Special Congratulations to Yvonne on passing Shodan

Congratulations to everyone who graded and we would like to offer special congratulations to Yvonne Skalban who passed her shodan (1st dan) black belt grading under Shihan Cummins. Yvonne has shown a great commitment to her training over the years and also contributes to the maintenance and updates of the club site and Facebook page.

Yvonne Skalban Embroidered Black Belt


March 2016 Gradings: Well done to everyone who graded!

On Saturday 12th March 2016 Shihan Cummins held kyu and dan gradings at the BHSKC Bartley Green dojo. We would like to congratulate everyone who graded, Shihan Cummins was pleased with the high standards of those who graded. Well done everybody. Special congratulations to Bethany Bird who achieved the rank of Shodan (1st Dan) black belt. Beth has trained dilligently for the last few years to attain her shodan and has shown great talent along the way winning a number of competitions. Well done!

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New training times for Saturday’s Kata Class at Bartley…

After receiving feedback from students who felt the existing 1.00pm start for Shihan Cummins’ dedicated kata class on Saturdays made it difficult to have time for family activities on a Saturday afternoon, the time for this class is changing.  Based on feedback from students within the club about a potential time change Shihan Cummins has moved the Saturday kata class at Bartley Green to the earlier time of 11.00am – 12.30pm from Saturday 7th November 2015.

Hopefully with the new time change more of you will be able to attend and benefit from this class with Shihan Cummins dedicated to kata and bunkai.




Congratulations on your Grading

The September 2015 gradings took place on Saturday 19th September at the Bartley Green Dojo. The day started with a training course taken by Shihan Cummins with the assistance of Sensei Birks which was followed by kyu and then dan gradings. Shihan Cummins was pleased with the standard shown and we at BHSKC would like to congratulate everyone who graded. Two students also took and passed their second dan during a rigorous examination. We would like to extend special congratulations to them both, Well done Lyndsay Daly and Lewis Millingson!

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Congratulations: Kyu & Dan Gradings June 2015

Well done to everybody who graded yesterday, Shihan Cummins was very pleased with the high standards shown. Special congratulations to Daniel Eccles who passed his nidan (2nd dan) black belt examination and to Ishmael plus Regan and Harrison Toy who all passed their shodan (1st dan) black belt examinations. You all did very well today.

Below are a few pictures from the gradings.

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A review of the Kata and Bunkai Course with…

Saturday 8th February 2014

Bartley Green Community Leisure Centre

On Saturday 8th february 2014 Shihan Cyril Cummins 8th dan and Sensei Slater Williams 7th dan (Redditch Shotokan Karate) held a special kata and bunkai course. The course was well attended with a number of students from different clubs attending. After the introductions and warm up the class was split into two parts with Shihan Cummins initially taking the dan grades and Sensei Williams the kyu grades.

The black belts started with Shihan Cummins who taught the kata Unsu. He explained the name meant Cloud Defense and the myth behind the name. As he taught the kata to the count he stopped at points to explain the bunkai for particular movements and demonstrated the application of the techniques. We did the kata several times like this before Shihan Cummins gathered us all around so that students could ask questions about the kata and bunkai. We then split into pairs to perform he bunkai for the first few moves with Shihan Cummins moving around the groups to answer questions and offer advice on how to apply the techniques. This was very helpful as only a slight adjustment in how to perform a lock can be the difference between it being effective and ineffective. Finally we performed the kata again to a faster count as the class was now more familiar with the kata a couple of more times before it was time for the sensei to swap groups. During his session Shihan Cummins emphasised the importance of understanding the application and intent of the techniques in order to understand how to perform them correctly and thus achieve correct form. Shihan Cummins also pointed out that at advanced levels a lot of the blocks in kata should be interpreted as strikes. This interpretation in the bunkai can give a kata a vastly different feel.

Sensei Williams then took over the black belts after a brief break for water, first establishing how many people in the class knew the kata Kanku Sho and to what degree of familiarity. As everyone on the class had done it before to some degree he then proceeded to start to teach the kata. Sensei Williams emphasis was on the form of the kata and technique. He asked the class to slow everything down and really concentrate on fluid movements, especially in the first few moves where there is a tendency for people to jump rather than slide. He also stressed the importance of maintaining correct formal stances and using the hips and lower body correctly. This was illustrated in the first two oi-tsuki followed by uchi-ude-uki techniques where he emphasized the importance of the punch being an “ippon” technique and the correct use of hips for the block. Sensei Williams summed this approach up with the phrase “Technique First”. We then went through the kata to the count several times with Sensei Williams illustrating certain aspects at various points throughout the kata including the importance of relaxing in order to be able to use your whole body correctly when performing the techniques. The class then split into pairs to perform bunkai using various moves from the kata after a demonstration of these by Sensei Williams. Sensei Williams moved around the groups during this period explaining how to do the bunkai he had demonstrated. Whilst we were trying to do this we especially found the lock following the throw extremely hard to apply as we often ended up in the wrong position to apply that particular lock and so ended up applying another. Finally Sensei Williams called each rank of dan grade out to perform Kanku Sho after which he offered advice on how to improve.

