Andreas added. “It wasn’t about me wanting to be the hero on the screen but the physicality of it all. “I loved the fighting stuff but also how it combined with the acrobatic elements and stunts involved. Karate first drew me to the idea of becoming a stuntman and everything else came after. “Back then I didn’t know how to go about getting into the industry, so I just used to practise all the time. When I wasn’t in karate classes I would be training on my own or learning from films and books, and became fascinated with the philosophy behind martial arts.


“My father – a very powerful, disciplined individual – was my hero growing up and he used to tell me that you could achieve anything with dedication and that’s what inspired me. I dedicated myself to being the best I could be.”

“I was devastated when I didn’t get on the register first time round,” he said. “I didn’t know what to do, so, because I had always had a passion for the military, I thought I’d join the British Army and The Parachute Regiment was the place for me!

DEMAnding audition Andreas’ audition for the career which eventually followed certainly required no shortage of commitment. In order to collect the skills demanded of those on the British Stunt Register the martial artist added trampolining, gymnastics, high diving, motocross, fencing and breakdancing to his repertoire.

“Films again played their part – I loved all the old war movies and I was inspired by the real-life tales of heroism from Arnhem and D-Day; those guys were hardened, disciplined individuals. I knew that if I was joining up I had to go tough and go hard.

But despite having also previously toured as a circus acrobat, his first application to the register was rejected on the grounds that he had not completed 50 weeks of work in the entertainment business. With the door to the movie business seemingly closed, Andreas instead opted for a sixyear stint in the military.

“You don’t join The Parachute Regiment to sit in the tearoom. You do it to get out there.” True to his promise, Andreas made the most of his time in uniform, which saw him pass the Royal Marines’ notoriously difficult All Arms Commando course and a host of armed and unarmed combat instructors’ programmes. He picked up fighting techniques which, combined with his karate

skills, have helped to add realism to everything from scripted space scraps to choreographed clashes in the coliseums of Ancient Rome. Andreas is, however, quick to stress that not everyone with experience of military service or a black belt can forge a career in film.

I loved all the old war movies and I was inspired by the real-life tales of heroism from Arnhem and D-Day

tricks of the trade “Screen combat is very different to the real thing,” said the soldierturned-stuntman, who, while still serving in the Army, accepted a chance invite to return to the circus – and in turn earn the equity card that would secure his place on the stunt register. “Martial arts all have their own style and in many ways you have to unlearn what you’ve learned. You may be used to performing symmetrical powerful moves or using nunchucks or a bow staff, whereas the job might need you to be a thug in a pub with a bottle in their hand. “Guys who come into the Spring 2019



business from a Wushu background, for example, can move beautifully and flowingly, but it’s unlikely a thug would behave in such a way. It can be hard to translate those skills to portray certain characters.” Another significant difference between competing in kumite and making movies is the distance from your opponent, according to Andreas, who recently helped to co-ordinate the stunts featured in Benedict Cumberbatch’s forthcoming Cold War spy thriller Ironbark. “We obviously don’t hit each other, we just make it look like we are,” he said. “With screen combat we step back and use a three fist rule; when fully extended our punches are no closer than three fists from the face. Adjusting to that range takes practise. Having a martial

Karate is about dedication, discipline, mind control and channelling energy and that can relate to the screen if you learn the right techniques

arts background does not necessarily mean you can fight on camera but the attributes are great for the business; the mindset and discipline is there to adapt. Karate is about dedication, discipline, mind control and channelling energy and that can relate to the screen if you learn the right techniques.” behind the scenes Despite Andreas’ extensive list of film and television credits, which include work on hit series such as Broadchurch and Poldark, his face is not instantly recognisable to those outside of his industry and rarely features in finished productions. Being largely anonymous to audiences does not mean, however, that stunt performers do not need to be able to act. “It comes as a shock to people actually how much acting is

required,” said Andreas, who was inducted into the Hollywood Stunt Performers’ Hall of Fame for his outstanding achievements in motion pictures. “Your back might be to camera as a stunt double but as a stunt performer you often play featured parts so have to become a character. You have to behave as a musketeer, a pirate or a Mongolian rebel and that means you need to do your research. You need to know how your character fought, how he moved, what armour he wore and what weapons he carried. You then have to put the necessary physical energy into a performance to create something that looks real to the audience.” Andreas believes such attention to detail commands the respect of the stars he schools in screen combat. Ego, he insists, goes out

on the set of the Jedi for The Phantom Menace; Joaquin Phoenix and his double Lights, camera, action: From left, Andreas embraces his inner British Action Academy the at students with e expertis his shares Andreas and Merlin; Oscar-winning Gladiator; helping to bring a touch of magic to



Spring 2019

INTERVIEW: ANDREAS PETRIDES of the window on a film set even when the names in question are of the calibre of Russell Crowe, Sylvester Stallone and JeanClaude Van Damme. “Whether we are doubling, fight arranging or advising, everything we do is about making them look good and they understand that from quite early on,” he said. “There is a mutual respect – action is what we do and acting is what they do. A lot of the time my job is to take the actor from being a novice to looking like a highly-experienced and trained warrior – be it a modern day secret agent or special forces operator or a gladiator in an arena. That takes dedication from them so they listen to you and take on board what you say so they can be the best they can.” DANGer money There is of course a far less glamorous side to life on set than rubbing shoulders with Oscar

winners. The very nature of stunt work means bumps, bruises and breaks are very much an operational hazard.

There is a mutual respect – action is what we do and acting is what they do

“You never forget the risks and dangers of getting things wrong,” warned Andreas, whose own battle scars include two cracked vertebrae which were only revealed by X-ray following a simulated car knockdown. “Even with the fighting, if you make a mistake you can break someone’s nose or jaw; you have to keep focused. I’ve lost colleagues through the business and seen others seriously injured. Most of my injuries have been sustained during training but I tore my cruciate ligament in a motorbike crash, my ankles are both damaged and the ball in my shoulder socket is worn from drags and throws.” Andreas’ end credits are, however, still a long way off. With his diary commitments

for the week following his interview with Shimbun including a car chase for a major Netflix production and a motorcycle crash for another show, the action man has no intention of taking his foot off the gas. “I do a lot of stunt co-ordinating, fight arranging and second unit directing so I could quite easily put my pads on the wall and not do any more stunts myself, but it is in my blood and is what I love. I know that I’m not getting any younger so in order to keep myself at the top I still train hard and look after myself by staying true to the martial arts and giving my body good food, good sleep and good rest.”

l Founded by Andreas in 2007, the British Action Academy offers industry-recognised screen action courses. Many of its students have gone on to feature in major blockbusters. Find out more at

Spring 2019




From uncoordinated beginner to inspirational instructor, Sensei Tony Braiden tells Shimbun about the pride and pain of following in his daughters’ footsteps IT is a measure of the modesty of Sensei Tony Braiden that the highlight of his decade-long love affair with karate does not concern one of his own significant successes in the sport. Despite being able to refer to a rapid rise through the gradings to 1st Dan and countless tournament triumphs, the 63-year-old insists his finest hour came watching his youngest daughter Olivia receive her black belt last year. “That was by far my proudest moment in karate,” Tony told Shimbun. “She’d had a bumpy old ride to get there and it was great to see her pull through on the day of the grading. She made it look as though it was second nature, which of course it never is. “That moment certainly eclipses getting my own black belt and was more important to me.” However, Tony’s delight at seeing others excel in the dojo extends far beyond his immediate family. Having been an instructor for more than five years, Olivia is but one of hundreds of students he has helped to climb the GKR Karate gradings ladder.



