Michael began his karate training in 1963 under Britain’s first karate black belt Vernon Bell, who was head of the first karate association in Britain (British Karate Federation). Training was in a room above the Horseshoe pub in Clerkenwell.
In 1964, he featured in the first colour film of karate in Britain, which was shown in cinemas across the country and later took part in the first demonstrations given by the JKA in Britain.
In the mid-1960s, Michael helped found the KUGB, which helped greatly in getting top Japanese instructors to come to Britain to spread karate. He trained with Senseis Murakami and Mochizuki in his early years, and with Senseis Nagai, Takahashi, Kase, Enoeda, Tanaka, Yahara, Shirai, Asano and of course, Sensei Kanazawa, with whom he became very close. Indeed, he was one of Sensei Kanazawa’s “Seven Samurai”, training almost daily with him.
In 1970 he was chosen to be part of the British team to take on the Japanese all styles team.
Michael and many other UK instructors stayed with Kanazawa when he broke from the JKA to form the SKI. Kanazawa and other senior Japanese instructors regularly appeared at the Winchmore Hill dojo, and conducted frequent gradings.
Michael’s grading history is as follows: 1st Dan in 1967, 2nd Dan 1970, 3rd Dan 1973 and 4th Dan in 1978. He once said that he “never even contemplated getting a black belt when I started karate and when I got it, it was nice but the happiest grading experience was getting third dan because in Kanazawa 's eyes that was when you became a junior instructor. So that was a truly significant, satisfying and memorable day for me”.
In the late 1970s it was time for Michael and others to form their own organisation, the English Shotokan Karate Organisation (ESKA). In 1994 he set up and was Chief Instructor of the Shotokan Traditional Karate Organisation (SHOTO).
He was dedicated to the three Ks of karate – kumite, kata and kihon and has never given way to the trends of the day. His superb technical ability and attention to detail can be gleaned from the set of four instructional videos he produced or the video recordings from the Winchmore Hill training sessions in the 1980s. He was a truly inspirational instructor.
As befitting such a pioneer of karate in Great Britain and a stalwart practitioner, he was awarded an MBE in 2003 for services to karate by Her Majesty the Queen. He was presented with his 9th Dan in 2011, at the time making him one of the highest non-Japanese instructors in Europe.
In response to an interview question: “What has karate given you over all these years?” he replied, “A simple answer is everything. You will only get out of karate what you put into it and that is the most important lesson. There are no secrets in karate, you have to live it and experience it to discover all it has to offer. After all these years, health for a start, I was a very sickly child, a chronic asthmatic. It has given me my physical strength and also an inner strength of character through my years of training. It has given me my friends and the reason to travel. It has given me all I have and made me what I am. I am not materialistic and money doesn't bother me. However, I consider myself to be rich, not wealthy, I feel rich inside. I have a wealth of friends and experiences given to me by karate”.
Official Announcement from IFK Headquarters:
It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Hanshi Steve Arneil who died suddenly on Friday 2nd July 2021 in London.
His influence and impact on Kyokushin Karate internationally for nearly sixty years are immeasurable and he was, without doubt, an icon of the twentieth century who influenced many.
There are no words to express the loss of Hanshi and our sympathies are extended to his family at this difficult time.
“There are times of suffering which remain
in our lives like black absolutes and are
not blotted out. Fortunate are those for whom
these black stars shed some sort of light.”
Hanshi shone a light in many people’s lives and that light will shine with us all eternally.
A full appreciation of Hanshi’s life and achievement will be published by the International Federation of Karate in due course.
Mitsusuke Harada Sensei MBE
On the 26th February, 2021 the karate world mourned the passing of Mitsusuke Harada Sensei MBE, the Chief instructor of the Karate-Do Shotokai (KDS). Harada held the rank of 5th dan, which was personally awarded to him by Gichin Funakoshi in 1956.
The EKF sends its condolences to all his students and family.
It is with great sadness that the EKF has learnt of the passing of Peter Spanton Sensei.
Peter was one of English Karate's original pioneers, and a great supporter of the EKF and previous NGB's. He was the founder of Higashi karate which over the years has produced many champions.
The EKF send our condolences to Peter's Family, friends, and students. Our thoughts are with you at this difficult time.
A pioneer of British Wado-ryu Karate, Peter Spanton is one of the first generation of British karateka. He was one of the first Englishman to be graded to black belt in Wado-ryu by Tatsuo Suzuki. He has also taught many of the top instructors in the United Kingdom.
Spanton was at the forefront of many changes and innovations in British and World Karate. In 1980, alongside Ticky Donovan and John Smith, he helped form the English Karate Governing Body (EKGB) and
Spanton was at the forefront of many changes and innovations in British and World Karate. In 1980, alongside Ticky Donovan and John Smith, he helped form the English Karate Governing Body (EKGB). His HKK federation we are one of the founding members of the EKGB, and Spanton sat on its Executive Board. He also sat on the Executive Board of the British Karate Control Commission (BKCC).
The English Karate Federation have learned that former Coach, National & International Official Terry Robins sadly passed away earlier today. Terry, a real gentleman of the Karate scene, Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.
