Hidayat Karate Dojo was established I January 2005 by Sensei Andrew Ramsey (4th Dan).

Working with children, young people and families has always been the occupation of Sensei Ramsey (being both a school teacher and youth worker). Hence there is much more to the class than just punching and kicking. Hidayat Karate Dojo promotes health, fitness, discipline and respect (both of self and others). These points are all tenets of the Karate dojo kun (the general rules of Karate).

We recognise that Karate is not a tool to be used to foster arrogance and senseless violence Rather it is something to be used to improve one’s character.

Sensei Ramsey started training in the late 1980s at the Elephant and Castle Leisure Centre, South London. It was his father’s strict wish that he and his younger brother knew how to defend themselves. Back then training was very hard and there were fewer safety precautions than currently exist. A unique feature of classes of that time was children and adults trained at the same time (not so common these days). Another unique feature was that there was precious little safety equipment and getting hit hard happened every week (and not returning to class was not an option).

What is Karate?

Karate is a system of combat in which the participants specialize mainly in kicking, punching, striking, blocking & other defensive movements, mainly using their hands and feet. This style of karate is called Shotokan and is one of the old "Hard" styles of linear karate and can trace its roots back to the 1600's. It is for this reason that the term traditional sets it apart from the newer more westernised forms of karate. It originated on the small Island of Okinawa near Japan.

The History of Karate

In spite of the popular notion is that Karate was initially developed in Okinawa, it's roots are thought to stretch back over 1400 years to Daruma, the founder of Zen Buddhism. Daruma travelled from India to China to teach Buddhism and taught his followers techniques to develop and strengthen mind and body, many of which are basic to modern Karate. His methods were taught in the Shaolin Temple in China, where they eventually developed into the fighting technique known as Shaolin boxing.

Shaolin boxing made its way to Okinawa around the 16th century and was combined with some indigenous Okinawan techniques to form several different fighting styles.
During many periods of Okinawan history, the general population were forbidden to own or carry weapons and this resulted in rapid advancement of fighting techniques and the underground development of fighting styles using bare hands or common farming implements.

These forms of fighting were known as Okinawa-te or Tode (Chinese Hand) and resulted in the formation of three distinct styles, Shuri-te, Naha-te and Tomari-te (named after the cities where the styles were practiced).

The Shorin-ryu style of karate is thought to have originated from Shuri and Tomari and Shorei-ryu from the city of Naha.

Karate in Japan

Karate was first demonstrated in Japan in 1917 by Gichin Funakoshi at the Butoku-den in Kyoto. He was invited back in 1922 by Dr, Jano Kano, the founder of Judo, and remained in Japan to teach Karate at the Kodokan Dojo with the backing of the Judo master.

Karate gained massive popularity with university students and Funakoshi continued to teach at various colleges around Japan.

It is at these colleges and universities that many of the modern masters such as Nakayama, Obata, Noguchi and Watanabe were introduced to the art.

By the mid 1930's Gichin Funakoshi started to have less to do with the running of his clubs and handed control to his son Yoshitaka. Yoshitaka continued to modernise the style until in 1936, the Funakoshi's opened a new central dojo - the Shoto-kan (hall of shoto). Shoto was the pen name Gichin Funakoshi used to sign the poems he had written in his youth.
World War II had a serious effect on the growth of Karate in Japan, as many of the former practitioners went off to serve in Japan's armed forces. The additional blows of the death of Yoshitaka, the destruction of the Shoto-kan and the banning of Martial Arts by the conquering Allied forces, left Shotokan Karate in complete disarray.

Gichin Funakoshi managed to get the ban on Karate lifted and in 1948 the Nihon Karate Kyokai (Japan Karate Association) was formed, with Master Funakoshi named as chief instructor. Due to Funakoshi's advancing age (81), Masatoshi Nakayama took on most the teaching and Hidetaka Nishiyama headed up the instruction committee.

Master Funakoshi died in April of 1957. Engraved on his tombstone are the words "Karate ni sente nashi" or "There is no first attack in Karate".

After his death, Funakoshi's students adopted "Shotokan" as the name of the style of karate they practiced and today Shotokan is one of the most popular martial styles in the world.

Dojo Kun

Dojo Kun is a Japanese martial arts term literally meaning (training hall) rules. Traditionally they are generally posted at the entrance to dojo or at the "front" of the dojo (shomen) and outline behaviour expected and disallowed. In some styles of martial arts they are recited at the end of a class:

1.Jinkaku kansei ni tsutomuru koto
Seek perfection of character

1.Makoto no michi o mamoru koto
Be sincere

1.Doryoku no seishin o yashinau koto
Put maximum effort into everything you do

1.Reigi o omonzuru koto
Respect others

1.Kekki no yuu o imashimuru koto Develop self-control
The interpretation of these rules varies. However it is clear that they all aim at guiding one to improve character. Please also note that this particular Dojo Kun is specific to Shotokan. Other styles of Karate have their own tenets or rules of moral conduct.