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INTERVIEW: TONY BRAIDEN “I love being there when students successfully progress to their next belt,” he said. “When you see them grade – the kids especially – they have a beam on their face that reminds you how glad you are to be involved with karate. “It makes me feel like I’m doing the right thing; I’ve taught them and done the best I can for them and then, when it really counts, they show what they’ve learnt. There is a real sense of pride and feeling of worth in seeing a student performing really well.” It is a perk of a role that Tony never imagined he would be qualified to fill when he first sampled kata and kumite only ten years ago. While Olivia’s black belt stands out as Tony’s proudest moment in karate, another of his daughters can claim credit for getting him in a gi. The popular sensei’s initial contact with the sport came when the then-53-year-old went to watch his eldest child Emily grade to yellow belt. Impressed by the skills on show, he vowed to give it a go “just to see if I could actually do it”. “But like everyone else during their first few classes, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing,” added Tony, who believed his experience of playing squash and swimming regularly would stand him in good stead.

“I considered myself fairly fit until I started karate and was actually quite shocked at how uncoordinated I was and how difficult I found it to understand what I was supposed to be doing. I’m not what you would call a natural but it became a personal challenge and I kept banging away at it until I got it right. It didn’t come easily, but when you do get karate right it feels fantastic and I focused on mastering one technique before moving on to the next.

made me focus on my karate all the more.”

“You could say I was motivated by personal frustration – I wasn’t looking to be better than anyone else, I was just looking to be better than I was!” Tony’s self-improvement drive ultimately led to him becoming an instructor and an ongoing father-and-daughter competition over who can win the most medals – a contest Olivia is leading by five. The Braidens haul of national and regional awards is certainly impressive and even more so given dad’s original motivation for testing his skills at tournament karate. Demonstrating that those at the front of a class know only too well the worries of their students, Tony explained: “When I used to do my grade kata I would get really nervous and get a mental block.

Tony’s efforts to banish his nerves have paid dividends both personally – as evidenced by the colour of the belt around his waist and his impressive collection of 22 medals – and for all those who train and benefit from his wisdom at his packed Farnham and North Camp classes. Having conquered his own crisis of confidence, the mild-mannered sensei recognises how others are feeling and has developed an instinct for knowing when to push students harder and when to provide reassuring words of encouragement. And while he believes arthritis may end his ambition of winning a World Cup medal, the GKR Karate veteran has no intention of hanging up his gi any time soon. “Over the last year or so I’ve noticed that if I get punched or kicked a little too hard, I don’t recover as quickly as I used to,” concluded Tony, whose middle daughter Imogen also stayed true to the Braiden family tradition and impressed in the dojo. “But I still like the training and pushing myself as hard as I can. I am a little bit slower than I was and you’re not going to find me charging around the dojo like crazy, but as long as people are still willing to listen to me and I am conveying the right information, I will keep going.”

“I would freeze halfway through a kata and decided to try a tournament to see if exposing myself to more pressure would improve my nerves. It didn’t always work but it helped and the experience of competition also taught me that if wanted to be good at what I did, I had to be a lot better and that

“ Shodan Ho OLIVIA BRAIDEN Farnham

I love being there when students successfully progress to their next belt... they have a beam on their face that reminds you how glad you are to be involved with karate

1st Dan TONY BRAIDEN Farnham Spring 2019




They are there to guide, encourage and coach you, but what does your Sensei really think about your Saifa? Are they tickled by your Taigyoku Shodan or bemused by your Bassai-Dai? Shimbun asked five instructors in Region 38 to run the rule over a selection of their current karate crop...






Spring 2019




Sensei JOHN BRAZALLO Spring 2019



6th Kyu GUSTAW BOGACZ A dedicated student who trains at least three times a week, Gustaw has recently begun competing at tournaments and is enjoying his karate. I have seen a massive growth in his confidence over the last few months. – Sensei Asmat

7th Kyu REUBEN FRANKLIN Polite and thoughtful, Reuben boasts excellent karate etiquette. He trains alongside his dad and his brother and is advancing well. Although yet to test himself at tournament karate, he has the talent to do so. – Sensei John 30


Spring 2019

6th Kyu MAX MAYUN Quite shy but determined and incredibly hard-working, Max puts 100 per cent into everything he does. He is a pleasure to teach as he is ever willing to listen to advice and adapts his approach to techniques accordingly. – Sensei Tom

6th Kyu LORI MITCHELL Keeping stride with her daughter Danielle, Lori is dedicated to her climb through the grades. Always willing to give karate her all, her attitude to improving has been rewarded with tournament silverware. – Sensei Tony

9th Kyu DANIEL FIMOWICZ Always happy and willing to get stuck in, Daniel has an incredible memory and can remember all he has been taught despite breaks in training. It’s only a matter of time before the colour of his belt changes. – Sensei Catherine

7th Kyu AARON KHAN A determined trainer who is often found in the dojo three-tofour times a week, Aaron enjoys tournaments and was rewarded with a well-deserved bronze in kumite at last year’s National Qualifiers. – Sensei Asmat


7th Kyu CHRIS FRANKLIN Chris trains alongside his son and is a very committed member of our dojo. Regardless of the technique, he works hard to perfect it and is incredibly quick – and accurate – when it comes to sparring. – Sensei John

3rd Kyu SHANNON CREW A determined individual, you can count on Shannon to push herself to her limits in every class. Her persistent hard work and commitment will hopefully see her rewarded at her next assessment in July. – Sensei Tom

7th Kyu ADAM KHAN Sheerwater’s student of the year in 2018, Adam recently graded to orange belt and has shown massive development in his character. He trains alongside his sister Zoya and the pair are always quick to help each other. – Sensei Asmat

