About Kenshinkai Club Founder
Sensei Edward Arthur Whitcher, was the founding member of the Kenshinkai Shotokan Karate Club, after being given the club name by Shihan Kanazawa.
Sensei Whitcher started Martial Arts around 1960 with Judo. Following a motorcycle accident he was forced to give this up. Out of curiosity derived mostly from American magazines he started karate in April 1963.
The next milestone in Sensei Whitcher's Karate life was in 1965 when four Japanese Sensei arrived, including the two well known Karate Masters, Shihan Enoeda and Kanazawa. In July of that year Sensei Whitcher took an open grading under Sensei Kanazawa and attained 3rd kyu.
In April 1966 Sensei Whitcher was one of the first Western students of Shihan Kanazawa to obtain Shodan. This was soon to be followed in 1966 with Nidan. This is documented under an interview with Nick Adamou (read here).
Shortly after taking Nidan, Sensei Whitcher followed Shihan Kanazawa to Japan, where he would stay for four years, and in fact meet his wife Toshiko Whitcher. He endured daily sessions of brutally hard training, which far exceeds that of today's classes. Further difficulties including finance and the extreme humidity made his stay even more of a challenge. Due to his ability, Sensei Whitcher was directly invited by Shihan Kanazawa, to join the instructor's class.
Sensei Whitcher's time in Japan ended in 1971 when he returned to England as Sandan. This is when he started his own club in Tenterden Road, Dagenham where he continued to train at his incredible pace.
During this time in 1978/9 the club was very small and consisted of students like Glen Moulds and Peter Edwards until he sadly passed away in 1990. The name Kenshinkai was handed over to his two most senior Instructors Glen Moulds and Bernie Heerey. Bernie still trains at the old dojo in Dagenham but has changed to more Jujitsu type training, and Glen Moulds runs the Kenshinkai Shotokan Karate Group, continuing in the footsteps of Sensei Whitcher.
Sensei Whitcher was one of the first westerners to achieve Shodan, he spent 3 years training in Japan and became the first Britain to receive his 3rd Dan from the JKA in 1971. In 1979 as he helped setup the ESKA as joint chief instructor, leaving in 1981 because he was tired of associations; deciding to train indepenedtly.
Sadly, in 1990 Eddie Whicher passed away, though he left his mark upon the heritage of Shotokan Karate and gave us the Kenshinkai legacy to uphold.
ESKA (English Shotokan Karate Association)
Sensei Kanazawa held many classes and had many important students, including Sensei Michael Randall and Eddie Whitcher. Kanazawa soon decided to return home to Japan, so he left these 2 senior instructors to form an association for him known as E.S.K.A (English Shotokan Karate Association),in 1979. He made them the 2 chief instructors of the association.
At the beginning there were other instructors helping to form the association: Michael Nursey, Roger hall, Harry Jones (died 1990), John Van Weenen (formed own association), Mick Billman (formed own association) and Greg Durant (formed own association).
Sesnsei Michael Randall was born in 1944 and began Shotokan Karate under Jimmy Neal and Terry Wingrove in 1964, atfter applying for a place in their class. He is one of the very few people still training who has been taught by Masters Murakami and Mochizuki. As an original disciple of Master Kanazawa, he was the 4th person in Britain to obtain a black belt by Sensei Kanazawa in 1967. Randall was very well known for being one of the seven Samurai and his kumite fighting where he represented Great Britain against the Japanese. He was given the position of joint chief instructor of ESKA in 1979 but then left in 1984 to create his own acssociations (SKA and STKO). He currently holds the rank of 8th Dan.
About the ESKA - English Shotokan Karate Association