Our History

AUTHENTIC JAPANESE SHOTOKAN KARATE TRAINING BROUGHT TO YOU BY RESPECTED HIGH RANKING ENGLISH INSTRUCTORS

Gichin Funakoshi
Gichin Funakoshi - The revered 'Shoto', bought modern day karate in to the world in the year 1906 where it quickly grew to become the most famous of martial arts.

History of Karate

Karate originated in India and was introduced to China 3000 years ago. Tradition has it that an Indian Buddhist monk went to China in AD527 to establish the Zen school of Buddhism. He taught the monks of the Shaolin Temple the art of Zen, then devised a method of training to strengthen them physically and mentally, this he called Kempo. Kempo became the basis of Karate and Kung-Fu.

Following civil wars in Japan, during the 11th Century, many refugees fled to Okinawa, a small island SW of Japan. The Okinawans, mainly fishermen, were proficient in the Martial Arts and after a law passed in 1429 banned the use of weapons an even greater emphasis was placed on all forms of weapons fighting. During the late 1800's Japan put pressure on Okinawa to accept the Japanese Government system which they resisted and civil war again erupted. During this period unarmed combat became known as KARA-TE (empty hands).

1906

Okinawan schoolteacher Gichin Funakoshi gave a demonstration of Kara-Te. It was so impressive that Kara-Te became part of school curriculum.

1906

1917

Sensei Funakoshi asked to give demonstration in Kyoto, Japan. Probably the first time that Kara-Te had been seen in Japan.

1917

1923

1923 Sensei Funakoshi moved to Japan and Kara-Te was taught in military and universities.

1923

1928

1928 Kara-Te accelerated across Japan.

1928

1936

Sensei Funakoshi opened a permanent Dojo (training hall). His pen name at the time was SHOTO and therefore the place where he trained was called SHOTOKAN or SHOTO’s hall.  

1936

1947

Sensei Funakoshi attempted to form an all styles Karate organisation called Japan Karate Association. This was rejected by other styles so the J.K.A. became Shotokan only.

1947

1957

Sensei Funakoshi died and the J.K.A. handed to Sensei Nakayama who continued with his master’s wishes and trained such famous instructors as Kanazawa, Kase and Shirai. These instructors were then sent all over the world to spread the word of Karate.

1957

Shotokan

Gichin Funakoshi, The Father of Modern Karate, was born in 1868 in Naha City, Okinawa Prefecture. He was the son of a Samurai who started training in the Martial Arts as a young man to help overcome his frailness. He became the Chairman of the Okinawa Shobukai in 1913. Funakoshi was a school teacher and a poet who wrote under the pen name of "Shoto". From 1924 until his death in 1957, he travelled around Japan teaching karate at many Universities. He wrote several books on Karate including his autobiography, Karate-Do: My Way of Life, which was completed shortly before his death.

After a hard day of teaching in the local school and several more hours of strenuous karate practice, he would often walk up Mount Torao and meditate among the pine trees. Mount Torao is a very narrow, heavily wooded mountain which, when viewed from a distance, resembles a tiger’s tail. The name “Torao” in fact literally means “tiger’s tail”.

In later life, Funakoshi explained that the cool breezes which blew among the pines made the trees whisper like waves breaking on the shore. Thus, since he gained his greatest poetic inspirations while walking there, he chose the pen name of Shoto, “pine waves”.

Master Nakayama (left) Gichin Funakoshi (right)

Master Nakayama (left) Gichin Funakoshi (right)

Shotokan Tiger
Gichin Funakoshi’s pen name “Shoto” literally means ‘pine waves’, and today is synonymous with the tiger symbol and Shotokan Karate-do. However, few people understand the relationship of Shoto to what is commonly known as the “Shotokan Tiger”. When Gichin Funokoshi was a young man, he enjoyed walking in solitude among the pine trees which surrounded his home town of Shuri.

The tiger which is commonly used as the symbol for Shotokan karate is a traditional Chinese design which implies that “the tiger never sleeps”. Symbolized in the Shotokan tiger, therefore, is the keen alertness of the wakeful tiger and the serenity of the peaceful mind which Gichin Funakoshi experienced while listening to the pine waves on Tiger’s Tail Mountain.

Eddie Whitcher

Sensei Edward Arthur Whitcher, was the founding member of the Kenshinkai Shotokan Karate Club, after being given the club name by Shihan Kanazawa.

