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Posts By / Richard Amuzu

  • Sep 20 / 2013
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Articles, Courses

Special Weapons Course

Friday 20th September 2013

Nuffield Health Fitness and Wellbeing Centre

The special weapons course, was a great success covering an array of traditional karate weapons including the bo, tonfa, sai and nunchaku. What follows is a brief summary of the course and the weapons covered.

I have now been to a few of Sensei Cummin’s weapons courses and so at last I am beginning to feel comfortable with the bo but am not that familiar with the other weapons covered. I started the class at the point where Shushi No Kon, the first Bo kata was being taught. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I remembered a fair part of the kata since the last course (although I had only practised a few times in between) and so felt a bit more confident in performing the kata rather than the more hesitant  feeling from previous courses. Shihan Cummins went through the kata a few times starting slowly and going through every move at a slow speed so that those attending who had not used the bo before or had only used it one or two times could follow and slowly increased the count speed until by the end of the class everyone was performing the kata at a good pace. This all took place at various points during the class with the other weapons interspersed in between. Shihan Cummins also explained how the moves of the kata could be applied and then held a question and answer session so that the students could clarify the parts they were unsure of which was very informative as Shihan Cummins explained the details of the application relating to the questions and the history where applicable.

Sensei Austin Birks took the class through the use of the nunchaku, this was only the second time I have used them and thanks to Sensei Sue Hession generously donating her time to purchase weapons on behalf of myself and others on the class now had my very own pair to use. Whilst the first time I had used them they seemed to flow naturally for me, this time this was not the case initially and it took some time to be able to get a rhythm going when swapping hands. This is definitely a weapon for which practice is a must to be able to use them in any capacity and you will almost certainly hit yourself a few times whilst doing so. Sensei Birks then demonstrated how these could be used in defence against attacks from weapons or the empty hand before giving a demonstration of the nunchaku in which he would have given Bruce Lee a run for his money in that famous scene from Enter the Dragon.

Shihan Cummins returned to the helm for the Sai, explaining the origins of the weapon, and demonstrating their use in kata and kumite which in many ways is similar to that of the Tonfa and how they were traditionally used to defend against attacks by katana (Japanese swords). We all then tried to use these which again was a second time for me. I still haven’t got to grips with the sai finding it very hard to spin them with any consistency. Shihan Cummins emphasised the importance of having the blade running along the arm when performing blocks in a similar manner to when using a tonfa. He then held a question and answer session about the sai in which the students again asked questions and Shihan Cummins explained the usage and techniques.

The weapons course finished with a last performance of Shushi No Kon to the count followed by Sensei Sue Hession demonstrating the kata at full speed.

As always this was a very informative course with the attendees all asking for more courses in the future. I would recommend that anyone who hasn’t tried weapon training to attend any future course as it really does add a new dimension to your training and helps when interpreting some of the advanced kata such as Bassai Sho and Jitte.

Richard Amuzu 3rd Dan, BHSKC

Special Weapons Course class attendees

  • Aug 03 / 2013
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Notice to Students Use of Shihan and Sensei

As most of you know Sensei Cummins bestowed the title of Sensei to the club Sempai Austin Birks 4th dan so that upon receiving instructions from Sensei Birks during a class as the senior student the correct response would now be “Osu Sensei” instead of “Osu Sempai”. This has led to some confusion during classes where students where receiving instructions from both Sensei Cummins and Sensei Birks. Therefore as Sensei Cummins has recently been awarded the rank of 8th dan it has been decided amongst the senior students that the honorific title “Shihan” should be used when responding to instructions from Sensei Cummins to avoid confusion therefore when receiving or responding to Sensei Cummins please use “Osu Shihan”.

Shihan is an honorific title used in many martial arts as is usually bestowed upon senior dan grade black belts although unlike titles such as Renshi (4th or 5th dan), Kyoshi (6th or 7th dan) or Hanshi (8th dan and above) is not related to grade but is used as a sign of respect. It is usually informally translated in English as “Master” but  literally translates as simply “To be a model” / “Instructor”.

  • Jul 27 / 2013
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Shotokan Karate Demonstration

Saturday 27th July 2013

Between 11.00am and 12.00pm

Queen’s Park, Harborne, Birmingham, B17 9AH.


Sensei Cummins along with students from BHSKC held a demonstration of Shotokan Karate as part of the activities at Queen’s Park on Saturday 27th July 2013. It was a lovely hot morning and everyone was in great spirits looking forward to the demo. The demo covered the key aspects of traditional Shotokan karate as taught by Sensei Cummins showing a very appreciative crowd students of BHSKC performing kata and kumite plus a demonstration of kobudo with demonstrations of the Bo and Nunchaku by Sensei Cyril Cummins 8th dan and Sensei Austin Birks 4th dan respectively. Thanks to all those who took part and we hope that everyone watching enjoyed the demonstration. If you and/or your children are interested in starting Shotokan Karate training at BHSKC then please contact us for details or come along to a session we would love to see you.

Photos from the event are available on our Flickr Photostream and video from the event can be found on our YouTube channel.

  • May 11 / 2013
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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

  • May 09 / 2013
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Articles, Courses

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.

  • May 05 / 2013
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Articles, Courses

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.

  • Apr 19 / 2013
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Articles, Courses

Special Weapons Course Featuring the Bo, Sai & Nunchaku

 Friday 19th April 2013

Nuffield Health Fitness and Wellbeing Centre


Sensei Cyril Cummin’s continued his kobudo (weapons training) sessions with a course featuring the Bo, Sai and Nunchaku. What follows is a brief summary of that course.

