About Us

At Bushido Hombu we offer over 30 years of knowledge and experience in Karate. Memberships are available for clubs, instructors, and individuals.

We teach karate in order to help people achieve their personal goals, whether they be increased fitness, improved confidence, greater levels of concentration, improved discipline, to gain an increased level of personal safety or for the love of the art.

At Bushido Hombu we are not affiliated to any other organisation, nor do we follow a mainstream style (ryu).Our senior instructors have received a majority of their training in Shotokan but have enhanced this with many training methods, concepts and kata from other styles.We aim to constantly evolve our understanding of karate through training both within our group and other traditional groups.This enables us to gain better understanding of the original training methods and ensures we are not losing the essence of the art that we practice.

In line with our ethos we train in the traditional values and methods, but in an environment befitting to our modern western lifestyles.We do not follow dogma, nor force members to take on the presumed ways of a Japanese samurai.Instead we help you to achieve your goals by guiding you along your karate path rather than being an oppressive figurehead.

This means our classes may appear to be of a more relaxed nature, however the levels of respect are maintained in line with the traditions of karate.  Those who achieve higher grades will receive more information and education of these aspects of Japanese Dojos to enable them to attend courses and events hosted by other groups.

Overall we are about training in karate and making it enjoyable while achieving results.

 

What have we done?

This is the point where most clubs will list chapter and verse of who they have trained with, when they trained with them and what competitions they have run (usually stating they were British / European / World champions at some point… they fail mention that usually only a few organisations or dojos took part in the tournament). Instead we would like to give you an insight into the things we have done that will actually count and mean something to you.

Experience – Organisations

Between the senior instructors we have been members of around 9 martial arts organisations and associations (including the JKA), most of which have been Shotokan based.

This has given a varied experience even within this one style; having some groups led by instructors with a heavily Japanese background and a keen objective to study “koryu” – the old ways, others with a more sporting / competition based ethos where tournament success was paramount, and the finally those with a self-defence foundation.

We have used the experienced gained within these other organisations to run the Bushido Martial Arts Association since the 2002.  As an organisation we have attended events held by other groups and hosted our own, including in-house competitions and external instructor led courses.  We have had steady growth and are careful with those organisations that we interact with and the instructors/clubs that we allow to join.

As an indication of the instructors we have trained with or followed with interest, I have listed some names below:

O’Neill, Hazard, Trimble, Daniels, Sidoli, Lewis, Phipps, Kato, Kanazawa, Sumi, Asai, Yahara, Narumi, Knobel, Amos, Langley, Lowther

Experience – Outside of karate

All instructors are encouraged to broaden their experience and knowledge by training in other martial arts and fitness systems.  The intention of this is to promote thinking and prevent stagnation through looking for synergies of theory and approach, new/different training methods and true differences.

All senior instructors have trained in a number of disciplines, some for less time than others due to appraisal of usefulness or impact on our core study of karate, these include: Jiyu Jitsu (Japanese and Brazilian), Wu Shu Kung Fu, Tae Kwon Do, Krav Maga, Aikido, Judo, Boxing, Capoeira, Ashtanga Yoga,  Classical Pilates (Mat and Reformer) and Gymnastics

What is karate?

The usual question Karate Instructors get asked, often followed by “Is it the one with the kicks and punches?”

Most instructors respond to this by reciting the history of karate as they were told by their own instructor or regurgitate the contents of a book or manual instead of actually answer the question. (as an aside, this history is usually unfinished or incorrect).

Is Karate just kicking and punching?

No!! Karate was a mixture of the fighting arts in developed in Okinawa and other countries that traded with the Islands… making it a Mixed Martial Art (MMA) hundreds of years before the modern UFC style tournaments were ever thought of!!

True karate does not impose any limitations on techniques, if a movement can be used in combat then it is Karate. Punches, kicks, elbows, knees, arm locks, grappling, ground fighting and even head-butts are all valid karate techniques. Karate is not what you do, but how you do it!

Often, karate training techniques are labelled as not being effective for use in a real life situation, it should be remembered that karate training is not a constant barrage of real life situations! A large portion of training up to black belt is purely educational, with reference to the body, and how it works, increased control and body conditioning. It is the process of going through the years of this training which enable you to perform techniques required in a real life situation.

At the end of the day, karate is whatever you want it to be….

