I have listed below information regarding local clubs and instructors spanning over thirty years, these being applicable to the Wolverhampton /Walsall area. All the details are basically from my memory hence I ask you to excuse any mistakes. Please take the time to read through and add to this information via an email or an addition to our guestbook. The listings are in no particular order.
The information may be limited in some cases but I feel if I do not document this information now, a wealth of martial arts heritage may be lost.
Other early Karate Clubs in the Wolverhampton area
Willenhall Radiator Karate Club, Noose Lane, Willenhall (see My Training History)
Springfield Road School, Shotokan Club
Wolverhampton Uni. Shotokan Club
Sensei Sakagami's Dojo - Horseley Fields then Heath Town Baths
Tony Hughes teaching at Wombourne Leisure Centre
(Click to enlarge)
Wednesfield Shukokai Club
This was originally held at the Glyn Morgan Hall and was run by the very knowledgeable Alan "Butch" White. He ran a very large club and coached some very able karate students to Dan grade and above. I believe they were originally members of the SKU. The club eventually moved to the Seamless Tubes Social Club and changed style to Sankukai. Before he moved to Scotland, Alan sowed the seeds for both Shukokai and Sankukai in this area. I believe he is still involved with a National Sankukai group.
Weldless Steel Tube Shotokan Club
I was actually a founding member of this fine club so I can give some accurate information. The club was founded by Paul Carter with the help of Paul Everton. It was originally based at Wednesfield OAP club in Pickering Road on Friday evenings. The club grew and moved to the Weldless club. It was a member of the SKI under Sensei Asano and was closely linked to the Bilston club under George Bagdi. The club held regular courses and tournaments and was very successful in all disciplines.
Jeff Jones was a guest instructor in the early days. Jeff played snooker at the club and also ran his own dojo at Jones Road Club, Wolverhampton. The club instructor eventually became Kelvin Rayner who worked endlessly to maintain the very high standard the club reached. It was with regret the club had to move with the demise of the factory site and club. I believe Kelvin still teaches a strong club in the Willenhall area
First Kung Fu club in Wolverhampton!
Legend has it as being the Wing Chun club at the Ship and Rainbow, Dudley Road ran by a gentleman who called himself the "Black Dragon". It is said that when he started the club, hopeful members needed to be interviewed. As the story goes the queue stretched out the door and down the road ??
The Lau Gar club in Bilston was also an early starter. I believe it was set up at the Pipe Hall which has changed name so many times to date. It is currently known as Gavin's Sports Bar.
First Ju jitsu club in Wolverhampton
I believe this was ran by Ron Stannistreet and was held at Great Bricklin Street Community Centre. He was helped by a guy named Glyn and taught Tenshin Sho Ryu. I was once told there had been an earlier club based at the Wulfrun Hall??
First Taekwondo Club in Wolverhampton
This was set up by the TAGB and was run by Paul Donnelly. It was based at Newhampton Centre (Municipal Grammar School)
I believe this system was founded by Jack Clarkson (?). It is a no nonsense form of full contact Karate and was usually taught to doormen and guys in the security trade. I remember it being based mostly in Willenhall, Walsall Wood and the Black country. It was taught at both the Cross keys (Brewers Droop) and Rushbrook Farthing pubs in Willenhall and it had an hardcore of followers. I believe it is still going today??
Walsall Martial Arts Centre (The ditch, Ablewell Street)
This was a two floor wooden constructed building with three dojos and a club room upstairs. It normally ran classes in the week and discos on a Saturday for members. The classes included Bu jitsu with Alan Harris, Karate and Aikido.
Wombourne Zanshin Karate Club (Wombourne Leisure Centre)
This was the Hombu dojo of the Zanshin Karate Association and, for many years, my home dojo. It was set up by John Rickhuss with perhaps just a little help from myself and became one of the biggest and most respected dojos in the area. It had previously been held at East Park Methodist Church.
The club produced many first class students and held some great open seminars, many in conjunction with Derek Ridgeway. Over the years the club paid host to Senseis Tatso Suzuki, Sakagami, Tomiyama, Terry Pottage, Steve Cattle, Peter Spanton, Julian Mead, Steve Rowe, Gary Swift, Sam Plumb, James Moclair and Walter Seaton
to name but a few.
The club is no longer in existence but it should be well remembered by the large numbers of students and instructors who trained there.
David Atkinson's Moathouse Road School Gym
David taught a mixed class of Stamina training, Wing Chun, Thai boxing and Kali to name but a few. It was MMA well before its time! David went on to teach with his Brother John at the Old Still Pub, Wolverhampton.
Where are they now???
Neil Smith - a regular student and instructor at Wombourne and Walsall Zanshin Clubs. A keen Birmingham fan and a hard hitter, real nice bloke!
Roy Greenway - a former student of Alan White and former neighbour of mine in Perton
Simon Birch - former student of my Kempo classes. If you see this Si, give us a ring!!
David Atkinson - I heard David was teaching Wing Chun at the Paget Arms, Park Village, where is he now?
John Rickhuss with Steve Cattle
(Click to enlarge)