The course started with the bo, as this has featured in a number of courses I felt that I was now coming to grips with the use of the bo and when we revisited the bo kata shushi no kon I now felt reasonably comfortable doing it. This was reflected with the rest of the class who had all participated in some of the previous sessions and it felt more like revision and polishing the techniques rather than trying to remember what came next for the most part.

After the Bo we moved onto the Sai, Sensei Cummins explained the history of the weapon before demonstrating its use. We all then attempted to perform basic techniques with the sai. Personally I found the sai extremely difficult to handle especially when swivelling them and as a result found even performing kihon kata with the sai a challenge.  This seemed to be reflected with most of the class and Sensei Cummins with he help of Sensei Susan Hession slowed down and helped everyone understand how to swivel and manipulate the sai.

After the sai came the nunchaku, again Sensei Cummins explained the history of the weapon and demonstrated a number of ways in which they could be used. Then we all had a go. I found the nunchaku easier to handle than the sai and fear of hitting myself in the face with the wooden nunchaku I was using soon evaporated. Whilst I wont claim to have replicated that famous scene from Enter the Dragon, I was able to swing the nunchaku around myself and swap hands and arms with relative ease.

Finally we partnered up and participated in some basic sparring defending attacks from a bo with the sai and counter attacking. This was interesting and felt far more difficult than using the tonfa in a similar situation to me.

Alas time was up and another very informative kobudo session concluded. I look forward to the next one as everyone else who attended also indicated and hope to practice more with the weapons covered so far.

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

Richard Amuzu, 3rd Dan BHSKC.

  • Apr 14 / 2013
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Spring Championship 2013



The Spring Championship 2013 was a roaring success with competitors from many different styles, clubs and associations.We thoroughly enjoyed it and hope you all did to. Thanks to all those who attended for creating a great atmosphere. Congratulations to all those who competed and to those who won medals. It was great to see so many different clubs and styles. I’d also like to thank Sensei Cummins and all the officials and helpers for their efforts on the day.


The final results were as follows :-



Kata Events :-

 Category Medal Winner(s)  Club
Junior Individual Kata Beginner to 1st Kyu Gold Tylan Johnson Adaptive Karate Club
Silver Arvin Corotana Adaptive Karate Club
Bronze Millie Thompson Ippon Ken
Senior Individual Kata Beginner to 1st Kyu Gold Lyndsay Smylie BHSKC
Silver Sophie Stoll BHSKC
Bronze Melissa Smylie BHSKC
Junior Individual Kata Dan Grades Gold Conner Stowe Ippon Ken
Silver Calib Stowe Ippon Ken
Bronze Lucy O’Neil Shidoshinkai
Senior Individual Kata Dan Grades Gold Matt Russell BHSKC
 Silver Bryn Pickett Shidoshinkai
Bronze Terry Povey Ippon Ken
 Veterans Kata Gold Sue Hession BHSKC
Silver Austin Birks BHSKC
Bronze Barry Gregory BHSKC
Junior Team Kata Gold Calib Stowe, Conner Stowe, Millie Thompson Ippon Ken
Silver Bethany Dean, Lucy O’Neil, Bethany Wood Shidoshinkai
Bronze Jack Todd, Katelyn Todd, James Grant BHSKC
Senior Team Kata Gold Matt Russell, Sue Hession, Austin Birks BHSKC
Silver Christie Price, Holly Wells, Lyndsay Smylie BHSKC
Bronze Sophie Stoll, Melissa Smylie, Yvonne Skalban BHSKC
 Pairs Kata Gold Matt Russell, Austin Birks BHSKC
Silver Lyndsay Smylie, Melissa Smylie BHSKC
Bronze Christie Price, Holly Wells BHSKC
Special Award for Outstanding Spirit Nathan Meir BHSKC



Kumite Events :-

Category Medal Winner(s) Club
Junior Female Individual Kumite Gold Bethany Wood Shidoshinkai
Silver Holly Millinson BHSKC
Junior Male Individual Kumite 15 years old and under Gold Jake Phipps BHSKC
Silver Lewis Millinson BHSKC
Bronze Oliver Fachiri Ippon Ken
Junior Male Individual Kumite 16 years old and over Gold Brett Mitchell Shidoshinkai
Silver Calib Stowe Ippon Ken
Senior Female Individual Kumite Beginner to 3rd kyu Gold Melissa Smylie BHSKC
Silver Lyndsey Smylie BHSKC
Bronze Yvonne Skalban BHSKC
Senior Female individual Kumite Dan Grades Gold Christie Price BHSKC
Silver Tanya Mitchell Shidoshinkai
Bronze Lucy O’Neil Shidoshinkai
Senior Male Individuals Beginner to 1st Kyu Gold Osvaldes Pack Brigg Wado
Silver Nigel Chaney Ippon Ken
Bronze Jason Wood Shidoshinkai
Senior Male Individuals Dan Grades Gold Matt Russell BHSKC
Silver Gary Wright Brigg Wado
Bronze Richard Amuzu BHSKC
Junior Team kumite Gold Calib Stowe, Conner Stowe, Oliver Fachiri Ippon Ken
Silver Lucy O’Neil, Bethany Wood, Ellie Price Shidoshinkai
Bronze Otto Galvin, Calum Gratton, Josh Price Shidoshinkai
Senior Female Team Kumite Gold Christie Price, Lyndsay Smylie, Melissa Smylie BHSKC
Silver Yvonne Skalban, Jodie Wood BHSKC
Senior Male Team Kumite Gold Wayne Ricketts, Jason Elliman, Matt Russell BHSKC
Silver Dave Rollason, Steve O’Reilly, Richard Amuzu BHSKC
Bronze Paddy Howtin, Nigel Chaney, Nick Bailey Ippon Ken
  • Mar 29 / 2013
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Articles, Courses

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