Our club was founded in 1987 by Andy Allwood at Darwen Leisure Centre. It's now known as “Tower Shukokai” to reflect its long association with the area. Training is regular every week, and we also attend courses and tournaments around the country and abroad.
Chief Instructor Andy Allwood started karate in 1983, but despite the years of training he still considers himself a student of the art and is always trying to make improvements.
He has also had many years in the security business where he has acquired a thorough knowledge of practical self-defence techniques.
Martyn Skipper’s formal Martial Arts career began in 1974, although he arguably was born to fight - his father was a professional boxer. His experience encompasses many systems including Judo, Shotokan and Ju Jutsu.
The Style (Shukokai)
The style of Shukokai (“Way for All”) is noted for its powerful punches. A derivative of Shito-Ryu, it was developed by Chojiro Tani and Shigeru Kimura who first brought it to the UK. Shukokai is one of the three most-practiced styles in this country and the first to introduce the use of impact pads as an aid to training.
Most people think you have to be fit to start karate training. The syllabus that we work to starts at a level where most people can manage and gets harder as the standard gets higher. But you never know what you can achieve until you try it.
You will be covered by the club’s insurance as soon as you start training, but after four weeks you will be expected to apply for a licence. This is renewable annually and will give the holder member-to-member cover. It will also carry membership of the Amateur Martial Association, the largest multi-style martial arts association in the UK; and the World Union of Karatedo Federations (WUKF).
So Why Karate?
Karate is a popular and enjoyable pastime which fosters both physical fitness and life-saving skills. It is relatively cheap to learn and has the added advantage that it can be practiced throughout life from childhood to old age. The grading system encourages, and measures continuous improvement and allows the matching of equivalent abilities in competition.
Our syllabus is founded upon the traditional three pillars of Kihon (basic techniques), Kata (formal exercises) and Kumite (pairs work, ranging from pre-arranged drills to—for those with a high level of skill—almost unrestricted free sparring). We also encourage participation in competitions (shiai) and explore methods from other systems.It is our belief that karate is a morally sound discipline and this is reflected in our high ethical values, particularly in regard to coaching children.
It is our sincere belief that the examination ("shinza") for a belt grade ("kyu" or "dan") should be a fair test of ability and mental resolve. Gradings are held regularly (and for some junior members continuous assessment promotions are made). Unlike at some clubs, you are not guaranteed to pass an examination, but are encouraged to attempt a grading, as if you fail, you may retake for free, so can only gain from the experience.
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