8th Kyu ANDREW WARNES Soon to be swapping yellow for orange, Andrew has no choice but to work hard in class. He trains alongside his two daughters and pushes himself to lead by example and his commitment shows in the quality of his karate. – Sensei Tony

6th Kyu HARRY PLUNKETT Benefiting from a healthy sibling rivalry with older sister Alanna, Harry pushes himself hard and is very willing and able. Ever enthusiastic, he regularly helps to encourage less-experienced students. – Sensei Catherine

6th Kyu ANANDAN BALU Now a green belt, Anandan is very committed and attends different classes throughout the week. He trains alongside his own children and routinely shows his leadership qualities by helping to guide lower grades. – Sensei Asmat Spring 2019



5th Kyu ARTOM ZAIONTS An incredibly hard-working student, Artom puts 100 per cent into his techniques. Originally quite shy, he has grown in confidence and looks well-placed to pick up the necessary skills to secure himself a red belt. – Sensei Tom

7th Kyu LACHLAN SMITH Although very shy when he first pulled on a gi, Lachlan is slowly gaining confidence and his karate is benefiting as a result of his growing belief in his abilities. He has what it takes to climb the grades. – Sensei John 32


Spring 2019

6th Kyu DANIELLE MITCHELL Danielle is a regular face at the dojo and can always be counted on to do her very best in class. She has progressed well and I make it my personal challenge to get this teenager to smile at least once a session! – Sensei Tony

6th Kyu ALANNA PLUNKETT A student with her sights set high, Alanna has already demonstrated her potential by winning a national title in kumite. She approaches training with a positive attitude and is an incredibly graceful karateka. – Sensei Catherine

6th Kyu ALICIA BUFF-OROZCO Incredibly hard-working, Alicia recently graded to green belt and is committed to her karate. Her attitude to training, and kumite in particular, is first-class and she is always striving to develop her skills. – Sensei Asmat

7th Kyu YUKI MAFHAM Yuki is working through her karate journey alongside her dad and trains three times a week. She has made plenty of friends and is working towards getting a medal at the World Cup and securing her next grade. – Sensei Tom


7th Kyu HAYTHAM OURABAH A very confident and competitive student, Haytham relishes karate’s physical challenges and commits wholeheartedly. His determination to be first at everything and the best he can be should take him a long way. – Sensei John

SHODAN-HO ALISON PARFITT Alison’s recently-acquired black belt speaks for itself – reaching Shodan-Ho is far from easy and is a major achievement for any student. Talented and always quick to offer a kind word and advice to others. – Sensei Tony

9th Kyu FODIL DAHMANI When Fodil first joined our Sheerwater dojo he was a shy kid, but he has made a lot of friends in class and is doing very well. He’s always keen to learn and is very excited about going for his 8th Kyu. – Sensei Asmat

1st Kyu PIRA KEOHANE Dedicated and hard-working, Pira has committed many hours to the dojo since starting off in karate alongside her older brother. She is currently working towards her Shodan-Ho and has the ability to go further. – Sensei Tom

4th Kyu AARON RAZEY A dedicated and methodical karateka, Aaron picks up new techniques with ease and was crowned a champion in kata at the 2018 National Championships. He is now focused on World Cup success. – Sensei Tom

6th Kyu WILLIAM PLUNKETT Polite and pleasant, William works well with others in the dojo and can often be heard passing on good advice to younger students. Like the rest of the Plunkett clan, his karate benefits from sibling rivalry. – Sensei Catherine Spring 2019



5th Kyu ANNA NOLAN Although progressing in fits and starts, Anna’s light-bulb moments are unpredictable but always great to see. Her recent grading to blue belt was well deserved and her confidence has grown as a consequence. – Sensei Tony

7th Kyu RARES PETER Polite, cheeky and eager to learn, Rares performs his karate with a grin on his face and is a pleasure to teach. He is making fantastic progress and is never afraid to ask questions if he is unsure about something. – Sensei Catherine 34


Spring 2019

6th Kyu ELLIOTT WAGHORN I was so delighted when Elliott recently graded and secured the green belt he has worked tirelessly for. Quick with a smile even when the going gets tough, he has shown dedication to honing his kata and kumite skills. – Sensei Catherine

5th Kyu JIA YAN LI Do not be fooled by Jia’s diminutive stature! What she currently lacks in height she more than makes up for in talent and fighting spirit. A promising karateka, she is only too happy to take on sparring partners of all sizes. – Sensei Tony

4th Kyu YUHAN YAN A recent return to training has seen Yuhan make very noticeable improvements to his focus, techniques and kata. The quality of his karate more than warrants his current grade and he has plenty of potential. – Sensei Tony

6th Kyu EMMA PLUNKETT Another student who has recently graded to green, Emma is literally part of a large karate family and one that spurs each other on. Her focus improves with every class and she wins the prize for politest Plunkett. – Sensei Catherine


8th Kyu


Diligent and dedicated to his karate, Kritsh is at the beginning of his journey through the grades, but is doing extremely well and if he keeps up the hard work it won’t be long before he picks up his next belt. – Sensei Tony

7th Kyu ZOYA KHAN Training alongside her brother, Zoya never misses a class and this commitment to practising her skills is evident in her ever-improving karate. A shy member of the dojo to begin with, she has grown hugely in confidence. – Sensei Asmat

8th Kyu ELENA PETER Always willing to listen to advice and encouragement, Elena is committed to perfecting her strikes and stances. She is one of only a few adults in her class but remains dedicated to training whenever work allows. – Sensei Catherine

8th Kyu SAVANNAH CONN Savannah has made awesome progress since her first class when we met an incredibly shy girl. Always willing to have a go at new things and keen to learn, she has a lovely personality and caring nature. – Sensei Catherine

8th Kyu MOLLY WARNES Soon to grade alongside her dad and sister, Molly is a delight to have in the dojo. Ever eager to learn and continually improving her techniques, she has no problem keeping pace with the rest of her family. – Sensei Tony

5th Kyu LOTTIE BADCOCK Lottie recently graded to blue belt and her confidence and karate skills have continued to improve since. She’s come a very long way from the reserved girl we first met in the dojo and has an awesome angry face! – Sensei Tony Spring 2019



8th Kyu LYNSEY ROBERTSON Lynsey’s perseverance and patience are paying off and she is setting solid foundations for her karate future. Like her daughter – a fellow student – she also boasts a cheerful disposition and is an asset to the dojo. – Sensei Tony

8th Kyu MIKE HIBBERD Mike may not have the same advantage of youth as the son and daughter he trains alongside, but his attitude to karate is first-class. He is always focused and will undoubtedly be rewarded with a belt change soon. – Sensei Tony 36