Sensei Whitcher started Martial Arts around 1960 with Judo. Following a motorcycle accident he was forced to give this up. Out of curiosity derived mostly from American magazines he started karate in April 1963.

The next milestone in Sensei Whitcher's Karate life was in 1965 when four Japanese Sensei arrived, including the two well known Karate Masters, Shihan Enoeda and Kanazawa. In July of that year Sensei Whitcher took an open grading under Sensei Kanazawa and attained 3rd kyu.

In April 1966 Sensei Whitcher was one of the first Western students of Shihan Kanazawa to obtain Shodan. This was soon to be followed in 1966 with Nidan. This is documented under an interview with Nick Adamou (read here).

Shortly after taking Nidan, Sensei Whitcher followed Shihan Kanazawa to Japan, where he would stay for four years, and in fact meet his wife Toshiko Whitcher. He endured daily sessions of brutally hard training, which far exceeds that of today's classes. Further difficulties including finance and the extreme humidity made his stay even more of a challenge. Due to his ability, Sensei Whitcher was directly invited by Shihan Kanazawa, to join the instructor's class.

Sensei Whitcher's time in Japan ended in 1971 when he returned to England as Sandan. This is when he started his own club in Tenterden Road, Dagenham where he continued to train at his incredible pace.

During this time in 1978/9 the club was very small and consisted of students like Glen Moulds and Peter Edwards until he sadly passed away in 1990. The name Kenshinkai was handed over to his two most senior Instructors Glen Moulds and Bernie Heerey. Bernie still trains at the old dojo in Dagenham but has changed to more Jujitsu type training, and Glen Moulds runs the Kenshinkai Shotokan Karate Group, continuing in the footsteps of Sensei Whitcher.

Sensei Whitcher was one of the first westerners to achieve Shodan, he spent 3 years training in Japan and became the first Britain to receive his 3rd Dan from the JKA in 1971. In 1979 as he helped setup the ESKA as joint chief instructor, leaving in 1981 because he was tired of associations; deciding to train indepenedtly.

Sadly, in 1990 Eddie Whicher passed away, though he left his mark upon the heritage of Shotokan Karate and gave us the Kenshinkai legacy to uphold.

Kenshinkai

Kenshinkai Shotokan Karate Club is one of the oldest Shotokan Karate clubs in the country (established June 1972). It was founded by the late Eddie Whitcher who trained in the JKA Instructors class in Japan under Sensei Nakayama in the 1960's. Sensei Nakayama was the senior student to Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of modern day Karate. This puts our club only four levels down from Funakoshi Sensei and maintains the pure Japanese Shotokan lineage.

Kenshinkai has it's own dedicated training hall which is mirrored, air conditioned and has a wooden sprung floor. The main training hall (dojo) is available for students to train 7 days a week and for our adult members there is access to a small licenced bar.

Kenshinkai has a team of instructors. All adult instructors have experience in teaching and hold current DBS certificates.

All members of the club are required to have karate insurance which is included in the annual membership fee.

The club is currently run by Glen Moulds 5th Dan who is refered to as Kancho which means 'master of the house and owner of the dojo'. With more than 40 years karate experience Kancho was the senior instructor to Eddie Whitcher and took over the club on his death and was graded to 5th Dan under Sensei Mikio Yahara 8th Dan and a Japanese grading panel in June 2005.

Kancho is assisted by Chief Instructor Sensei Andy Walls 4th Dan who has been with the club and training for over 20 years.

Kenshinkai welcomes both adult and children beginners and advanced students to join the club. We also welcome other clubs to join us if you are looking for a friendly and traditional Shotokan organisation with the emphasis placed on training.

Seinsei Moulds

Sensei Glen Moulds was born in Hull, Yorkshire in August 1957. Educated in Hull he joined the Army from 1972 to 1978 serving 4 years in Germany. It was here that he received his first taste of the Martial Arts with a short course in TaeKwonDo. Leaving the Army to join the Metropolitan Police in 1979 Sensei Moulds then took up Shotokan Karate seriously under Sensei Eddie Whitcher in Dagenham, Essex. Training was five days a week compulsory to keep your place in the club and was based on the JKA system where Sensei Whitcher had been in the Instructors class. Grading to Nidan (2nd Dan) under Sensei Whitcher the highest Kata still taught was Bassai Dai. Upon the death of Sensei Whitcher in 1990 Sensei Moulds and Sensei Heerey were handed the position of Chief Instructors of Kenshinkai.

