First ever to perform Karate with London Symphony Orchestra
Trained extensively in Okinawan Goju Ryu (Nisseikai branch) including with headteacher Nobetsu Tadanori
Trained extensively in Nihon Jujutsu (authentic Japanese Jujutsu) including with headteacher Shizuya Sato
Trained extensively in Japanese Koryu including Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu
Over hundreds of years Karate was passed down by masters like Sakugawa, Matsumura, Azato, Motobu, Matsumora and Kyan as a devastating fighting art. It was only in around the 1920s that it was promoted as a sport for self development and wellbeing. Since then select masters have taught the old ways and our school has been lucky to receive some of the original teachings.
Manchester: Karate & Jujutsu
Circle Martial Arts
52 Newton Street, Manchester M1 1ED Monday evenings: 8:30pm
Sunday mornings: 10:00am Shihan: Simon Keegan (5th Dan Renshi Karate & Jujutsu)
Sempai: Philip Jennings (1st Dan)
What is Karate Jutsu?
Karate Jutsu is the essence of the martial arts… if the styles (Shotokan, Wado Ryu, Goju Ryu) are the branches, then Karate Jutsu is the trunk of the tree.
It may be likened to an egg. One chef can turn an egg into a cake, another boils it, another fries it. The original form is the egg. Jutsu is the egg.
On a historical level Karate Jutsu was practiced before WW2 (or one could say before 1900) and was primarily a killing art. The first purpose was to kill, then maim and thirdly to just disable the attacker.
Karate Jutsu was therefore taught over a very long period, very intimately and carefully.
Karate Jutsu often causes the attacker such a high level of pain that the brain shuts down, the body moves into the foetal position and the attacker is disabled with seemingly little effort.
If we look at a style of Karatedo, such as Shotokan we might see 30 students all punching in horse stance, who then practice 25 kata. Karate Jutsu is not like this. In Karate Jutsu there must be small groups of dedicated adult students, testing carefully the techniques on each other for maximum efficacy.
After WW2, Karate Jutsu became diluted and only a few masters practiced the old ways. Among them were Kanken Toyama, Choki Motobu and Kanbun Uechi. Karate Jutsu survived in small pockets in Okinawa and Kansai. Among the Karate Jutsu masters in Kansai was Hiroshi Fujimoto who taught the essence of Karate Jutsu to Terry Wingrove who today heads Karate Jutsu International and is a friend and mentor to our school.
Shihan Simon Keegan
Simon Keegan is a Karate and Jujutsu instructor who has taught all over the country and internationally for almost 20 years. He has an impeccable lineage in the classical martial arts and graded on the mat up to 5th Dan. He has also been fortunate to train with some of the last of a legendary generation of Japanese and Chinese grandmasters.
He is a best-selling author who has published hundreds of articles. He is known for his insight into kata bunkai, his studies into the history of Karate and Jujutsu and his practical self defence approach.
Simon was born in Liverpool in 1979 to a martial arts family and studied from an early age. His father David Keegan commenced Jujutsu more than 55 years ago and has trained for many years in both classical Japanese arts (including the Koryu school of Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu) and classical Chinese martial arts (including Yang family Tai Chi) and also lived and worked in the Far East.
Before that, Simon’s great uncle trained to blackbelt in two of the country’s first Jujutsu clubs in Liverpool – the Kawaishi Ryu (founded in 1928) and the Koizumi Ryu (founded in 1906).
At the age of 16 Simon was competing at national level in Karate while studying for 8 years in the Bushidokan, learning Karate, Jujutsu, Aikido and Judo. He was awarded his blackbelt age 20 and competed in Karate, kickboxing and Kobudo/Iaido and became his teacher’s senior student. He won gold nationally in Kumite and silver in Kata. As a teenager he also became the 6th consecutive generation of his family to serve in the military.
Simon then trained for 10 years with Bob Carruthers and later his teacher Shihan PAJ Handyside who became a mentor to him in the art of Shobukan Karate, derived from Japanese Shotokan and Malaysian Budokan and many years later Shihan graded Simon to 5th Dan. The Budokan style is a softer, Malaysian-Chinese influence on Karate.
Training in Okinawan forms, Simon also developed his understanding of old Shuri-Te Karate and was awarded 2nd Dan in Ryukyu Kempo Karate Jutsu, also studying Koryu Uchinadi. His extensive Chinese martial arts studies included Yang style Tai Chi, Sun style (which also comprises Pakua and Hsing-I) and Chinese sword. He trained in this school for 9 years, competed at European events and performed in front of the mayor of Shanghai. He has studied Chinese internal martial arts now for 18 years.
Simon was awarded 2nd Dan in Jujutsu and the Bugei Ju Hapan (18 martial arts including Bo Jutsu, Jo jutsu, Iai jutsu, Ken Jutsu, So jutsu and Kusari Gama etc) in 2002.
On one seminar with the legendary Mitsuhiro Kondo, one of the masters who introduced Karate and Aikido to Europe in the 1950s, Simon joined Japan’s oldest Budo fraternity, the Kokusai Budoin (IMAF) of which he became a regional officer with his grades recognised by the hereditary shogun Tokugawa Yasuhisa.
He also was recognised as a 2nd Dan in Nihon Jujutsu by Shizuya Sato (10th Dan Jujutsu, 9th Dan Judo), a student of Wado Ryu founder Ohtsuka, Kenji Tomiki and Judo masters Mifune and Ito; and with the Iaido division headed by Keiji Tose (Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu) who Simon’s father trained with.
Simon began studying Goju Ryu Karate and Kobudo and was graded up to 3rd Dan by Reiner Parsons and also trained with headteacher Tadanori Nobetsu. The style was Nisseikai which combined Okinawan Goju Ryu with Feeding Crane Quan Fa, bringing the art closer to its Naha-Te origins.
Simon began to pursue the old Karate Jutsu and Yawara methods, training with masters like Hanshi Terry Wingrove who has been his mentor for the last ten years, and also studying Koryu such as Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu. He also had chance to train with Aikido master Alan Ruddock, a student of the art’s founder.
He was awarded his 4th Dan in Karate and Jujutsu in 2007 and became a member of the International Jujutsu Federation (Seibukan) and Karate Jutsu International. He was also a founder member of the English Karate Federation. He also studied classical Filipino Arnis to further his understanding of stick, knife and two man drills and Muay Thai to improve his strikes.
He was awarded his Renshi title in 2010, endorsed by the national head of the Dai Nippon Butokukai, which awarded the same title to the likes of Gichin Funakoshi, and he was awarded his 5th Dan in Shobukan Karate by Shihan Handyside in 2012, recognised as a 5th Dan in Shotokan by IMAF.
As technical director for Karate and Jujutsu within his association he demonstrated his arts in Japanese cultural festivals and performed Kata with the London Symphony Orchestra, the first person to ever do so.
He has continued to train with Koryu Bujutsu masters and Karate masters from around the world, including a memorable seminar in Karate, Kobudo and Batto Jutsu with the legendary Fumio Demura. In 2017 he was awarded 5th Dan in Jujutsu by Shikon, headed by another teacher and mentor Steve Rowe, an 8th Dan with black belt grades in Karate, Jujutsu, Jodo and Iaido.
Today after decades of training Simon teaches an effective system of classical Karate Jutsu and Jujutsu called ‘Hakuda Kempo Toshu Jutsu’ at a purpose built Dojo called Circle Martial Arts in Manchester City Centre.