Spring 2019

8th Kyu OLLIE HIBBERD Having not long graded to yellow belt, things are really beginning to click into place for Ollie. His understanding of karate is starting to make itself felt and, in turn, his focus on learning new moves has intensified. – Sensei Tony

8th Kyu JAMES HALE A relative newcomer to GKR Karate, James is already showing a good understanding of the techniques he has been shown. He is becoming more comfortable in the dojo and gets on well with others. Great progress. – Sensei Tony

8th Kyu JESSICA WARNES With a background in gymnastics, Jessica has the benefit of tremendous flexibility and it shows in her technique. Now an orange belt, she has a great attitude and is committed to progressing through the grades. – Sensei Tony

7th Kyu MAISIE HIBBERD Blessed with an enviable ability to quickly pick up instructions and techniques, Maisie has a determination to succeed that is fantastic to see in action. She may be young, but she is focused on advancing. – Sensei Tony


8th Kyu NATHAN VALDEZ The older of the two Valdez brothers in my dojo, Nathan trains twice a week and his focus and technique have flourished since he was awarded his yellow belt. Full of energy, he is developing well. – Sensei Tony

5th Kyu TIA MALCOLM Despite having to carefully manage her training to avoid injuries, Tia has a tremendous attitude towards improving her karate. She recently graded to blue belt and can be counted on to tackle sessions with determination. – Sensei Tony

7th Kyu SONJA DENGLER A real enthusiast, Sonja pushes herself as hard as she can in the dojo and is keen to master every technique she is taught. She has trained with another club previously but has quickly picked up GKR Karate’s style. – Sensei Tony

8th Kyu XANDER VALDEZ Buzzing with energy and a little excitable at times, Xander has a passion for karate that is infectious. The prospect of grading to orange has given him extra focus and his techniques are beginning to improve. – Sensei Tony

8th Kyu POPPY ROBERTSON This young lady is like a breath of fresh air gusting through the dojo – always cheerful and full of energy. Poppy is a delight to teach and her karate techniques are becoming sharper with every session. – Sensei Tony

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Are you a sensei set on showering your students with superlatives or a karateka keen to learn what your instructor thinks of you? To nominate your dojo to star in the summer issue, send an email to Spring 2019



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PREPARE FOR JUDGEMENT DAY Shihan Anthony Ryan shares the pattern for success needed by students to catch the eye in tournament kata WHATEVER sport you play, your chances of winning improve when you know what the officials are looking for. Footballers, for example, are only too aware what triggers an assistant referee’s flag, and yet many karateka have little knowledge of why tournament judges make the decisions they do. Hopefully, I can help Shimbun readers redress this by providing an insight into how those responsible for running the rule over your performance in the ring think. In this issue, I’ll tackle kata and in the next I’ll look at kumite. PERFORMANCE POINTERS When it comes to kata, judges are assessing two key elements. Firstly, they are evaluating your technical performance. This includes the neatness and positioning of your arms, torso, hips, legs and feet during stances and kicks and your movements and angles while transitioning. They will also be monitoring your timing, breathing and focus. Secondly, they will be scrutinising your athletic performance, which encompasses the strength of your stances, explosiveness out of them and how fast, robust and snappy your hand and hip movements are. Athleticism will also be assessed on how balanced and fluent you are during slower elements of kata. Why do these things matter? If

you consider self defence, imagine being incredibly strong but throwing a punch from a poor stance and with a bent wrist and loose fist. Regardless of your power, your technique would be incredibly weak and could even lead to injuring yourself. Athleticism without technique is ineffective. Now imagine having perfect technique, but punching or kicking something incredibly slowly? Once again, the strike would be ineffectual because technique without athleticism is also ineffective. Karate teaches us to defend ourselves which is why kata

judges look to reward those who show they are equipped to do just that – namely students with great technique who put maximum effort into their movements. This may sound obvious, but students do tend to focus on one element over the other. SLOW VERSUS SHARP Take Johnny, a student so committed to perfecting every

technique that he intentionally slows his pace to avoid making mistakes. Doing so becomes habit and his speed, power and snap suffer as a consequence. Come tournament time, the judges will undoubtedly be wowed by his technical performance, but he will lose favour for lacking the conviction to make his technique effective. In contrast, consider Susan, someone who always strives to be stronger and faster and whose commitment to training is helping her to realise these goals. Unfortunately, her determination to hone her athleticism means she fails to notice minor mistakes in her kata movements – a trait that will cost her when performing in front of tournament judges.

Karate teaches us to defend ourselves which is why kata judges look to reward those who show they are equipped to do just that

MEDAL-WINNING MIX When practising, it is always important to try to improve your athleticism. Endeavour to be faster and snappier than you were last session, but do so while focusing on perfecting your techniques. Remember, it is successfully blending both disciplines that will win over tournament judges and win you the medal you desire. Spring 2019




Dr Mayur Ranchordas, a senior lecturer in sport nutrition and exercise metabolism at Sheffield Hallam University, shares five habits that will help improve your performance in the dojo and ring THE margin between victory and defeat at the top level in sport is separated by small margins. Paying attention to detail can make the vital difference. What we eat and drink not only affects how we feel but it also influences our performance. Thus, the food choices we make before and after karate training or a competition will affect how well we train, fight and recover. Performance nutrition has become an important aspect of modern athletes’ daily routines and this article will take you through five key habits that can really benefit those Shimbun readers looking to take their karate to the next level.


The science actually suggests that neither is true!1 The best way to approach hydration is to begin by measuring your sweat rate. This is easily done by using the following method: l Check your weight before and after training and calculate weight loss (in kg). l Check/measure the amount of fluid consumed during your training session (100ml = 100g). SHIMBUN

A certified sports nutritionist who holds a Professional Doctorate in Applied Sport Science, Mayur has been teaching at Sheffield Hallam for more than 10 years. Alongside his academic role, the consultant has advised several Premier League football clubs – including Newcastle United – and supported gold medallists and world champions during his time working at the English Institute of Sport. Mayur continues to provide nutrition support to a host of top-flight footballers and match officials.


There are so many misconceptions about fluids and hydration. For example, there are two camps regarding hydration; the drinkto-thirst camp – i.e. drink fluids according to your thirst sensation and do not overhydrate by drinking too much – and the “drink at least two-and-a-half to three litres of fluids per day and any level of dehydration is bad for you”.


