Kyokushin Karate Club
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|Hanshi Steve Arneil|
Hanshi Steve Arneil is well-known the world over, amongst martial artists especially. He was born in South Africa in 1934.
As a boy he studied Shorin Kempo, Judo, boxing and was a keen rugby player. Hanshi Arneil has led an interesting and varied
life by anybody's standards. He was capped for Northern Rhodesia's rugby team at age 16, completed National Service and has
trained the Jordanian Royal bodyguards in Kyokushin Karate. In addition to this he also starred as bad guys in Japanese
films in order to help finance his stay in Japan in the sixties, under the screen name of Steve Mansion.
Hanshi began his karate training as a young man in Durban, studying a variety and mish-mash of styles. On finishing his qualifications he moved back to Northern Rhodesia and decided to travel East. He worked on a boat and got to Hong Kong and then into China, where he managed to study Shorin Kempo at a temple in Manchuria. Due to the revolution Hanshi had to leave China. By this time Hanshi had heard of this great man Mas Oyama in Japan whom he had been told would be the kind of teacher he was looking for. Via the Phillipines and Hong Kong Hanshi finally made it to Japan, and trained Judo at the Kodokan. Hanshi was lucky enough to meet the now legendary Don Draeger who eventually introduced him to Kancho Oyama. Afer weeks and weeks of just sitting and watching Hanshi was allowed to train, but students' duties also included chores such as cleaning and washing the others' dogis (karate suits), and the hours were long. Fellow students at that time included the late Hideyuke Ashihara, and his seniors and instructors included the likes of Kenji Kurosaki (founder of the famous Mejiro kickboxing gym), Shigeru Oyama (head of World Oyama Karate) and Tadashi Nakamura (head of Seido Juku karate). During his time in Japan Hanshi became the first student of Sosai Oyama to complete the one hundred man kumite and did, in fact, complete them all on the same day, even though at that time it was not compulsory to do so.
During Hanshi's time training in Japan he was also priviledged to train under Kenichi Sawai Sensei in Taiki-ken, on the insistence of Kancho Oyama who was also a friend and student of Sawai, and Hanshi still draws on that experience to this day when explaining the more meditative aspects of karate. Hanshi Arneil was also adopted by then Kancho Oyama in order that he could marry his Japanese sweetheart.
Hanshi left Japan as a 3rd dan in 1965 and made his way to the UK where he joined Sensei Bob Boulton at the London Karate Kai. From there Kyokushin began to spread throughout the UK with the birth of the British Karate Kyokushinkai and Hanshi was appointed team manager to the British All-Styles team. That team made history by becoming the first to beat the Japanese and winning the World Championships. In the late 1970s Hanshi began to concentrate on promoting knockdown tournaments within the BKK, the first being in 1976 at Crystal Palace. From there on the National Knockdown has become a major event in the karate calender, attracting fighters and spectators from all over the world.
In 1991 The BKK with Hanshi resigned their membership from the International Karate Organization in Japan, and founded the International Federation of Karate, of which Hanshi Arneil is head. The IFK has over 100,000 members in 19 countries. At over seventy years old Hanshi continues to teach beginners and black-belts, juniors and seniors alike at several dojo in and around London and also travels the world teaching courses and summer camps and attending tournaments.