Shihan Cyril Cummins: Martial Arts Illustrated Hall of Fame…

On Saturday 11th March 2017 Shihan Cyril Cummins 8th dan, BHSKC Chief Instructor and founder was inducted into the Martial Arts Illustrated Hall of Fame. MAI’s Paul Barnett surprised Shihan Cummins during a special kata and kumite class with the award in the presence of some of his current and former students including Sensei Slater Williams 7th dan who created the video below. On behalf of Shihan Cummins we would like to thank everyone who attended and was involved with this special event.

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A video from the day:


An amazing video from Saturday’s Special Course

We would like to thank Eric Mather, for taking the time to make and send us this truly incredible video of  from the very special kata and kumite course on Saturday. Students from the past and present all training together under Shihan Cummins’ guidance for this special day. Kyu grades to 7th dans all taught by one man over the decades beginners and world champions alike, Shihan Cyril Cummins 8th dan, a truly great karate legacy, So without further ado here it is:


Special Kata and Kumite Course: Faces from the past…

A special karate course featuring kihon, kata and kumite was held at the BHSKC Bartley Green Dojo on Saturday 25th February 2017 with past and present students of Shihan Cummins gathering together to train with him including Sensei Ronnie Canning, former World Champion, Sensei Slater Williams, 7th Dan and many of his students, Sensei Franklyn Doras, 7th Dan plus many other senior students.

Everyone trained hard in what was an amazing session featuring over three decades of Shihan Cummins students training along side each other spanning the decades for a special day, representing just some of the many karate-ka that Shihan Cummins has taught over the years. On behalf of Shihan Cummins we would like to thank all those who came and made the day so special.

Below are some of the photos taken on the day.

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Below is a video from that session:

and a few more photos

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Shihan Cyril Cummins & Sensei Ronnie Christopher Course, just…

The course featuring Shihan Cyril Cummins 8th dan, “The Trainer of Champions” and Sensei Ronnie Christopher 6th dan, former British, European and World Champion is just over a week away. This is a course not to be missed featuring two karate legends based here in Birmingham. Mark this on your calendar now and don’t miss out on this training opportunity!


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.




A great day for Team BHSKC at the Staffordshire…

Well done to the team who competed at the Staffordshire International Karate Championship 2015. The team won an impressive haul of gold silver and bronze medals between them.

Staffordshire International Karate Championship 2015

Event Competitor Result
Individual Kata 16yrs+, 3rd Kyu and over Matt Russell 1st Place, Gold
Pairs Kata 16yrs+, 3rd Kyu and over Matt Russell & Daniel Eccles 2nd Place, Silver
Individual Kata 16yrs+, 3rd Kyu and over Ian Edwards 3rd Place, Bronze
Boys Kata 13 – 15yrs, 3rd Kyu and over Daniel Eccles 2nd Place, Silver
Individual Kata 16yrs+, 6th Kyu and over Joshua Betts 1st Place, Gold
Individual Kata 16yrs+, 3rd Kyu and over Melissa Daly 2nd Place, Silver
Pairs Kata 16yrs+, 3rd Kyu and over Lyndsay Daly & Christie Price Joint 3rd Place, Bronze
Girls Kata 10 – 12yrs, 3rd Kyu and over Bethany Bird 3rd Place, Bronze
Boys Kata 10 – 12yrs, 3rd Kyu and over Zackery Povall 2nd Place, Silver
Veterans Kata Susan Hession 3rd Place, Bronze



Competitions in Karate, Sport vs Martial Art

One topic which splits many karate-ka and has always been a bone of contention is competitions within karate, indeed master Gichin Funakoshi the founder of modern karate often said “There are no contests in karate”, the Shotokai style does not have competitions for this very reason. With this in mind have we all lost our way, should we throw away our medals and trophies and return to the true art? I would personally say no.

I think this is where it is important to distinguish between karate the sport and karate the martial art. Master Funakoshi was indeed correct that in karate the martial art there can be no contests. Why? The aim of karate as a martial art could be summarised as learning means to effectively and quickly incapacitate or eliminate your attacker. To do this a number of techniques are employed that may break bones, maim or kill the attacker. Clearly this is incompatible with a sport as if these techniques were applied as intended there would be very few competitors after the first competition. These are the techniques taught in the kata and used in bunkai. Karate the sport however has a completely different emphasis, it is about scoring points. In sport karate a limited number of techniques are allowed with those deemed to dangerous explicitly forbidden indeed use of excessive force will get you disqualified in most karate competitions. In kata competitions the emphasis isn’t on the application of the techniques but on the form in fact the bunkai is entirely dismissed. As anyone who has watched a kata competition can tell you this has led to sometimes exaggerated and ineffective techniques and breathing for increased showmanship and can lead to the opinion that kata is just a dance. Let’s not even mention the horrible trend that gained traction in the late 80’s and early 90’s to do kata to music as some form of glorified aerobics. Even with sport karate there is disagreement as to how bouts should be scored with more traditional shotokan students often favouring shobu-ippon as it sticks to the killing blow philosophy whilst others prefer three or five point bouts as they allow for greater risk taking by competitors as so more varied bouts.