AUTHOR Dr Mayur Ranchordas

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Consensus Recommendations on Training and Competing in the Heat. Racinais S, Alonso JM, Coutts AJ, Flouris AD, Girard O, Gonzalez-Alonso J, Hausswirth C, Jay O, Lee JK, Mitchell N, Nassis GP, Nybo L, Pluim BM, Roelands B, Sawka MN, Wingo J, Periard JD. Sports Med. 2015

l Collect any urine during training in a bottle and weigh it in kg. l Add the amount of fluid lost to the amount of fluid consumed and take away urine voided to get total fluid losses. l Divide the total amount of fluid lost by the number of hours of training to get fluid losses per hour. While doing this can help you to calculate your sweat rate, it is not possible to measure salt loss – another important indicator when it comes to hydration – yourself. However, most

athletes know if they are salty sweaters. Put simply, if your sweat tastes very salty and if, after training, there are white residue marks on your kit, you are a salty sweater! As we are all different it is important that karateka look at individualised hydration strategies. For example, one student might lose less salt but sweat more, whereas another might have a lower sweat rate but will need more sodium, which they can get through a bespoke rehydration drink, by adding additional salt to meals or using electrolyte tablets. The key message here is that everyone has a different sweat rate and salt loss. Calculate your sweat rate and aim to drink 1.5 times the amount you lose because your body does not absorb everything you drink. The key is to drink little and often making sure you hydrate throughout the day before training.




The quicker you eat and drink after a training session the quicker your body starts the recovery process. The post-workout meal must contain a balance of protein and carbohydrate.2 Research has found that one of the best recovery foods to have after a



Chocolate milk for recovery from exercise: a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials. Amiri M, Ghiasvand R, Kaviani M, Forbes SC, Salehi-Abargouei A. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2018

strenuous training session is 500ml of a milkshake3 (any flavour will do) with a banana. The protein triggers protein synthesis and helps your muscles to recover. The beauty of


Protein is extremely important for athletes who train several times a week as it supports growth and repair. Most athletes neglect protein intake at breakfast despite it being a crucial time to consume adequate protein. The amount of protein you need varies depending on your age and training programme but intakes of 1.5g per kg of body weight for lighter training and 1.8g per kg of body weight for harder training are a


2 ISSN exercise & sports nutrition review update: research & recommendations. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2018

milk is that it contains fluids and electrolytes such as sodium and potassium so it also helps you rehydrate. The banana contains some additional carbohydrates which are made up of glucose and fructose, which will help replenish muscle glycogen (the fuel in the muscle).

l Lunch (30g): Chicken, avocado and hummus wrap; a small Greek yogurt; apple and 500ml of water. l After training (20g): 500ml milkshake and one banana.

good guide. For example, a 60kg athlete needs around 90g of protein per day for light training and 108g for harder training. Let’s translate the harder day in practical terms:

l Dinner (30g): Chicken and pesto risotto; steamed peas and crispy kale. Total protein = 110g per day

l Breakfast (30g): Three-egg omelette with cheese and spinach; small glass of fresh orange juice; a medium bowl of porridge (made with milk), chopped banana and handful of nuts.

By distributing your protein intake evenly, you are providing your body a pool of amino acids (which is what protein gets broken down into) to maximise growth and repair.


Most people don’t plan their nutrition in advance and are rarely adequately fuelled and hydrated to train or compete. You wouldn’t just turn up to the gym without a plan to follow, so why do most people not plan their food? You know that some sessions are harder than others and when your rest days are, so you should be planning your nutrition a day or two in advance. For example, if you know you have a heavy training day tomorrow then most of the fuel for that session will be provided from the food you eat up to eight hours beforehand. If you are at school, college or work that day make sure you get organised. Avoid buying your lunch where healthy protein and carbohydrate choices are limited or take a packed lunch. Have a good breakfast that contains slow releasing energy and take your recovery shake and banana with you if you are going straight to training later in the day. Similarly, plan your meals so that when you go shopping you know exactly what ingredients you need to buy for nutritious, quick and easy-to-prepare dishes. If you don’t, it can be too tempting to reach for microwave, oven or takeaway options that contain few nutrients and are full of sugar and preservatives.



Not all fruits and vegetables are the same and the different colours mean they contain different vitamins and minerals. By eating between five and seven portions of different colours throughout the day you can ensure that your body is getting all the vitamins and minerals it needs for optimal performance. Having soups that contain two-to-three portions of vegetables as a starter, having a fruit smoothie with your breakfast, having a banana with your recovery milkshake, and a handful of berries with some yogurt for dessert is an easy way to hit seven. For example, berries contain polyphenols which can help reduce inflammation and enhance recovery, while green vegetables contain magnesium which is required for optimal muscle function and are rich in the calcium needed for strong bones. Fruits and vegetables are also a great source of fibre, which is often neglected by a lot of athletes. Spring 2019



THE ANATOMY OF A CHAMPION Whether you are weighing up the World Cup or about to tip your toe into tournaments for the first time, getting your head ready for competition is as important as prepping your body and packing your kit. Shihan Anthony Ryan – GKR Karate’s senior instructor and international director of coaching – tells Shimbun why... Over the years, I have seen far too many physically conditioned fighters fall short of a medal having been let down by their minds. To become a tournament champion takes mental strength and conditioning. You need to have the ability to think clearly when your body is tired or in pain; to remain focused for the duration of your bouts; and be able to control your emotions. So what is thinking clearly? In essence it is being aware of every detail while you are in the ring; being conscious of your stance and guard as well as your opponent’s, and recognising their favoured techniques and strengths and weaknesses. It is the ability to notice small telltale movements and spot momentary lapses in their concentration, balance and guard. When you are thinking clearly you react quickly and with less telegraphing. In contrast, when a person is tired they tend to make poor technique selections, they play the “hope” game and try moves that have little likelihood of scoring or attack from a poor distance. More often than not, this leads to being countered or picked off. When you are tired your reaction time slows, not just because you are physically fatigued but because you are focusing on the fatigue. The two exercises outlined on page 45 are designed to combat this. WINNING THE PAIN GAME Thinking clearly when you are in pain is another discipline you need to master. You may take a knock on the nose that leaves your eyes watering or a blow to the ribs that gives you a little reminder every time you move. Equally, you might walk into the ring with a sore knee, bruised toe or pulled hamstring. Very few competitors will go through a year of tournaments without occasions when they are nursing some sort of injury. 42


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AUTHOR Shihan Anthony Ryan A five-time World Cup gold medalist, Anthony is GKR Karate’s international director of coaching and is a 6th Dan black belt. A martial artist for more than 30 years, he has travelled extensively to hone his craft and regular conducts seminars to share his wealth of knowledge with GKR Karate’s global family.