As long as a student of karate is truthful about their reasons for training, they should be able to find a club with an instructor capable of providing them the education and guidance to achieve their goals. A good instructor’s first question should always be “Why do you wish to train and what do you want to get from it?”

     + If you want to get fit, karate will help, but you will only get out what you’re prepared to put in.

     + If you want to learn self defence, karate will always prove beneficial, but an instructor who specialises in self-defence and street bunkai should be found.

     + If you want to learn how to smash through wood, then yes; some Karate training will involve this (though not generally within the Bushido Martial Arts Association!).

     + If you want to gain confidence, the right Karate instructor can help you.

     + If you want to win competitions, then yes; a more sport-oriented club will help you to achieve this.

At its base level, Karate is the study of movement and psychology…

How you use the knowledge and ability gained from training depends on you as an individual, the karate itself is really the study of these two elements. At Bushido Hombu we do not limit ourselves or demand our clubs stick to one style; the Hombu (Head Club) trains in what we call Generic Karate. All techniques are allowed and all body parts can be used.

If you are however looking for a particular style of karate, there are other clubs within the association that specialise in many of these styles by preference of those instructors. The karate taught by an instructor needs to be they karate that they want it to be.

Grades and Belts

Coloured Belts

We hold an assessment session every three months (January, April, July, October) where all members under purple belt (4th Kyu) perform their current syllabus in front of the grading assessment panel.

During the assessment session a normal class is run with each grade group being called individually for assessment while the class continues in the main sports hall. Everyone takes part in the assessment regardless of readiness, eligibility or desire to gain the next grade as the intention is not only to ensure that people gain belt promotions in a timely manner, but also so that regular feedback can be given for continuous improvement.

Brown and Black Belt Grades

For those ready to attempt a brown or black belt grade (3rd Kyu through to 6th Dan) there are two opportunities each year in October and April. These official gradings will be held outside of normal classes at additional cost and spectators are welcome. To apply for a grading you must submit your request to your Sensei 3 months before the desired examination date.

 

Our Sensei

Chief Instructor – Kevin began training in Karate aged five. Having suffered with severe asthma from birth with regular time off school and having low confidence, Kevin’s parents took the advice of a good friend and took him along to the local class. As he trained his health, confidence and physique all improved, which his family put down to the body conditioning from the Karate training.

By the age of 13, the symptoms of Kevin’s asthma had all but disappeared and he was ready to take his first dan black belt. This was taken along-side adults in front of the examination panel of Bukonkai Karate International, Kevin passed on his first attempt. As Kevin’s experience grew, he attended many courses and tournaments and began supporting his instructor in the running of the club and teaching the juniors.

When Kevin’s instructor sadly ceased his karate training to pursue other interests, Kevin (aged 18) took over the remaining students and began his teaching career. Soon afterwards, Bushido joined the JKA (UK) where Kevin retook his Shodan grading to achieve JKA recognition.

Since leaving the JKA in 2000 (just before the big split within Japanese Shotokan), Kevin has had mixed training under several Multi Martial Art Associations. This has enabled him to begin mixing training styles and assess what techniques, stances and styles best fit his students on an individual basis. It was in this period that the Bushido Fitness and Self-defence system came into being. BFS is and always will be a work-in-progress as it is ever developing with every new student that comes along.

As of December 2013 Kevin has also been made an Honoury Member of ICCS Krav Maga, others with this honour include the founder of Israeli Krav (Moshe Katz) and the Founder of the First Response Counter Terrorism Teams. Kevin was also certified as a Level 1 ICCS Assistant Instructor in April 2014, which enables him to officially teach Krav Maga in the UK.

Kevin is working closely with Pilates/Yoga instructors, Krav Maga instructors and other Karate Sensei to get the most from martial arts; always looking to perfect the art of Karate and develop interesting, fun and effective training for BFS. He is passionate about martial arts and fitness and is intent upon increasing public safety through his teaching.

Kevin is a fully insured and DBS (the new CRB) checked CoachMark registered instructor who teaches because he believes it is his duty to pass on what he has learned. The club is here to help people and not to make money, we are a group of friends from the youngest 5 year old white belts to the oldest 66 year olds and black belts.

Prices and Costs

Monthly Mat Fees

We aim to keep our charging structure as simple as possible while ensuring that cost is not a barrier to those who wish to spend more time training to help improve themselves and our dojo.

