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R.I.P. Shihan Cyril Cummins 8th Dan


R.I.P. Shihan Cyril Cummins 8th Dan

Shihan Cyril Cummins 8th Dan 1938 - 2017

Shihan Cyril Cummins 8th Dan 1938 – 2017


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.


  1. Avatar George Mayes

    My Father, George E Mayes, myself, George R Mayes, also both of my brothers, Roger Mayes and Barry Mayes, had the upmost respect for this man.
    A very big loss for the world of Karate.
    Condolences to his family.

  2. Avatar John Nicholas

    I was, and remain deeply privileged to have studied with Shihan Cummins. His passing is a great loss to the martial arts world. My sincere condolences to his family and friends

  3. Avatar Steve

    Such a loss. Knowing that you will never train again with such a great Sensei and father figure and friend.

  4. Avatar Kevin O'Neill

    I travelled as a team member with Sensei Cummings in a British select team from the Kugb to compete in Germany. He was a wonderful man and good coach I will always have fond memories of him. God bless RIP

  5. Avatar Ged Moran

    A truly great karate-ka and a nice guy in ordinary everyday life. Well respected throughout the Shotokan family, he will be sadly missed. R.I.P

  6. Avatar Brendan Perry

    I trained many times with Sensei Cummins in the late 70s and 80s . He was a force to be reckoned with and a great instructor. He will be missed . May he rest in peace

  7. Avatar Carl boughton

    Sad news indeed.
    I trained under sensei Cummings many times during the early years of my karate journey. He was a real inspiration to me and I will remember him with fondness.
    RIP Sensei

  8. Avatar Thariq Maulana

    All my condolences for one of the greatest and most humble instructors. He will be dearly missed by the karate world.

  9. Avatar David Stamps

    Goodby Cyril. You go as a legend and a great inspiration to all those that knew you and trained with you. Illness forced me to stop training a few short years ago, but you made within me great respect for you and your input into my life.
    RIP, goodbye Cyril.

  10. Avatar Liam Hogan

    RIP Cyril, you will be sorely missed. Had many good chats at Greens. Rest in peace my friend

  11. Avatar Dave Rollason

    RIP Sensei, To many fond memories to list, suffice to say you were a great inspiration to me personally and many others, you will be sadly missed.

  12. Avatar Steve Thompson

    Just picked up on this sad news today after returning from a course in Spain. I would like to pass on my condolences to his nearest and dearest, and add that Cyril was a fine man and a friend to all. Hejdo Cyril och tack.

  13. Avatar Pete Simnett

    End of an era cyril was a true motivator in the dojo. He knew how to get the best from all of his students we will miss him greatly. Cryil did what he loved and he loved what he did, Not many people can achieve that in life. Our condolences to all the family and friends. We are proud to call him our friend he was OUR cyril. With many happy memories training at birmingham and the crystal palace courses with sensei enoeda. From all his friends at the burton and swadlincote clubs.

  14. Avatar Alan Payne

    RIP Shihan and thank you for 35yrs of friendship, knowledge, confidence, and for making me who I am today. God bless and RIP until we meet again. Alan

  15. Avatar stuart ( scooby) hughes

    such a sad loss ,a example to us all . our thoughts are with you all . from all at forge shotokan bromsgrove . we have all lost a great karate ka

  16. Avatar Pat oneil

    I met Cyril in the early 60’s when we both worked on the buses in Harborne. We joined Shotokan in Weoley Castle , Cyril progressed we went our separate ways but IHave always followed his amazing sucess in his chosen career. He did so much for so many people, will be sadly missed. Rest in peace Cyrill. Pat O’Neill

  17. Avatar Dave Fisher

    My belated condolences to Cyril’s family on hearing of the loss of such a great man, Cyril left an impression on all who knew and trained under him, leaving fond memories that stay with you for life.
    “Never give in & Never surrender” RIP Cyril, a very big loss for the world of Martial Arts.

  18. Avatar Philip Hardy

    Sensei Cyril was my first instructor in Karate from 1970. He was a task master back then and the training was hard. Thank you Sensei for starting me on the right path and Have many fond memories of training with you at the Weoley Castle club so many years ago. RIP Cyril

  19. Avatar Christopher Shanley

    Sensei Cummins changed the life of a
    Troubled youth and taught discipline
    and honour to an angry and insure teenager in the early nineties.
    A part of you lives with me forever, Sensei. When I am on the path it is because you put me there.
    May the sun be forever on your face and the wind be at your back..,

  20. Avatar Tim wood

    Wow so sorry to hear your sad loss, been many years in mid 70s I trianed with him, I was under sensai Philip Hardy 2nd Dan then.. wonder were he his now, the fight seeing Cyril and Philip was amazing as Philip was 4 feet 10 inches , visiting our tividake shotokan karate kan, quote me if I’m wrong did he have a club in Bartly Green the black cobra ? It’s were we met several times . So my condolences and Oss to a great sensai x

  21. Avatar Neil Sutton

    I first met Sensei Cyril as a school boy in the 1980s. I took up Karate again two decades later and he was still there, changing people’s lives for the better.
    Sensei Cyril was a gentleman and the karate practitioner that we should all strive to be. His influence changed my life for the better.
    I offer my deepest condolences to Sensei Cyril’s family.


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