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 Cummins demonstrating kumite techniques during the September 2016…

Shihan Cummins 8th dan demonstrates some ippon kumite drills assisted by Sensei Austin Birks 5th dan.

Shihan Cummins demonstrating a take-down from an attack


Shihan Cummins demonstrating the use of tai sabaki (body evasion movements) against an attack


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 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.