It was Sensei Whitcher's last wish that Kenshinkai joins Sensei Kanazawa and the SKI. A short while later S.K.K.I.F (Shotokan Karate Kanazawa Ryu International Federation) was formed dedicated to the teachings of Sensei Kanazawa. Sensei Moulds was one of the founding members of SKKIF, holding a senior position in the organisation and graded Sandan (3rd Dan) under Sensei Kanazawa in 1993. Sensei Moulds went on to represent the S.K.K.I.F. England squad in Las Vegas. Four years later Sensei Moulds was a Detective Sergeant on the ‘Flying squad’ and made the difficult decision to leave the police force and follow the "dream" of teaching Karate full time. Due to the politics in Karate, Sensei Moulds and some other senior grades sadly resigned from S.K.K.I.F and joined a London based Toyakwai group under Sensei Joe Anderson while waiting for the right moment to rejoin a Japanese Karate organisation.

In January 2003 Sensei Moulds joined Kenshinkai to the Japan Karate Association – UK (JKA-UK) under the guidance of Senseis Robert Sidoli 7th Dan and Jim Lewis 7th Dan. Within 9 months of joining Sensei was fulfilling his lifetimes ambition and training in Japan with Sensei Mikio Yahara 8th Dan. While there he paid his respects to the graveside of Gichin Funakoshi.

In July 2005 Sensei Moulds sat and passed a grading examination in front of Senseis Yahara 8th Dan, Kawasaki 6th Dan, Sidoli 7th Dan, Lewis 7th Dan, McCusker 6th Dan, and several other senior ranks. As well as his 5th Dan Sensei Moulds also successfully passed Japanese Examiners, Referees and Instructor qualifications. Sensei has had over 3,000 students join him since 1990 and several of his students have gone on to attain high ranks such as Peter Edwards 6th Dan, Dave Lewin 5th Dan and Geoff Mitchell 5th DanDan of the London Matsuba Kai Karate Clubs, Dave Barker 3rd Dan head of Kenshinkai Norway. Christina Traher 2nd Dan Captain of the Oxford Blues Karate Squad, and Jenan Wijayasri Captain of the Cambridge Blues Karate Squad. Anil Bhudia iand Zita Currie n Australia and Bibhor Bannerjee of India. Sensei is proud of all his previous students and Instructors who are spread across the world and who continue to train and teach.

In 2005 Sensei Moulds built his own dojo which is now the hombu of the Kenshinkai Shotokan Karate organisation. Sensei lives in the village of Barrow with his beautiful wife Julie and has four daughters Jade, Yasmin, Paris and Charlie, Suffolk Academy which he built and owns now incorporates many other activities (see www.suffolkacademy.com).

In 2019 after many years of planning and filming Sensei Moulds launched the worlds first authentic Japanese Shotokan online club ‘My Online Karate’ which was scoffed by many who said “you can’t learn Karate online”. By January 2021 the club was in 34 countries across the globe expanding the name of Kenshinkai globally. The Honbu (Headquarters) Dojo welcomes students from all over the world to come and train with a visitors book to sign and reflect your memories of your visit. The site at Suffolk Academy has a campsite and pod for students to stay Best Wishes Sensei Glen Moulds (5th Dan).

Sensei Glen Moulds

(5th Dan)

Kenshinkai Club Lineage

This timeline illustrates the pure and direct path from the foundations of Shotokan Karate to the current day practice of Kenshinkai Shotokan overseen by our Chief Instructor, Sensei Moulds 5th Dan, Japan.

c.1827/28 - 1906

Yasutsune Azato

Master trainer of

Gichin Funakoshi

c.1827/28 - 1906

c.1830/32 - 1916

Yasutsune Itosu

Master trainer of

Gichin Funakoshi

c.1830/32 - 1916

1868 - 1957

Gichin Funakoshi

Founder of

Shotokan Karate  

1868 - 1957

1913 - 1987

Masatoshi Nakayama

1913 - 1987

b. 1931 SKKIF

Hirokazu Kanazawa

b. 1931 SKKIF

1941 - 1990

Eddie Whitcher

Founder of Kenshinkai

1941 - 1990

1957 -

Glen Moulds

Chief Instructor Kenshinkai

1957 -
Sensei Glen Moulds 5th Dan

Sensei Glen in action over the years

Train with our respected & high ranking English instructors

Sensei Glen Moulds Black Belt 5th Dan (Japan) leads the team of Instructors with Andy Walls 4th Dan. With over 60 years of experience between the two of them, we will guide you through each module allowing you to get guaranteed quality personal attention.

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