Whilst I regularly train with Shihan Cummins this was the first time I had trained with Sensei Williams and so it was very interesting seeing another instructors perspective on the kata. Every sensei brings their own insights and observations into their teaching style along with slight variations of techniques depending on what they were taught and their interpretation of the technique so training with a different sensei like this can provide another perspective for your training. In this case I noticed the difference in emphasis to achieve the same goals between the two sensei. Shihan Cummins emphasis is on understanding the application of the technique to achieve the correct form and understand the kata and how to perform it. Sensei Williams emphasis was on the form of the technique to perform a correct kata. From the course and the different emphasis in teaching I get the impression that Shihan Cummins intrinsically links the bunkai with the kata whilst allowing for individual interpretations whilst Sensei Williams sees these as two more distinct aspects of the kata again allowing for individual interpretations of bunkai.

This was a very enjoyable course which gave me areas to think about in order to improve my kata further and I like many of the other attendees look forward to further courses in the future. I’d like to thank Shihan Cummins and Sensei Williams for arranging this course.

Richard Amuzu, 3rd Dan, BHSKC



Celebrating 50 Years of Karate

2014 is a very special year, as Shihan Cummins celebrates 50 years, half a century, of training. Shihan Cummins started karate in 1964, when it was virtually unheard of and unknown. Now, after all these years he has trained thousands of people around the world, many of whom have gone on to become black belts, many of whom have become regional, national, international and even world champions.

Fifty years on, Shihan Cummins has been awarded the rank of 8th Dan in recognition of his lifetime contribution to fostering and developing the art of Shotokan karate-do. Truly one of the pioneers of karate, he is one of a very select band of individuals who helped shape the standard of karate in the United Kingdom to be one of the very best in the world.

We wish Shihan Cummins our sincere congratulations and we look forward to training with him, as he gives the same passion and effort and energy to every class as he has done over all these years.


An interview with Sensei Cyril Cummins 3

Interviewed by Matt Russell 3rd Dan

Matt_RussellI find karate is the main focus of my day, to what extent and how does it affect yours?
I find it impacts a great deal, I have to think of my students and
set a program out for that evening to teach them, it is very im-
portant to me. In terms of my personal training, I supplement
my karate with weight training and good nutrition, but regular
training is so necessary. It certainly impacts on my life a great

Who was your favourite sensei to train under and why?
There was no favourite, they were all important. But the most prominent one was of course master Enoeda. Kenosuke Enoeda Sensei, he was very famous, a very strong man. There was also
Kanazawa Sensei who was brilliant. Another was Nakayama Sensei, who was the Head of JKA. As well as Osaka and Sensei Ohta, there were also British Senseis such as Andy Sherry and the hierarchy of the KUGB.

What was your most memorable fight?
For my fifth Dan grading perhaps, it was the nastiest, but mostly because it was so dangerous, so nasty, so painful. There was also my Shodan grading where I received a broken nose and some broken teeth. But all the fights were hard. Most of my opponents controlled their techniques but they were still hard and frightening, but we overcome that through training.

What is your favourite aspect of Shotokan Karate Do?
Kata. Kata and Bunkai. It’s the very essence of Karate-Do. Interwoven into kata are all the different techniques of karate. It is very important to understand your kata for self-defence. Freestyle fighting is also important to keep you sharp and strong, but kata is the soul of karate.

If you could repeat any of the past fifty years, and do anything differently what would you do?
Probably nothing, because the way I’ve come forward has led me to the knowledge I have today. It’s taken almost 50 years, but it’s been a voyage of discovery, some of it was hard, some of it was good, some of it bad but you’ve got to overcome these things, Never give in, Never give up.


Sensei Cyril Cummins awarded the rank of 8th Dan

Birmingham & Halesowen Shotokan Karate Clubs are pleased to announce that Sensei Cyril Cummins has been awarded the rank of 8th Dan (hachidan) by NAKMAS.

Sensei Cummins has been studying Shotokan karate for nearly fifty years and in that time has built up a vast wealth of experience and knowledge which he has used to train thousands of students during this time producing a number of champions and students who have gone on to be instructors in their own right. Today at the age of 75 years old he still teaches at BHSKC and is imparting his knowledge to the next generation of karateka. Sensei Cummins has shown amazing dedication to Shotokan Karate over the years and exemplifies what it means to be a true master of Shotokan Karate.

On behalf of everyone at BHSKC we would like to congratulate Sensei Cummins on achieving 8th Dan.

Sensei Cyril Cummins 8th Dan
Sensei Cyril Cummins 8th Dan


An interview with Sensei Cyril Cummins 2

Interviewed by Steve O’Reilly 2nd Dan

at the Halesowen Dojo on Tuesday 5th March 2013


Steve_OReillyOver the years, you have trained thousands of fellow karate ka, visiting many different countries. What do you consider to be your most memorable experience over this time?

“Taking my 5th Dan examination at Crystal Palace under the Japanese Sensei. It was a very very hard grading and I prepared for it all the week by training every day with the Japanese Sensei. So at the end of the week I took the grading and I passed it.”


How do you think karate has changed over the years that you have been training and teaching?

“Traditional Karate goes on and on forever and there are many other types of martial arts coming out now like mixed martial arts etc. but traditional karate goes on and on.”


What is your favourite Kata to perform and why?

” I don’t have any favourite Kata. All Kata are important and so I practise them all.”
As one of your students, I have always been amazed by your vast knowledge of the history and origins of karate. How did you gain all of this knowledge?

“Research and training. Thinking about it and working out the bunkai etc. A lot of research!!