However, going into a competition with a knock generally doesn’t pose as much of a problem as getting injured during the action and having to fight again immediately afterwards. It is common to see a competitor get caught with a punch or kick and go on to lose. They often blame the injury – “my ribs were killing me” – but it is the focus they gave to the pain that cost them the bout. If their attention had been on winning, the result may have been very different. Consider a real-life confrontation. If you are hit from behind and turn around to see an attacker, your first thought will be self-preservation rather than your sore head. You focus on winning – nothing else! Yet in the ring, the opposite can be true. The question is, why? Former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson once said: “Everyone has a plan until they get hit.” This is true not only in sport but life. The moment we experience an injury or adversity, our clear thinking is replaced by frustration, self-doubt and pain. To stop this happening in a tournament ring, you need to forget the bigger picture and start with something small... simply scoring the next point. Make this your dominant thought and your mind will now be locked


on the job at hand and not your injury. It may only be a single point, but what happens when you secure it? Your confidence rises and your self-belief that you can win the bout returns. Another method to overcoming pain I was taught years ago is to say “I love it” out loud and with conviction whenever I get injured. This may sound bizarre but it works. If I stub my toe on a table, I say those magic words. Likewise, if I get hit and winded during sparring, I force out the words between breaths. Of course, I don’t really love it, but saying so does two things. Firstly, it immediately changes my state. Rather than focusing on the negative of being hit, I’m acknowledging it hasn’t beaten me. Secondly, it makes me laugh. You usually expect to hear profanities so someone declaring “I love it” is genuinely funny. Again, it sounds crazy, but if you try it you’ll find it works. EYES ON THE PRIZE In any sport, the ability to stay focused on an entire game, match or bout is vital. Football is a great example. A team can be alert for 95 per cent of a fixture, but switching off for the other five can lose them the game. Tennis and golf are even tougher. A player can be on song most of the day and still find themselves a service break down or shooting a double bogey. So, if you want to be a success in any sport, martial arts included, you need to condition your mind to go from start to finish. The good news is that in a karate tournament you only have to stay focused for a few minutes at a time. The bad news, however, is that short bouts mean just a few seconds lapse can leave you facing an impossible race to catch up. You can be just one minute into your tournament campaign and the prospect of packing away 44


Spring 2019

If you want to be a success in any sport, martial arts included, you need to condition your mind to go from start to finish

Picture: Sam Moghadam

your mitts and pads can quickly become a reality. Most people don’t actually realise when they are day-dreaming. Have you ever been reading a book and suddenly realised you haven’t taken a single thing in for the past two or three pages? You are still reading consciously, but subconsciously you are a thousand miles away. We switch off in such a way at school, at work and even in the ring when competing. It is something we all do, but that we must eliminate.

A short-term solution to this challenge is to find yourself a human daydream alarm clock – someone who can remind you to remain focused on your opponent. While competing, have them stand just outside the ring on the opposite side to you (not behind you). This means that after each point they will be in your line of sight and – whether they call out in encouragement or give you a prompt – seeing them will wake you up to the task at hand. The goal for anyone wishing to

become a champion is to fix the problem before it hurts you on the scoreboard, but how do you cure yourself of distraction? There is only one real answer... practice! I have heard countless parents talk about how their child’s schoolwork improved soon after starting karate, but most sensei don’t really talk to their students about focus. It is just something developed over time, it comes with practice, and learning to focus through an entire bout is just the next level.


How to train your brain...



l Find a sparring partner who is prepared to maintain a high-level of intensity regardless of how tiredness impacts on your own performance. l Start sparring close to one end of the dojo. l Every 30 seconds your partner should call out “run”, which is your signal to sprint to the other end of the dojo and back. l Resume sparring as soon as you return to your partner. l Repeat the process ten times to complete 300 seconds of sparring and ten sprints.

l Your goal is to remain focused on the quality of your sparring rather than your tiredness. The idea is to not learn that your guard has dropped by getting hit, but to be constantly aware of the need to defend.

the surface. There is nothing wrong with some of these – passion, desire and hunger help generate adrenaline which in turn eliminates fear and gives us strength and speed. Yet emotions can also kill a clear mind by causing it to panic, become frustrated, angry or impatient.

A great way to stay focused is to have a game plan. If you don’t have a strategy, what are you supposed to think about? With nothing to focus on, nothing to lock on to, your mind will wander far too easily. As the saying goes, “by consciously failing to plan, you are subconsciously planning to fail”. KEEP CALM Controlling our emotions is part and parcel of maintaining focus. When we are in competition, emotions naturally come to

Anger is perhaps the most common emotion I have seen negatively impact on competitors. When someone becomes angry – perhaps because they feel an opponent has deliberately made contact or used excessive force – they telegraph every



l For ten minutes, work through a series of kata you are used to practising. The aim is to focus solely on the technique you are doing. l Start your kata and each time you catch your mind wandering from the technique, stop and start again. For example, if you find yourself thinking “this is going well”, start again. If you find yourself thinking “did I just get sidetracked” or “that was a poor stance”, start again. l There is no one to police this drill so you have to be honest with yourself. As the time moves on and your body starts to tire it becomes harder and harder to remain focused on the technique alone, but you must be vigilant. This is an ideal way to condition your powers of concentration.

technique, make poor choices and sometimes seek revenge. In the unlikely event someone has struck you intentionally, your reaction – resorting to scrappy, poorly-executed moves – may be precisely what your opponent hoped for. You should want a fight to run on your terms, not theirs, so stick to your plan and focus on getting that next point. After all, the greatest revenge you can exact is winning. One philosophy I truly believe in is “do the right thing”. If someone hits you, don’t drop to their level, do the right thing. If

someone calls you a name, don’t call them one back, just smile and do the right thing. I was taught that people may say bad things about my ability but they should never be given reason to say something bad about my etiquette or attitude. The common element in all of this advice is that a person who isn’t 100 per cent focused on each point has little chance of beating someone who is. By conditioning your mind to remain focused, you are taking a giant stride towards becoming a champion. Think about it.

The goal for anyone wishing to become a champion is to fix the problem before it hurts you on the scoreboard

Spring 2019




Shimbun’s games guru counts down the best beat ‘em ups of all time... 5. INJUSTICE 2 Let’s be honest, we all want a decent Marvel fighting game. We all want the chance to right some wrongs, to help Thor smash Loki or for Bruce Banner and Black Widow to work through their relationship problems with a good scrap, but until that time, we have to settle for the DC version. So we get Batman, Joker and Superman in foreboding locations beating the hell out of each other. It looks pretty and the fighting mechanics are robust with a surprisingly good single-player campaign. And if DC had not made such a mess of its cinematic universe, this might Suitable for: have been even more enjoyable.


