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History of Marple Bujinkai

Marple Bujinkai Karate was first established as part of a national network of clubs in the UK which comprised the Bujinkai Karate Association, developed in 1972 by the late Shihan John Smith.

Having trained under many of the top Japanese instructors upon their arrival in England in the 1960’s, when visiting Japanese instructors were a rarity, John Smith was one of the first in the UK to absorb knowledge directly from many of the worlds great instructors, regardless of style. These included Tatsuo Suzuki (Wado) and Kanazawa & Enoeda (Shotokan) , amongst others.


John Smith was the innovator of Bujinkai Karate, and one of the pioneers of Karate in Great Britain. He made a close study of Karate and associated arts since the early 1960's. He was a former national champion, in both kata and kumite, and has represented Great Britain on many occasions, having captained Great Britain twice at the European Championships, during the period which many refer to  as the “Golden Age” of Karate in the UK, which produced karate legends such as Ticky Donovan, Peter Spanton, Roy Stanhope, and many others of that era. He was the former chairman of the British Karate Association (BKA).

In recent years the senior instructor of Bujinkai Karate was Sensei John Shiels, 6th Dan, who owns the Fighting Fit Dojo in Banbury, Oxfordshire. Although no longer active in the Bujinkai Karate Association, Sensei Shiels was a major influence in the ongoing development of Bujinkai Karate, and as a professional fighter, his training methods influenced greatly those who trained under him.

Over the years since the 1970s the club has trained in many local venues, including the Hawk Green Reading Rooms, Marple Ridge High School, and Marple Methodist Church, before settling in its current dojo inside the Goyt Mill many years ago.

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