A brief look at the history of Washinkai Karate, The Honbu and how it all inter-connects with Wincanton Karate Club
Washinkai Karate Founded
It was in late 1977 that Chris Thompson came to the conclusion that due to be being disillusioned and dissatisfied with the Wado-Ryu organisation in the UK that it would be best if he severed all connections with them
This meant that Chris Thompson was one of the first breakaways and one of the first Englishmen to formulate his own style, training and grading syllabus.
With many of his senior students feeling the same way they officially left the Wado Ryu group in 1978.
With five clubs spread over London a name to identify with was needed. Collectively they called themselves 'Wa-shin-kai' Wa - for harmony as Chris Thomspon's roots were with Wado-Ryu; Shin - for heart, mind and spirit as one, also truth; Kai - for group.
I now went searching for a new home, which involved training with various senior instructors of different schools of karate. This period was invaluable as it broadened my horizons, giving me an insight into the different approach that other instructors had in teaching karate. I made many good friends. For over a year I continued with this programme whilst running several clubs. I admired many aspects of all the karate schools I trained with, but I felt that none could offer exactly what I was looking for. Unbeknown to me at the time I was following the step of Shu-ha-ri.Shihan Chris Thompson (8th Dan) Essentials of Wado Ryu
Chris Thompson felt that a specific growth programme for Washinkai had to be created. This was important if the group was going to survive as an independent group and there were to be no contradictions in teaching methods or technique.
Two Japanese instructors, Hironori Goda, a Goju stylist and Takao Yamamoto, a Shito-ryu stylist, stayed and trained with Washinkai for long periods. Over the next few years a grading syllabus was established that took the student from beginner to shodan level (black belt).
Both of these Japanese men continued with the Washinkai teaching programme on their return to Japan.
Wincanton Karate Club formed with classes held at the Memorial Hall.
January 1992 and the current Chief Instructor for The Honbu, Paul Hacker, starts Karate. The club at this time had moved to a dance studio within the current Hopkins Developments office building on the Tythings.
Paul takes over as the instructor of the club, the club is now based at the Methodist Church Hall. Its a trying time for the club, numbers are low and only one session a week for training.
The club moves to King Arthur's School, training is still only once a week but numbers are growing.
Long time serving student, Jason Brown, becomes Paul's first Dan Grade. 20 years later Jason is still a member of the club.
After lots of negotiations, the club moves to the newly opened Wincanton Sports Centre. Classes are moved to Tuesdays and Thursdays, Saturday mornings were also subsequently introduced.
Paul decides, with the support of Shihan Thompson, to start teaching Karate full-time
By 2008 the club has grown significantly, there are now two sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Its time to turn the page and start the next chapter.
With the support of his senior students, Paul and the club embark on a project to create their own dojo, The Honbu. Work starts in April 2008, soft opening June 2008 and the official opening is September 2008. The club which is the headquarters of Washinkai Karate in the West of England now has many satellite clubs with a membership of over 200 students.
We are very proud of our students and what we have achieved in creating our own dojo. A lot of hard work has been put in by the Instructors and Students, to not only create The Honbu but ensure that the standard of Karate is high and to ensure its continuing success.
Our vision is to provide safe places across the West of England where students can learn a dynamic and realistic form of martial art, with qualified black belt Instructors.
We totally believe in growth from within, our Instructors have all received their black belts from Shihan Chris Thompson (9th Dan) and then been selected to become Instructors. This is a process that can take some years, our vision started over 9 years ago with the creation of The Honbu.
With The Honbu, our clubs in local halls and schools we are now very well established as leading provider of martial arts tuition in the West of England, our vision is to expand on that and continue providing places to train for many years to come.
The sad fact is there are people out there who shouldn't be allowed to teach martial arts. Our mission is to show them up by showing you what good Karate looks like and allowing you to come to your own conclusions.
We feel it is really important that anyone coming in to the martial arts understands why they perform a technique in a certain way and understand the history behind it, but also at the same time realise that Karate has moved on and whilst tradition is important, see the value in ensuring techniques work for this day and age.
There is no substitute for regular training and we will continue to ensure that every student has the opportunity to train regularly and it is also our mission to ensure that students have access to courses, competitions and gradings on a regular basis as well as training at an elite level if so desired with a view to trying out for the England squad.