To achieve this we offer all training at our Hombu Dojos in one monthly payment. The below shows our monthly payment schedule, including family packages*.

Junior (Under 18 years of age) or full time student £24 per month
Adult £34 per month
Family of 2 £38 per month
Family of 3 £57 per month
Family of 4 £76 per month
Family of 5+ £95 per month

License/insurance fees are included within the monthly mat fees.

Terms and conditions:

– All prices are based upon payment by Direct Debit on the 1st of each month

– Prices are based on payments being made EVERY month regardless of attendance, if injury/illness or work commitment will prevent attendance for a period greater than 8 weeks you may apply to suspend payments for the period.
– Late payments of more than 4 working days will incur a penalty charge of £10
– Termination of membership requires a 1 month notice period, therefore following written notice one further monthly payment must be made and all belts returned.”

Grading costs

Beginner to 4th Kyu = included in monthly dojo fee (quarterly assessment)
3rd Kyu = £10
2nd Kyu = £20
1st Kyu = £30

Black Belt:

Junior 1st Dan = £50
Adult 1st Dan = £100
2nd Dan onwards = £200

Payment must be received at least 7 days before the grading date. Should a Brown/Black Belt grading attempt be unsuccessful, 50% of the grading fee will be refunded.

Which Class?

Click here to see the location of our venues.

 

Childrens’ Classes

Wheatfields Junior School | Time: Mondays 6:30-7:30pm |  Ages 6-11 (plus family members)
Hatfield Leisure Centre | Time: Sundays 5:30-6:30pm  |  Ages 6+

Family Classes

Wheatfields Junior School | Time: Mondays 6:30-7:30pm |  Ages 6-11 (plus family members)
Wheatfields Junior School | Time: Wednesdays 6:30-7:30pm |  Ages 6-11 (plus family members)
Wheatfields Junior School | Time: Mondays 7:30-8:30pm  |  Ages 11+
Westminster Lodge | Time: Thursdays 6:30-7:30pm  |  Ages 6+
Hatfield Leisure Centre | Time: Sundays 5:30-6:30pm  |  Ages 6+

Adult Classes

Wheatfields Junior School | Time: Mondays 7:30-8:30pm  |  Ages 11+
Westminster Lodge | Time: Thursdays 8:00-9:00pm  |  Ages 6+
Hatfield Leisure Centre | Time: Sundays 5:30-6:30pm  |  Ages 6+

Advanced Classes

Westminster Lodge | Time: Thursdays 6:30-7:30pm | Ages 6+
Open Dojo | Time: Fridays 6:30-7:30pm | 1-2-1 or small group instruction by prior arrangement

Yoga Classes

Parish Centre, Bricket Wood | Time: Saturdays 7:45-8:45am | Ages 6+ | Additional charge applies

Self Defence Classes

Wheatfields Junior School | Time: Wednesdays 7:30-8:30pm | Ages 16+
More information at www.stalbans-kravmaga.co.uk

How to join


There are a number of questions to be considered before taking the step of joining a martial arts club, we aim to have answered them within the main copy of our website. If you have more questions that have not been answered, or you wish to come and try the club, there are several options available to you:

+ View our FAQs page
+ Contact us directly via our “Get in touch” page
+ Turn up at one of our sessions

We would recommend visiting us about 10 minutes before a session starts so that one of our instructors can spend some time answering your questions, while giving you time to change and join in, should you so wish.

Initial taster sessions are priced at £7 per person per session, with a limit of 2 taster sessions before committing to join.

Should you wish to join there are several packs available from the bear minimum (a Gi – suit, syllabus book and grading record book) up to a more comprehensive packs that include protective equipment and all you need up to around Brown Belt. From the day you hand in your membership form + fee you will not be charged anything further until the first Direct Debit is taken on the 1st of the following month.

The joining packs are heavily discounted and can be viewed and selected on your membership form that will be provided by the Dojo Manager. In addition to this you will also receive a welcome letter that will detail all of the information you need, including payment details.

From that moment you are a member, there are no annual fees or forms to complete and you simply stay a member of our karate family for as long as you wish (so long as monthly mat fees are paid on the first working day of each month).

We hope to see you soon, so that we can support you on what is a very rewarding journey of self discovery and improvement.