The EKF has learned of the sad passing of Harold Stephenson. We would like to extend our deepest condolences to Harold's family.
Harold will be best known for being one of our senior referees, but he was also a passionate martial artist.
He will be sadly missed, but not forgotten
Bob Poynton - 8th Dan
It is with regret that the EKF informs you of the sad passing of one of England’s and Britain’s finest karateka, Sensei Bob Poynton of the KUGB. We extend our sincere condolences to his family, friends and loved ones.
Bob Poynton was born on the 30th July 1949 at Walton in the City of Liverpool. He attended De La Salle Grammar School and on leaving school, enlisted as a civil servant with the Customs and Excise. In 1968 he gained his 1st Dan and left the Customs and Excise to become a full-time assistant instructor to Andy Sherry.
In the 18 years between 1968 and 1985, he represented England and Great Britain as a member of both the KUGB and All-Styles teams, achieving many victories in National and International events. In 1976 he was the KUGB National Individual Kumite Champion and was Shotokan Cup Grand Champion in 1976, 1977 and 1978.
During the period of convalescence from the injuries, he started to take an active part in the administration of the KUGB and he was appointed Affiliations Officer in 1974 and National Administrator in 2002. Totally committed to the development and welfare of the KUGB, he says that he will always strive to maintain good communication between the Executive and the membership, so that the members are informed of, and understand, the decisions reached on their behalf.
The EKF would like to extend our condolences to the family and friends of Sensei Eddie Daniels after his recent passing
Shihan Eddie Daniels started training Karate in 1965 and was a member of the All-styles British Squad from 1970 to 1975.
In addition to teaching in Great Britain Sensei Daniels also visited other countries to teach. In 1995 after the passing of his teacher Master Kimura, Shihan Daniels became one of 4 of the Kimura Shukokai International (KSI) World Chief Instructors, alongside his fellow seniors Shihan Bill Bressaw 9th Dan (USA), Shihan Chris Thompson 9th Dan (South Africa) & Shihan Lionel Marinus 9th Dan (South Africa).
Shihan Daniels is Master Kimura's most Senior European Instructor.
In 1999 Shihan Daniels was awarded a Special Award from Combat Magazine, for his outstanding Contribution towards the development of Martial Arts in the United Kingdom and the World.
Shihan Daniels sadly passed away in 25th January 2020 aged only 70 years old. He will be truly missed by all his family and students all over the world.
His teachings will never be forgotten.
Recently, we heard the very sad news that Sensei Kanazawa peacefully passed away on the 8th December 2019 aged 88 years. Sensei needs no introduction - the legendary Shotokan Master who graduated from Takushoku University and founded the SKIF, was seen as one of the great masters of Karate and was recognised within the sport worldwide.
In 2000 he achieved the rank of 10th Dan, the highest level in Karate and was a student of Sensei Funakoshi who was regarded by many as the Father of Modern Day Karate. We say goodbye to a true gentleman and great Karate-Ka who trail blazed Shotokan Karate for what it is today.
The EKF are extremely sad to hear this news and pass on our deepest condolences and sympathy to his immediate Family - The Kanazawa's - Nobuaki, Daizo & Fumitoshi.
Rest in Peace and Oss!!!
Shihan John Smith
It is with great sadness that today 9th March 2017, we have to announce the death of the ‘warrior’, Shihan John Smith, a pioneer of British Karate and founder of Bujinkai Karate.
It would be impossible to state all he has achieved, as his modesty did not allow us to know (and some of us have tried!) But some of what we do know is: Shihan Smith started his karate journey in the sixties, when karate was fairly new to this country, under Tatsuo Suzuki. During those early yearshe also met and trained under such people asKeinosuke Enoeda, Shigeru Kimura, and Hirokazu Kanazawa. During these times he met and trained along side the likes of Ticky Donovan, Peter Spanton, Danny Connor, Dominique Valera’ (to name but a few).
Shihan Smith tirelessly lived and breathed karate; he studied, practiced, instructed and promoted karate for some 50 years. He was also an author and promoter of karate, kick boxing and boxing events during the 70 -80’s.
Shihan Smith had great success in the competion arena, as a competitor and coach, both nationally and internationally He achieved national champion - in both Kata and Kumite, he represented Great Britain on numerous occasions and twice captained Great Britain in European Championships, and lead them once into victory. He also coached the winning team at the World Championships in 1986.
Shihan Smith introduced his own style ‘Bujinkai Karate’ to the martial arts world in 1972 which at its heights had in the region of over a thousand students in clubs all over the country, and it still continues to this day.
He will be sadly missed by all those who have met him on his journey.
Rest in peace Shihan. You will always be remembered and we will never forget what you have given to us all - Domo Arigato Gozaimashita
It is with deep sadness that the EKF has learned of the passing of Suzanne Genery. After a period of illness, Suzanne passed away on 30th April 2012.
Many will remember Suzanne for the work she did within the EKGB. It was her tireless efforts and commitment that saw the then NGB establish itself as the lead body for karate in England, and ensured karate received the support, and recognition she felt it deserved from various sports bodies.
