The Early Days
Marple Bujinkai Karate Club was established in the early 1970’s, during what many refer to as the "golden era" of karate in Great Britain. The club was established during the expansion of the Bujinkai Karate Association, founded by John Smith, one of the early pioneers of karate in the UK in the 1960's. Sensei Smith had studied various styles of karate, including both Wado Ryu and Shotokan Karate for several years, under the first wave of Japanese instructors who arrived in the UK to spread their styles of karate.
In addition, he was well versed in western boxing, and had practiced other styles of martial arts, including the Chinese styles of White Crane and Praying Mantis, with Bujinkai co-founder, the late Danny Connor. It is therefore fair to say that Bujinkai Karate was, initially, an eclectic mix of martial arts techniques, heavily influenced by the major karate styles of
Wado Ryu and Shotokan.
Over several years, as Bujinkai grew into one of the largest karate associations in the UK, with many clubs, and several thousand members, it gradually developed its own unique syllabus, and thus grew into its own unique style, with its members becoming a prominent force in various forms of competition karate, including points fighting, semi contact, full contact karate and kickboxing. This was an era when anyone wanting to do a contact martial art chose either Judo, Boxing or Karate.
Indeed it could be argued that Bujinkai Karate was the original "Mixed Martial Art" in the UK, as it quickly gained a fierce reputation as a hard style of Karate, with its fair share of hard men !
During the 1990s, under the guidance of professional fighter and chief instructor Sensei John Shiels, Bujinkai Karate Association began to take a slightly different direction, with practicality and application of the techniques in a combative / self defence situation becoming more of a priority over traditional "competition karate". With John Smith as the active chairman, and John Shiels as the chief instructor, the group was being pulled in different directions; on the one hand the traditional, and on the other, the more pragmatic approach. As Bujinkai karate was always intended to be an open and progressive style John Shiels was keen to develop the style further, especially due to the advent of MMA. As a result, the association was fragmented, with many clubs breaking away from the original Bujinkai Karate Association.
Under the guidance of long established club instructor Rob Dixon, who, wishing to further explore and teach the original self defence aspects of karate, (which are typically excluded from the art in its modern, rule bound sportive form), the club established itself as an independent organisation in 2015.
Restructuring its core syllabus, building around the original syllabus of the Bujinkai Karate Association, with additional influence from many of todays most prominent karate practitioners, the club aims to provide students with the skill and knowledge to effectively defend themselves at all standing ranges of combat.
The training we offer is also suitable for any aspiring full contact / MMA fighter to gain a solid "stand up" game, incorporating time honoured training methods and techniques. Many of todays top athletes in the UFC, (such as Lyoto Machida, George St Pierre, Stephen Thompson, Justin Scoggins and Uriah Hall), come from a traditional Karate background, and attribute their success to the skills they acquired from Karate training.