6th Dan Karate – 5th Dan Jujutsu

Simon Keegan is a Karate, Jujutsu and Tai Chi instructor and the author of the best-selling book Karate Jutsu.

He has been fortunate to train with some of the last of a legendary generation of Japanese and Chinese grandmasters.

He is a member of the Dai Nippon Butokukai which awarded rank to Gichin Funakoshi and Chojun Miyagi and also graded under Kokusai Budoin which is presided over by the hereditary head of the Shogun house of Tokugawa.

Simon was born in Liverpool in 1979 to a martial arts family and studied from an early age. His father David Keegan commenced Jujutsu more than 55 years ago and has trained for many years in both classical Japanese arts (including the Koryu school of Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu) and classical Chinese martial arts (including Yang family Tai Chi) and also lived and worked in the Far East.

Before that, Simon’s great uncle trained to blackbelt in two of the country’s first Jujutsu clubs in Liverpool – the Kawaishi Ryu (founded in 1928) and the Koizumi Ryu (founded in 1906).

At the age of 16 Simon was competing at national level in Karate while studying for 8 years in the Bushidokan, learning Karate, Jujutsu, Aikido and Judo. He was awarded his blackbelt age 20 and competed in Karate, kickboxing and Kobudo/Iaido and became his teacher’s senior student. He won gold nationally in Kumite and silver in Kata. As a teenager he also became the 6th consecutive generation of his family to serve in the military.

Simon Keegan image

Simon Keegan Renshi at his Dojo

Simon then trained for 10 years with Bob Carruthers and later his teacher Shihan Phil Handyside who became a mentor to him in the art of Shobukan Karate, derived from Japanese Shotokan and Malaysian Budokan and many years later Shihan Handyside graded Simon to 5th Dan and 6th Dan. The Budokan style is a softer, Malaysian-Chinese influence on Karate.

Simon's extensive Chinese martial arts studies began in 1998 and included Yang style Tai Chi, Sun style (which also comprises Pakua and Hsing-I) and Chinese sword. He trained in his first formal school for 9 years, competed at European events and performed in front of the mayor of Shanghai.

Simon was awarded 2nd Dan in Jujutsu and the Bugei Ju Hapan (18 martial arts including Bo Jutsu, Jo jutsu, Iai jutsu, Ken Jutsu, So jutsu and Kusari Gama etc) in 2002. On one seminar with the legendary Mitsuhiro Kondo, one of the masters who introduced Karate and Aikido to Europe in the 1950s, Simon joined Japan’s oldest Budo fraternity, the Kokusai Budoin (IMAF) of which he became a regional officer with his grades recognised by the hereditary shogun Tokugawa Yasuhisa.

He also was recognised as a 2nd Dan in Nihon Jujutsu by Shizuya Sato (10th Dan Jujutsu, 9th Dan Judo), a student of Wado Ryu founder Ohtsuka, Kenji Tomiki and Judo masters Mifune and Ito; and with the Iaido division headed by Keiji Tose (Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu) who Simon’s father trained with.

Simon began studying Goju Ryu Karate and Kobudo and was graded up to 3rd Dan by Reiner Parsons and also trained with headteacher Tadanori Nobetsu. The style was Nisseikai which combined Okinawan Goju Ryu with Feeding Crane Quan Fa, bringing the art closer to its Naha-Te origins.

Simon Keegan image

Performing kata with London Symphony Orchestra.

Simon began to pursue the old Karate Jutsu and Yawara methods, training with masters like Hanshi Terry Wingrove who has been his mentor for the last ten years, and also studying Koryu such as Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu. He also had chance to train with Aikido master Alan Ruddock, a student of the art’s founder and Koryu Jujutsu with Hanshi Allan Tattersall.

Simon was awarded his 4th Dan in Karate and Jujutsu in 2007 and became a member of the International Ju Jitsu Federation (Seibukan) and Karate Jutsu International. He was also a founder member of the English Karate Federation.

He was awarded his Renshi title in 2010, endorsed by the national head of the Dai Nippon Butokukai Hanshi Tattersall, which awarded the same title to the likes of Gichin Funakoshi, and he was awarded his 5th Dan in Shobukan Karate by Shihan Handyside in 2012, recognised as a 5th Dan in Shotokan by IMAF.

In 2018 Shihan Handyside awarded Simon the grade of 6th Dan in Shobukan Karate and Simon was also formally inducted into the Dai Nippon Butokukai as a 5th Dan in Jujutsu, affiliated to his old teacher's school, the late Hanshi Tattersall's Myoshin Ryu. He was also appointed chief researcher by the International Ju Jitsu Federation and Karate Jutsu International.

As technical director for Karate and Jujutsu within his association he demonstrated his arts in Japanese cultural festivals and performed Kata with the London Symphony Orchestra, the first person to ever do so.

He has continued to train with Koryu Bujutsu masters and Karate masters from around the world, including a memorable seminar in Karate, Kobudo and Batto Jutsu with the legendary Fumio Demura.

In 2018 he published the book Karate Jutsu with forewords by six 9th Dans including Shihan Demura.

Today after decades of training Simon teaches an effective system of classical Karate Jutsu and Jujutsu called 'Hakuda Kempo Toshu Jutsu' at a purpose built Dojo called Circle Martial Arts in Manchester City Centre.

Courtesy Simon Keegan Renshi

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