It is with great sadness that we have to inform you that Shihan Cyril Cummins 8th Dan, Chief Instructor and founder of Birmingham and Halesowen Shotokan Karate Club has passed away after a short battle with cancer.
Shihan Cummins was a pioneer of karate in the West Midlands originally starting training in 1964 initially gaining his shodan in 1966 with the Budo of Great Britain. After training with sensei Hirokazu Kanazawa he later retook his shodan with the KUGB / JKA in 1968. He continued to grade with the top Japanese sensei within the JKA receiving his 6th Dan from Sensei Keinosuke Enoeda. Shihan Cummins remained with the KUGB / JKA for many years as a senior instructor, grading examiner and national referee. During this time he was a constant fixture at Sensei Enoeda’s Crystal Palace training courses, training on every one of Sensei Enoeda’s courses from 1967 until Sensei Enoeda’s death. He was also a regular instructor in Sweden for the Spring Course for almost two decades. He appeared on the covers of Combat, Traditional Karate and Shotokan Magazine being inducted into the “Combat” and “Martial Arts Illustrated” Halls of Fame as well as appearing many times in the press and media.
Shihan Cummins was known as the Trainer of Champions, training many champions over his over 50 years of training including National, European and World Champions including renowned competitors such as Sensei Ronnie Canning and Sensei Ronnie Christopher. Many of his students have also gone on to become instructors in their own right continuing his legacy in karate.
After leaving the KUGB, Shihan Cummins continued to teach his brand of fierce, no nonsense traditional Shotokan karate for which he was famed at BHSKC introducing and inspiring new generations of students in Shotokan karate as well as the bo, sai, tonfa and other weapons.
He celebrated his 50th year of karate training in 2014 having previously being awarded his 8th Dan in 2013 by NAKMAS. As a sign of respect and acknowledgement of his great contribution to karate upon receiving his new rank, his senior students decided to use the honorific title of “Shihan” when addressing Sensei Cummins in class at BHSKC. Shihan Cummins agreed to this but was never a stickler for ceremony and was happy for his students to address him as both “Shihan” and “Sensei”.
After receiving his terminal diagnosis Shihan Cummins continued to teach and pass on his vast wealth of experience and knowledge taking his last class at the long standing BHSKC Halesowen dojo where he taught Gankaku with bunkai a few weeks before his death, taking questions from students and demonstrating as he always had. Throughout this period he continued to inspire and embody his motto of “Never give up. Never give in.”
The BHSKC Team would like to extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends and present and former students he will be sorely missed.