4. MORTAL KOMBAT Mortal Kombat will always hold a special place in my heart because of the outrage it caused on its release in 1992. Tabloids and parents frothed at the mouth at its blood-splattered ultraviolence carried out by photo-realistic motioncaptured characters, although it was the fatality moves that caused the real controversy. When the words “Finish Him’ appeared in red across the screen, it was an invitation to complete your victory in the most sickeningly violent way possible, with each character having a set of special moves for just that job. As a game it wasn’t as good as Street Fighter 2, which came out the same year, but it had a similar impact on the genre and prompted the introduction of age ratings on the industry. Mortal Kombat 2 subsequently hugely Suitable for: improved on the original, while the latest in the series, Mortal Kombat 11, has just hit stores (see page 49).




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3. TEKKEN Tekken 3 was the best fighting game of the Playstation era and the series still sits top of the pile as the best 3D hand-to-hand combat game out there. It has never relied on special moves, but instead rewards creative use of combinations across a cast of wide-ranging and enjoyable characters. Tekken 7 (pictured) is the best in the series since Tekken 3, with a large roster and controls that reward precision and timing. The latest version also has a mode for the noobs, so you can mash all the buttons and still feel like you’re in control while veteran players perfect the deep system of combinations.

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2. STREETFIGHTER 2 The Godfather of fighting games. It’s impossible to say what the genre would look like without Street Fighter, but it influenced everything that came after. It was so good, in fact, that Capcom decided it didn’t need to come up with a newer version for years. But after a spell in the wilderness, the series is back in action with Street Fighter 5, which adds some modern visual polish to the brilliant original gameplay. Boasting unique characters and multiple arenas, with open movement that previous games had lacked, it is still the benchmark. Technical, relying on timing and combinations, you need precision and patience to win Suitable for: at Street Fighter. Just the way it should be.

1. SUPER SMASH BROS Suitable for: Marvel v Capcom was a series of fighting games that might have been the best crossover attempt in the genre, but for the glorious, imperious and unbelievably fun Super Smash Bros. Characters and game worlds collide as players battle to be the last man/woman/hedgehog/robot/ape/ dinosaur/whateverelseyoucanthinkof standing. Nintendo has never followed the crowd, and its own entry differs from the others in that it doesn’t work on hit points, but simply the race to pound your opponent until they take so much damage they fly off the screen. Hundreds of power-ups, a massive cast of characters from across multiple game worlds such as Mario, Sonic, Pacman, Zelda, Metroid, Megaman – the list goes on and on – make this the ultimate party fighting game. Fun, competitive, colourful and very, very satisfying, it’s just one of the best games about.



AUTHOR Ben Reynolds A professional journalist and author, Ben has been a dedicated button basher for as long as he can remember. His first novel, The Last of Logan, is part grief memoir, part love letter to video games and will be out later this year.

VERDICT Are you outraged at the omission of Virtua Fighter or do you believe Ben’s “best of” list is bang on? Share your thoughts via or Twitter and Facebook and we’ll set the record straight next issue.

UP NEXT Movie maestros: Cinema’s greatest action stars Spring 2019




BACK ON THE MENU MARVEL may hold a modern-day monopoly when it comes to casting Hollywood’s hottest stars in a single film, but for most martial arts aficionados, the greatest cinematic line-up bowed in long before the Avengers assembled.

Wheels on Meals OUT NOW BLU-RAY / £19.99 Genre: Action/comedy Rating: 15 Director: Sammo Hung Run time: 107mins Language: Cantonese/English

At the time of its original release in 1984, Wheels on Meals boasted the most exciting triple act in action movie history; uniting the talents of Hong Kong’s Jackie Chan (Rush Hour), Sammo Hung (Martial Law) and Yuen Biao (The Prodigal Son) for the first time. Also starring kickboxing champion Benny “The Jet” Urquidez (Dragons Forever), who faces off against Chan in an incredible fight sequence, the film was a box office smash in East Asia, enthralling audiences with its enticing mix of slick stunts, convincing combat and slapstick comedy. Fortunately for fans of the genre, Wheels on Meals is now being re-served – having benefited from a 2K restoration and brought to Blu-Ray in the UK – so that a new generation can enjoy the tale of two fast-food chefs (Chan and Biao) who find themselves mixed up with a detective (Hung) and his hunt for a missing heiress (Lola Forner).



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Special features include both the original English and Cantonese audio tracks, archival interviews with the cast and alternate “blooper reel” credits, which are now a staple of Chan’s cinematic catalogue.



WIN: THE OPENING CHAPTERS OF A MARTIAL ARTS MASTERPIECE HIS name might not yet be instantly familiar, but for those Shimbun readers who prefer to consume their box sets in a literary form, Guo Jing is set to become a long-term companion. As the character at the centre of the Legends of the Condor Heroes series, he is martial arts’ answer to Frodo Baggins and his odyssey – which begins in China in 1200 AD – is far more fanciful than anything ever imagined by Tolkien or Game of Thrones’ creator George Martin. The son of a murdered Chinese patriot who has grown up against the backdrop of Genghis Khan’s emergence as a powerful warlord, Guo is fated to confront an opponent who is the opposite of him in every way; privileged, cunning and perfectly trained in gravitydefying kung fu. His is a fairytale told on an epic scale and featuring an extensive roster of characters that accompany readers on grand journeys through a plot thick with treachery, courage, loyalty and love.

Penned by Jin Yong, the Legends of the Condor Heroes series was first written in the 1950s as a newspaper serial chronicling the adventures of martial arts heroes and has gone on to become a publishing phenomenon in the East, selling more than 300 million books. Yong’s mythology is now being introduced to Western readers thanks to the translating talents of Anna Holmwood, who is currently working on the third of 12 books to be released. The first in the series, A Hero Born, received critical acclaim and its sequel, A Bond Undone, hit shelves earlier this year. Thanks to publishers Maclehose Press, we are giving five readers the chance to catch-up on the series. To win a copy of both volumes one and two of the Legends of the Condor Heroes, tell us the name of the infamous Mongol warrior-ruler who – before his death in 1227 – extended his empire across much of Asia. Email your answer to (winners will be drawn at random from the correct answers received by June 3).


