Karate comes from a long line of Martial Arts stretching back into history, yet its training methods and philosophy are of immense relevance to modern western society. Karate-Do is a martial way – the Way of the Empty Hand. This symbolises its non-violent nature and also the ideal of confronting one’s own real self. All martial arts have these principles at their heart to a greater or lesser extent.
It is these ideals that are stressed by the Reiwaryu Ryushinkan School of Karate-Do. The same hard training methods which were needed to condition the mind and body of warriors to meet life or death situations are now used in a different ways. Training methods have now been adapted to suit modern times and are there to help build confidence and develop respect. This encourages and cultivates a positive outlook for all within the school.
Reiwaryu Ryushinkan Karate-Do Renmei, the Shorinji Ryu style of karate, was only recently brought to Japan (1961), being of Okinawan origin. The origins of this school can then be traced back to the eighteenth century. The aim of Reiwaryu Ryushinkan School of Karate-Do through its philosophy and practice is the cultivation and development of peace within the community and society.
Soke Shosaku Ueno – Master
Soke Ueno Shosaku is Master of All Japan Reiwaryu Ryushinkan Karate-Do. The Reiwaryu Ryushinkan style incorporates Shorinji Ryu, Shindo Ryu, Aikido, and Buki techniques of Okinawa.
Soke Ueno Shosaku has enjoyed visiting England on many occasions and has commented on how dedicated the English students have been towards their training. Soke Ueno Shosaku has said that English students have worked hard on the technical aspect of their training and have shown great determination on developing the school in Europe. He has been amazed at the level of commitment shown by the seniors of the school.
Kyoshi Peter Connolly Founder
Peter Connolly originally began training in 1974 in Wado Ryu karate under the guidance of Katsumi Kobayashi Sensei and Suzuki 8th Dan Hanshi in London. Following this he also trained with Gary E Swift 8th Dan Kyoshi. In 1981 Peter visited Japan and was introduced to Soke Ueno Shosaku. This introduction came about as a result of visiting his good friend Masumi Toyama. He stayed with Soke during this period and followed an intensive period of training, after which Soke Ueno Shosaku requested that he introduce the style of Reiwaryu Ryushinkan Karatedo to England.
After another visit to Japan in August 1983 on the special request of Soke Ueno, Peter agreed to his request and introduced this style to England. For his commitment and dedication he was awarded the honour of European Chief Instructor and in June 2000 given the title of Kyoshi. Since these early days Peter has visited Japan on more than 12 occasions to explore and develop the style under Soke’s strict and inspiring guidance.
Peter Connolly has, from the early years, always emphasised to his students that the focus for the training was ultimately to cultivate awareness and to overcome one’s own weaknesses. He stressed the need for channelled aggression, and the maintenance of control. He said that correct etiquette and the mutual respect between students and teachers are essential. This philosophy was shared by Soke Shosaku Ueno and is still at the root of Reiwaryu Ryushinkan Karate-Do today.
Shihan Rhys Williams 6th Dan
Shihan Rhys Williams 6th Dan and Kyoshi Peter Connolly originally trained together in 1974 in the style of Wado Ryu Karate with Katsumi Kobayashi Sensei and Suzuki 8th Dan Hanshi. They then continued their training in Wado Ryu with Kyoshi Gary Swift 7th Dan. In 1983 Rhys Williams along with other senior students followed Peter Connolly to honour the request of Soke Ueno Shosaku and introduce Reiwaryu Ryushinkan Karate-Do to England.
Shihan Rhys Williams has spent many years of continued commitment to his practice and the school and now leads the English branch of Reiwaryu Ryushinkan Karate-Do. Since those early days Shihan Williams and many of the school’s black belt students have visited Japan on many occassions to train directly under the instruction of Soke Ueno Shosaku. Shihan Rhys Williams is a gentle man and like Kyoshi Connolly who has emphasised and encouraged meditation practice as an essential element of karate-Do.
The school now hosts many training centres (Dojos) throughout East and West Sussex, and has trained over 60 students to the level of Dan grade status. The Reiwaryu Ryushinkan Karate-Do Renmei is considered a traditional school of karate by it’s senior members stressing the importance of courtesy, self-discipline, respect, and personal achievement through hard training. Twice a year the dojos within the school are united together to compete and learn from each other. This occasion is an opportunity for all members not only to test themselves and demonstrate their abilities, but also to share knowledge and friendship.