We are now approaching the British Shorinji Kempo Federation's 40th Anniversary. Yes, that's right. It is forty years since the first Shorinji Kempo branches were established in the United Kingdom.
Tameo Mizuno, the BSKF founder and chief instructor, opened the first Shorinji kempo dojo in London in 1974. He was helped in his endeavours by Bryn Williams, who was the head of the British Karate Control Commission. The venue was City University, right in the heart of London's financial centre. Some of Mizuno sensei's students from the early days include Terry Goodman, Soon Keat Jee, Paul White and Jeremy Shackleton who went on to help expand the BSKF in London.
By coincidence, Toshiaki Yoshida opened a Shorinji kempo branch in Bournemouth in the same year. Russell Jenkins and Peter Moore joined the Bournemouth branch almost from the outset, and went on to establish a strong base for Shorinji kempo in Hampshire and Dorset.
Benny Wang established a Shorinji kempo dojo at Glasgow University in the mid-1970s. We have very little detail about this part of our history, and would be very grateful if anyone could help to fill it in.
A further base was established at Oxford University around 1980, by Hiroshi Takahashi. Mr Takahashi went on to have a career in the Japanese diplomatic service, and in 2005 hosted a BSKF visit to Uzbekistan. More of that later. The Oxford University branch was continued by Masaaki Maehara and Chris Lloyd.
The early British branches convened a "British Shorinji Kempo Convention" in 1975, and by the following year the "British Shorinji Kempo Association" (BSKA) was formed. In the same year, in the midst of a martial arts craze, the BSKA was represented on the British Martial Arts Council by Jon von Hoff.
In the ensuing years, the BSKF has firmly established itself in the British martial arts community. From the very early days, we held a place on the Martial Arts Council; were a founding partner in the annual charity event, Martial Aid; have become a regular participant in the Japanese Matsuri festival. We have run a weekend summer camp since the early 1980s; a weekend seminar for our university branches since the early 1990s.
In 2000, Mizuno sensei was honoured with a Year 2000 Ambassador's Commendation, in recognition of his contribution over many years to Japanese-British friendship. The story of Shorinji kempo in the United Kingdom is inseparable from Mizuno sensei's story. However, it is not only Mizuno sensei's story. Over the next few weeks we intend to celebrate our proud history, and have some fun doing so.
The Irish TV news piece that we posted a while ago is now available with subtitles.
Recently a BSKF contingent visited our good friends at Shorinji Kempo Corca Dhuibhne, in Dingle, Ireland. In recent years we have made several trips to Dingle, and always been very kindly hosted by Paidi Cazenove, the branch master. This trip, headed by Mizuno sensei, attracted local television. The piece starts at just after six minutes, and is in Gaelic.