KOMBAT’S SONYA BLADE GIVEN A ‘ROWDY’ REVIVAL MIXED martial art’s first lady Ronda “Rowdy” Rousey has swapped the professional wrestling ring for the virtual rough and tumble of video game combat. The former Olympian and UFC bantamweight champion is the vocal talent behind a fan-favourite character in the latest instalment of the Mortal Kombat series. Ronda, who became the first American woman to clinch an Olympic medal in judo by winning bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games, is lending her voice to Sonya Blade – a US Special Forces operative and enduring fixture of the 25-year gaming saga. “I’ve been a lifelong Mortal Kombat fan and


Sonya Blade was the first kick-ass female video character that I related to,” said the 32-yearold WWE star. “Now I get to voice her in Mortal Kombat 11 – it’s a dream come true to be part of the franchise that I grew up playing.” Despite beginning a professional wrestling career last year, Ronda’s record as the

This game contains graphic violence

longest reigning UFC women’s champion – a spell characterised by first-round knock-outs and arm-bar submissions – remains unchallenged.

l Mortal Kombat 11 is out now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC. Spring 2019




Travel guru David Eck takes readers on a tour of karate’s cradle BOASTING a distinct and fascinating culture that marries ancient history and ultra-modern cities with breathtaking landscapes, Japan rightly ranks highly on travel bucket lists. And with the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Summer Olympics heading for the Land of the Rising Sun, many are set to tick off this magnificent country while it revels in the sporting spotlight. Japan may not be a short hop for most, but the islands – which sit with their back to East Asia on the edge of the Pacific Ocean – are well worth the effort. GETTING AROUND On the topic of logistics, 50


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Japan’s extensive railway network – renowned for its pace, punctuality and safety record – offers a gateway to discovering this Eastern jewel. Its famous Shinkansen (bullet train) is capable of speeds of up to 320km per hour and is a tourist attraction in its own right. A JR pass grants holders unlimited travel on the trains – with the exception of select Shinkansen services – and is a convenient and value-for-money means of exploring. Those who prefer four wheels but are not brave enough to tackle Japan’s busy cities can opt for taxis, which are nearly all metered and driven by generally polite and

professional cabbies. Although not as efficient as the rail network, there are also plenty of buses for the budget conscious. A PLACE TO REST The choice of accommodation in Japan ranges from the wellknown international brands such as Ritz-Carlton, Hyatt and Four Seasons to the Ryokan, an authentic old-style Japanese hotel or inn where long-held traditions are observed. There are more than 2,000 Ryokan across the islands, which are much-loved as they offer an opportunity to experience traditional Japanesestyle bathing, clothing, futon bedding and cuisine. One of the cheapest ways to

rest your head is with a stay in a capsule hotel, which are generally found in larger cities. For a very small price you get a locker for your luggage and a tiny pod equipped with just bedding, a light and plug socket to charge your phone. They are not for the claustrophobic or those who shy away from communal washing facilities. Alternatively, a Minshuku is Japan’s equivalent of a B&B and is normally family-run, has a handful of rooms and available at a moderate price. A FESTIVAL OF FOOD Japan is definitely the place to “do what the locals do” and eat out. The food options, and


Where worlds collide: Japan – karate’s spiritual home – combines the hustle and bustle of hi-tech Tokyo (above) with history-rich hubs such as former capital Kyoto (right), which is famous for its Buddhist temples, gardens and palaces, and jaw-dropping natural beauty (left).

different cooking styles, are plentiful and provide for every budget. From slurp-and-go noodle stalls and hotpot dishes enjoyed in an Izakaya (Japanese pub) to a refined sushi dining experience, visitors can test their palate with new flavours daily. While seafood dishes appear on most menus, a national favourite is Japanese curry – known locally as kare – that is light, sweet and has a mild heat. For those old enough to do so, sake – an alcoholic drink made by fermenting rice – is another must try. It’s a bit of an acquired taste but once acquired it’s with you for life! HOT SPOTS Although most visitors choose Tokyo as their main destination, Japan’s most-visited places also include Hokkaido, Tohoku, Chubu, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Kobe, Shikoku and Hiroshima. Home to nearly 14 million, the capital itself has everything you would expect from the world’s most-populated city. There is a near unlimited choice of shopping, culture, entertainment and dining and you will need at

least a couple of days to explore. Tokyo’s main attractions include the Imperial Palace, the principal residence of Japan’s Imperial family; the landscaped Koishokawa Gardens, Tsukiji Outer Market and the Edo-Tokyo Museum. On the outskirts, Tokyo Disneyland remains a huge draw and Shibamata is an oldfashioned neighbourhood worth a wander. If your travel budget allows, then an English-speaking guide can hugely enhance the experience by removing the worry of getting lost and providing insider knowledge at each stop-off. Japan’s second largest city is Osaka and roughly divides into two areas – Kita (meaning north) is uptown and best known for shopping and business while Minami (meaning south) is the entertainment district. The latter is where you will find the Tsutenkaku Tower, which was inspired by the Eiffel Tower, built in 1912 and screams retro charm. Those with a head for heights should also pay a visit to the observation deck at The Floating

Garden on the 39th floor of the Umeda Sky Building. Elsewhere in Osaka, the vibrant canal area of Dotonbori is bathed in neon lights, littered with street-food stalls and bars, and is a fun night out. Those wishing to escape the city bustle should head north to the island of Hokkaido. Ideal for lovers of the great outdoors, its mountainous backdrop and natural hot springs become a skiers’ haven in the winter and are decorated with vibrant flora in the summer. And for beer lovers there’s a brewery tour available in Sapporo, which is famed for producing a tasty tipple. BLOOMING MARVELLOUS Japan’s tourism season generally peaks during a pink explosion of colour, with locals following the practice of hanami (“hana” meaning “flower” and “mi” “to view”) and taking every opportunity to picnic under cherry blossom. In Tokyo, the cherry blossom can start blooming in late March and often lasts for just two short weeks. However, elsewhere the blossom can open as early as the

end of January in the south and in late May on Hokkaido. Many spring tours are available to catch the alluring blossom across several cities. HITTING THE ROAD Japan’s national tourist office site – – is a good place to start planning a visit and offers some thrilling packages, such as the 11-day Kansai Grand Tour, which begins in Osaka and ends in the spiritual heartland of Wakayama. This trip combines the modern and traditional, taking in the former Imperial capitals of Kyoto and Nara and an overnight stay in a mountaintop temple retreat. A country of striking contrast, a visit to Japan often feels like a journey of self discovery and many claim to leave with a newfound wisdom. Martial arts may have piqued your interest in this Eastern escape, but there is so much more to embrace in Japan than just GKR Karate’s roots.

For low cost flights and hotels to Japan visit or telephone +44 020 8518 5151. ATOL/IATA licensed. Spring 2019



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Shimbun – Issue 1 – Spring 2019  

A new quarterly magazine which champions GKR Karate, celebrates the successes of its students and showcases the club’s inspirational stories...

Shimbun – Issue 1 – Spring 2019  

A new quarterly magazine which champions GKR Karate, celebrates the successes of its students and showcases the club’s inspirational stories...