So having just split karate into a traditional martial art and a sport why should we as traditional shotokan karate-ka take part in competitions after all I have just effectively said that when we compete in a competition we are not doing karate as a martial art. Competition does teach you valuable skills, the ability to use your techniques under pressure, the opportunity to spar with different opponents and the ability to block out all distractions and perform your kata. Last but not least it can also be fun and a good team building experience. As long as we remember that there is far more to karate than competitions and the differences between the sport and the martial art we can enjoy both for what they are.

Richard Amuzu 3rd Dan.


Blackpool Training Weekend – A review

by Melissa Daly, 3rd Kyu

Blackpool Weekend Training CourseFrom the 3rd to the 5th of May 2013, a number of karate students from BHSKC went to Blackpool for a special weekend training course organised by Sensei Cyril Cummins, now 8th Dan. For the duration of the weekend, we stayed in a lovely, homely hotel owned by Sensei Cummins’ son. We were all made to feel welcome by the staff and received delicious, home cooked meals. The rooms were comfortable and clean and we all thoroughly enjoyed the time we stayed there.

The dojo, which is part of a newly built leisure centre, was exceptional. The hall was very spacious and the walls were mirrored so that we could observe ourselves and not miss anything and the floor was completely covered in mats.

During the weekend, we focussed on kata, kumite, bunkai and physical strength. The advanced katas Sensei Cummins taught us were Kanku Dai and Meikyo. Kanku Dai, for me is an enjoyable kata to learn. Despite it being an advanced kata, it is quite basic because it contains essential elements of all the other katas. Although I found this kata quite long and challenging, I managed to complete it eventually.

Sensei Cummins also taught us the bunkai to Kanku Dai, with him demonstrating on Sensei Austin Birks, 4th Dan and Matt Russell 3rd Dan. It was interesting to be shown how to use certain moves from the kata with attacking and defending.

The kata I personally enjoyed the most was Meikyo. To me, the kata was quite simple to pick up because most of the sequences are mirrored. I especially liked how the kata started off in a slow movement and then quick and repeated. I also enjoyed the spinning jump towards the end of the kata.

Sensei also took us through Bassai Dai, which was extremely helpful for me, as this is my grading kata. We went through the kata step by step and then completed it in our own time.


Blackpool Weekend Karate Course

Friday 3rd May till Sunday 5th May 2013

On the 4th and 5th of May 2013, Sensei Cyril Cummins held an advanced training course in the Palatine Leisure Centre in Blackpool. Both of the 3-hour training sessions were extremely intense and physically challenging. The course covered kihon, kata and bunkai, as well as kumite in great detail.

The basic techniques were geared towards the individual grades, so that each person was given a challenge and pushed to the limit. Kata and bunkai were studied in depth; Sensei Cummins’ extraordinary knowledge and ability to find numerous interpretations for every single kata made this an invaluable experience for any karateka.

The kumite sessions allowed everybody to try new techniques and to enhance their overall ability. Not only did this course focus on practical issues, but Sensei Cummins also provided background knowledge on a large number of theoretical and historical aspects of Shotokan karate. Sensei Cummins will soon be celebrating 50 years of training.

Few people have done what he has done and during this training weekend, he generously gave participants a unique insight into his training journey. The ethos of the course was to push oneself to the limit, which is what we did. This course was a priceless experience for everybody who took part. Make sure you don’t miss the next one!

A selection of photos from the course can be found on our Flickr album here.


Choose a Kata Friday – Jitte

Friday 29th March 2013

Nuffield Health Fitness and Wellbeing Centre


The second of the Choose a Kata Friday nights took place on Friday 29th March with Matt Russell selection Jitte as his chosen kata. This is a preview of the night with a few photos of Matt performing the kata with Matt’s review of the night to follow.

More pictures from this session can be found in our Flickr Album here.

Jitte Bunkai 1 Jitte Bunkai 2