KenZenIchi Kase-Ha Academy
(Formerly Cheltenham and Tewkesbury Shotokan Karate Academy)
“The ultimate aim of the art of karate lies not in victory or defeat
but in the perfection of character of its participants"
Senseis Vucicevic (Serbia). Armstrong (UK) & Pfaus (Sweden) atop a castle in Sweden
Welcome to the KenZenIchi Kase-Ha Academy Website
We aim to provide a unique experience for people who wish to pursue self-improvement on both a physical and psychological level.
We practice Kase-Ha Shotokan-Ryu Karate-Do which is.
A Budo Martial Art which derives its effectiveness from the flow of Ki energy.
A complete exercise concept for men and women of all ages based on the harmony of the mind and body.
A moving Zen offering a spiritual insight into the human nature and existence.
In our Dojo you will experience genuine Budo atmosphere and learn all aspects of the Kase Ha unique style:
Visualization, centralization and abdominal breathing.
Biomechanical stance analysis, rooting and moving skills.
Breathing exercises to achieve and improve flow of Ki energy throughout the body.
Kumite (sparring) and Bunkai (application) exercises in order to improve coordination skills.
Proper strategic fighting approach.
Our name Ken-Zen-Ichi is taken from a personal dedication from Kase Sensei and is literally translated from Japanese as “fist-meditate-one” but represents the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of practice combined as one. We are grateful to our friend Sensei Velibor Dimitrijevic 7th Dan, to whom Kase Sensei wrote the dedication, for the use of the name.
Our logo is the Kase-Ha “Gi” symbol contained within the void of the Zen “Enso” symbol.
Karate lessons are made up of the following three elements:
Kihon ('Basics' in Japanese) is the part of the lesson that focusses on learning and developing the techniques on which karate is built. It looks at breathing, stance work, grounding & movement along with blocking, punching, striking, kicking etc. and starts with single techniques building over time to complex combinations. These combinations can involve closed hand blocking and punching, open hand blocking and striking, kicking and Tai Sabaki (whole body movement) in all directions.
Breathing and breath control is integral to our training. There are a variety of exercises solely focused on breathing which then are carried through into every other element of karate training.
Control of the hara (core) is another integral element to our system of training. This connects your upper and lower body, gathering energy & creating strong, explosive while at the same time relaxed movement.
Kata ('Form' in Japanese) are set patterns of movements in a battle against an imaginary foe. Unlike the majority of clubs, we train katas in five different ways. There is the standard direction of the kata (omote), reverse (ura), backwards (go), and backwards in reverse (go no ura). Finally there is kata bunkai which is the kata form stripped down to remove repeats which results in a clearer application of the movements.
Kumite ('Grappling hands' in Japanese) is the partner work element of karate. It begins with one partner offering simple single attacks while the other executes appropriate defence and counterattack (Ippon Kumite) and develops, getting gradually more complex, culminating in Jiyu kumite (free sparring). In Kumite control of your body, breathing and grounding is vital so you are able to stay strong, agile and stable throughout.
Sparring needs great focus, conviction, and spirit so as to reflect life outside of the dojo. Karate is a defensive art but to develop a strong defence it is necessary to understand and develop strong attacking capability.
Sensei Kase kneeling in seiza
Meditation in motion
Karate training in Kase Ha Shotokan Ryu Karate at KenZenIchi Kase-ha Academy is clearly geared toward increased peace and power, both physical and mental and with clear positive effect in all life situations inside and outside the dojo.
The physical aspects of the training is characterized by explosiveness and dynamic activity and built around each individual's capability. Students are introduced to a clear system of technical exercise where correct breathing, grounding and physical perception contributes to the development of functional strength
With the same systematic approach we practise correct mental attitude, characterised by self-respect and a growing ability to implement what you intend, beyond the previously perceived limitations. There is a clear link to the eastern philosophy of wisdom concerning good and invigorating approaches to life and living. This is approach in line with today's medical and neuroscience research.
Beginners are welcome at any time. The beginners group get a basic education in all aspects of the karate system during the first year. The training is offered three times a week and you need to get to least two of these occasions in order to follow the development of knowledge.
Our senior instructor, Alan Armstrong 6th Dan, is a karateka with 47 years of experience in this dynamic and demanding but meditatively oriented form of karate. He has a unique well anchored knowledge combined with an experience-based insight into what our practice can provide. This is paired with a strong pedagogical approach that enables him to give clear and precise instructions to help every student to reach far beyond previously perceived limits, both mentally and physically.
Sensei Armstrong is supported by Grant Todd 2nd Dan and Robin Spanner 2nd Dan both of whom have a wealth of experience in our way of practice
KenZenIchi Kase-ha Academy offers an opportunity for a unique way to holistic practice.
Sensei Dmitrijevic in Malmo, Sweden