first grading was held in late 1977 under Sensei Andy Sherry (Chairman
of the Karate Union of Great Britain. Present at that first training
session and grading was a young, up and coming star of the KUGB,
Frank Brennan, who had been newly promoted to Black Belt.
Subsequently all gradings were undertaken by Japanese instructors,
first Sensei Tomita, 6th Dan, and after his return to Japan, Sensei
Ohta, 6th Dan, Sensei Enoeda, 8th Dan, has also visited a number
The Club moved from Trull when the new Community
Hall was built in Comeytrowe. Originally the Club met on Mondays
and Wednesdays until it was decided to move the Wednesday session
at Comeytrowe to a Friday night at the new Blackbrook Sports Centre.
Between 1991 and 1996 firstly Richard Hicks and then for many years
Dominic Jones led the club. When Dom left for the midlands Norman
was enticed to return to teaching again and the club continues to
build on its successes.
Over the years Taunton Shotokan Karate Club has entered many competitions,
taking the team Kumite title of the Southwest Championships in 1978,
with Norman taking the Senior Men�s Kumite title.
Club has undertaken a huge number of demonstrations to various clubs,
societies and organisations over the years, including, Cub packs,
Scout groups, 18 plus, Young Farmers, Women�s Institute, school
fetes etc all in order to promote a better understanding of Karate
and Shotokan Karate in particular. Our best demonstrations was held
at a Martial Arts Festival at Wellington Sports Centre, where along
with students from Tae-Kwon-do, Aikido, Judo, Wado-Ryu Karate etc.
a large number of members of the public were treated to a day long
extravaganza. The Taunton Shotokan demonstration was felt by many
to be the highlight of the day because of the realism and effectiveness
of the demonstrated techniques. (Club members may borrow a video
of this event from Norman).
On a sadder note, following the untimely death of a young club
member - Geoff Body, his family donated a trophy which it was decided
would be used to record the names of club students as they passed
their Black Belt examination. Students keep the trophy until they
can pass it on to the next successful person to obtain a Black Belt.
In the early years the nearest Shotokan club was in Bath.
The Taunton Club was instrumental in promoting Karate throughout
In the 1980�s Norman invited members of Glastonbury Karate Club
to train as they had no instructor at the time and therefore eagerly
accepted. He even went to Glastonbury to teach once a week. Eventually
the students graded across to Shotokan and joined the KUGB. From
there Shotokan karate has radiated out to other towns such as Wells,
Frome, Bridport and Barnstaple in North Devon.
Our efforts to promote Karate, have always included inviting instructors
from other styles to attend training sessions and in Taunton at
least, all styles are welcomed on a friendly first- name basis!
Since the death of Sensei K Enoeda (9th Dan) there has been split
between the Japan Karate Association (JKA) and the Karate Union
of Great Britain (KUGB), so a difficult choice had to be made, which
path to follow? After long discussions we have come to a conclusion
that because of our close links with Sensei Ohta we should support