Suzanne was instrumental in establishing clear coaching qualifications and guidelines for karate, and help lead karate into the modern era of Sport development. Her commitment to the England squad was second to none, and it was her work that saw funding of the England squad like never before and not matched since.
She will be remembered for her positive attitude, her infectious humour and her drive to succeed. Suzanne was also an able Wado Ryu karate-ka who competed at the highest levels being a former Wado Ryu European Kata and Kumite champion. She was a senior instructor and founder of the BWKU, and though she went on to work for the British Equestrian Federation, she never lost her enthusiasm for the art.
The Board, on behalf of the EKF, extends its deepest condolences to Suzanne’s family. Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.
Professor Tatsuo Suzuki
Wado International Karate-Do Federation
27th April 1928 -12th July 2011
Tatsuo Suzuki decided from an early age that he would dedicate his life to training and developing Wado Ryu Karate after experiencing training with Master Hironori Ohtsuka. He was so impressed by the knowledge, experience and mastery of technique; he decided to emulate Ohtsuka’s spirit of karate and practice until he would almost fall with exhaustion.
Tatsuo Suzuki became a Sensei to many students who are spread all over the world and who will miss him for more than karate, he was a father figure to his instructors who willed and encouraged them to help one another. His standards were high in the dojo and he was not easily pleased. His students will have his phrases engrained on their memory forever as he insisted on ‘practice, practice, practice...more, more, more...again, again, again..’
Be at peace Sensei from your loyal family of students and beloved wife Eleni.
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glints of snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain
When you wake in the morning hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight
I am the soft star that shines at night
Do not stand on my grave and cry
I am not there, I did not die.
It is with great sadness that I have to inform you of the unexpected and untimely passing of Mr Chris Mundle 6th Dan on Bank holiday 31st August. Chris 45 was an England International competitor for many years and had represented England at World and European Championships as well as other various International tournaments. Chris Mundle was the founding member of Kaizen Karate Association and had been involved in karate for nearly 30 years. In addition Chris was a celebrity Personal Trainer and had worked on TV shows such as Britain’s Next Top Model and Breakfast Television.
Chris Mundle was a true gentleman and loved by many, always positive in his outlook on life and always a joy to be around, he loved to laugh and he loved life. He was a great karateka and a dedicated father and more recently a proud grandfather. However equally as important was the impact he made to those who considered him a close friend. Chris was a great person and a great friend to many of us and he will be sadly missed.
I am sure all reading this will share my sentiment and join me in sending Chris Mundle’s family our sincere condolences and offer our support to them in this time of great sadness and loss.
God we pray that you accept one of our soldiers, God be with you R. I. P Chris, and we all miss you.
Your Karate Family.
Message from Ticky Donovan OBE
I was very shocked to hear the news of the death of Chris Mundle, and would like to say,” that I considered Chris a great member of the England squad, who always gave 100% and attended all of the squad sessions. We have lost a truly great karateka, who was someone that lived respected and now has passed on to the great dojo in the sky with much regret. I would also to send my personal condolences to the family.
Len Palmer 1921 - 2009
It is with great regret that we announce the death of Len Palmer, aged 88 one of the founding fathers of organised karate in England.
Len was a leading light in the original English governing body for Karate, the BKCC and gave many years of his life to helping the development and organising of karate in the 60’s and 70’s. He is mainly remembered for his long-term role as secretary of the British Karate Association (BKA) to which he gave much time. Len hoped the BKA would evolve on the lines of the British Judo Association, where clubs nationally could be in membership of the one national karate body and thus automatically benefit by official recognition. This was considered by Len to be important for national and international competition, also contributing to a controlled development of the sport. However, the rapid growth of karate took many by surprise so that the BKA then became just one of seven main karate groups.
In the late 1960s a murder trial took place at the Old Bailey in which the accused’s defence was that he had been taught karate and but had no idea how effective his blows could be. The trial judge recommended an official inquiry into karate which resulted in the Home Office deciding that karate activity was acceptable, but growth and development needed standards and control.
The British Karate Control Commission was formed and the British Karate Association, with Len Palmer as secretary, was a founder member of this Commission along with six other major, mainly style-based, organisations.
Len Palmer’s ideal dream of the BKA becoming the umbrella organisation to which all clubs, irrespective of style, could belong never materialised as he would have liked. Nevertheless he played an important part in the early development of karate nationally and lived to see the number of karate groups exceed 200.
He was a good administrator with a genial and pleasant manner who will be remembered by all, particularly those who experienced the rapid growth years of the 1970s. He remained interested in karate development up to his death.
Charles Naylor 7th Dan - March 15th 2007
It is with great sadness that we have learned of the death of senior SHOTOKAN sensei Charles Naylor 7th Dan at the age of 73. We extend all our condolences to his family. Please see the click here for a profile (courtesy of the KUGB) of this very senior KUGB instructor/official.
It is with great sadness that I learned yesterday of the passing to the great dojo in the sky of Charles Naylor Esq. Charles was an honourable man whom I always had a good deal of time for. Both he and the late, and in my view great, Derrick Langham were stalwart members of the KUGB. Karate in general and the KUGB in particular, have lost two great men, who I firmly believe will be sadly missed and hard to replace.