Cambridge ESKA

Traditional Shotokan Karate around Cambridge

Many people may not be aware that the training continues, following the award of Shodan or 1st Dan Black Belt. This is really only a relatively short way into the Karate journey. At Shodan stage, I believe that one has what may be referred to as the ‘alphabet’ from which the words are formed and sights are set on preparing for Nidan or 2nd Dan. The Nidan Grading can not be considered until a further two years training has been successfully completed. The Sandan or 3rd Dan Grading potentially follows after a further three years successful training……..and so it continues. Each ‘Dan’ or level, has its own unique ‘Demands’ or requirements, for example, the Grading to Sandan is predominantly a teaching examination, in which the physical elements can last up to four hours. It includes all aspects of the art, Kihon, (Basics), Kata, (Form) and Kumite, (Sparring) in addition to the written test papers. The Grades that follow can not be attempted until the correct number of years training, related to the grade have been successfully completed, for example, a further four years to Yondan, (4th Dan).

It is hoped that you will appreciated the dedication and quality of both our Junior and Senior Instructors.

Sunday 10th November was the official 40th Anniversary Championship event of our Association. We will post the result tables, but in the meantime, we were placed 3rd out of 20 association clubs and we had some fantastic results, including Gold and Silver medals for our junior beginners, many of whom had never take-part in anything like this event! WELL DONE!

This is a small selection of photographs – more to follow!!

Stuart, Katie, Aleena and Jose 40th Anniversary Champions

Some of the 40th Anniversary Championship Team

40th Anniversary Championship Trophies and Medals

Antonio – Gold in the Junior Kumite Association Championships!








I was extremely lucky to have been able to visit Japan earlier this year and to train with the Japan Karate Association in Tokyo. Fortunatley, my ability to count to 10 in Japanese came in very useful, because I was instructed to count one of the Gyaku Zuki exercises!

The training and language was very familiar and I was fortunate to have been taught by one of the JKA Senior Masters.

I was unable to take any photographs of the training session, but here are some photographs of the JKA building, The Dojo and some other general photographs of Japan.

If you have the opportunity to visit this wonderful country and experience its peoples’ courtesy, please do so, it is a fantastic experience.

Photograph of Master Gichin Funakoshi – JKA Headquaters Japan

A somewhat cloudy Mount Fuji.

Training Dojo at The JKA Japan

The Sumurai Museum Tokyo. Many of the exhibits, the ones in this photographs, are over 500 years old.

The Shinto Shrine – Mount Fuji.

The Japan Karate Association Tokyo Japan.

Entrance to the Dojo’s JKA Headquaters Japan.

Dojo JKA

A beautiful Japanese Garden just south of Tokyo Japan.

Pre-Championship training at The Leys – the Kumite end!

Pre-Champioship training at The Leys – Kata at one end and Kumite at the other!

We are very fortunate to have excellent, very highly qualified and experienced Senior Instructors in our association. Amoung them are Masaya Yumeda and Russell McAlinden Sensei, both Graded to rank Sandan (3rd Dan). In-order to hold the instructor qualification, all must undertake a stringent course, which includes First Aid training and Child Protection. This course follows many years of training in which valuable Karate experience is gained. As instructors, we all attend CPD, (Continuous Professional Development) training, which includes annual First Aid training.

Here are just a few photographs of a typical Saturday’s training at The Leys School Sports Centre in Cambridge.

Juniors begin Kumite training – correctly protected.

Keeping an ever watchful eye on the stances!

Masaya Sensei – Sandan Senior Instructor begins the basics warm-up.


September saw the club continue along the road of success with some excellent grading results, thanks to a lot of hard work and training from those grading and fantastic support, as always, from the club instructors, without whom, none of this would happen. Thank you and well done.  We additionally celebrated the success of those Junior and Senior grades and instructors who, ‘after great effort in the course of hard discipline’ were awarded Shodan and Senior Dan Grades.

Sensei Masaya – a very worthy Sandan and multi medal winner and a fantastic instructor!

The Grading Team!

Sensei Russ – a very worthy Sandan and a wonderful Instructor!

Jude – a worthy Junior Shodan!



Matthew, who previously trained in Spain and is now making great progress in Cambridge.


Leo – well deserved Spirit Trophy Winner!


Katie – The Progress Shield after receiving a 100% score in her grading!

Johnny – well on the way to his Junior Dan Grade!



Aleena and Jose


We are both delighted and proud to announce that two members of Teams Cambridge have gained their Duke of Edingburgh GOLD awards! These are simply fantastic achievements. Kathryn Bullough Sensei and Jo Whitehead Sensei initially received their prestegious awards in Cambridge and subsequently at Buckingham Palace, from his Royal Highness, The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.

Here are the photographs which we have been granted permission to publish and further photographs of Jo Whitehead Sensei will follow.


Kathryn receiving her Gold Duke of Edingburgh Award Certificate

Kathryn Bullough Sensei at St James’ Palace – as we know her!

Kathryn and Jo Sensei’s Duke of Edingburgh Gold Award Group Photograph. Jo Sensei is 2nd from the right seated front row and Kathryn Sensei is 2nd from left, middle row.

Lewis Hamilton on Karate – on Facebook!

Many of you will know and many may not know that Lewis Hamilton, Formula One Motor Racing Champion trained in Shotokan Karate with our association. He was mainly under the wing of Paul Raymond Sensei (6th Dan) but many of us remember training with him. Our Founder and Chief Instructor Mike Nursey Hanshei is featured in Lewis’s first autobiography, in which hed pays tribute to his Karate training. I was privilaged to have his Father, Anthony, attend my Sandan Grading presentation. That looks like a pretty good Yoko Geri Kekomi to me and the Choko Zuki ie pretty cool as well! Enjoy!



The recent Kyu Gradings were held at the Stevenage Hombu in April and once again, Team Cambridge gained a 100% success rate! This pays testimony to the hard work which each of the club members put in brilliantly supported by the instructors. Well Done all!

Successful Grading Team Cambridge!





Joseph – joined the club quite recently and is now the proud winner of the Progress Sheild. Well Done Joseph!





Happy Graders and Happy Parnets

Aman a very worthy Trophy Winner!

Attendance Trophy Awarded

Team Cambridge ESKA introduced our Attendance Trophy in late 2017 to officially recognise the Spirit, Effort and Commitment of the individual Karate-ka who attended the greatest number of training sessions over the preceding 12 month period. Whilst many Karate-ka train with other clubs within the association, this award recognises the commitment to the Cambridge Dojo’s. In its first year, 2017, the Trophy was won by Catherine Groves. We are delighted to announce, that through her outstanding commitment, Catherine Grioves has once again been awarded the Attendance Trophy for 2018! Well Done!