Video Documentary

October 3, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Chojinkai Karate – the Story

The story so far, as narrated by Sensei Doug James 8th Dan

Recorded in 2002 with a running time of approximately 13 minutes and containing some classic Karate clips from history, covering Sensei James first starting Karate in 1967 through to Chojinkai developing & building into the 21st Century.

The Eighties

August 11, 2014 at 8:55 pm
The Eighties

 Presentation by Sensei Toru Takamizawa

The eighties started well with a Gold Medal in Kata at the Wado and Open Style Tera Karate Kai Nationals. His hard work continued to pay off with a successful grading to 3rd Dan by the Tera Karate Kai Panel in Birmingham in 1980.  As his interest in competition flourished, Doug became more interested in refereeing and trained under Barry Tatlow who was the Tera Karate Kai Chief Referee.

The decade progressed and Doug went on to found the Newcastle Upon Tyne Open Championships at the Lightfoot Stadium, Walker. He also re-named the clubs ‘Chojinkai’ to bring all of the association clubs under one banner.

In 1982 he made the decision to leave the Tera Karate Kai & Toru Takamizawa to form his own association, to concentrate on furthering & developing the Clubs with the foundation of the British Karate Do Chojinkai Association within the English Karate Federation – later named FEKO.

1983 Summer Course – Rita, Michael, Doug, Steven.

He then qualified with the English Governing Body in 1983 and achieved National Judge status under Brian Smith. Doug retired from competing in Karate at the age of 35 to concentrate on & developing competition officiating.

1984 National Referee & 1986 European Judge

He was awarded 4th Dan WUKO and achieved National Referee status with his first International qualification in 1986 allowing him to judge at the European Senior Champs in Spain. Doug became a founding member of the British Karate Grand Prix with Roy Stanhope, Abdu Shaher, Unel Wellington, Victor Charles. Following on from this he was Invited to Australia to teach and formed the International Karate Do Chojinkai, with affiliated Groups in Southern Ireland and Wales.

Perth Australia Course 1986

1986 Summer Course at Minehead – Son Michael (11) 2nd left front row & Son Steven (13) 2nd right back row

The age of Video was firmly upon us, and Doug recorded ‘Wado Ryu Karate’ – ‘Beginner to Black Belt’, Pioneering the first Comprehensive Video on the Wado Curriculum, with Video Producer Tim Eyrl. The success of this top selling training video inspired him to form the Video Martial Arts International Production Company (with business partner Tim Eyrl), more universally known as VMA International. This pioneered the first ‘Magazine on Video’ in 1988.

The company went on to produce Instructional and Training tapes with Ticky Donovan, Terry Pottage, John Richards and other leading British Karate Instructors of the day and became the first company to record Championship Videos of English and British National Karate Events plus the European and World Karate Championships. By the end of the 80’s VMA had been appointed the Official Video Team to both EKU and the WUKO and Chojinkai continued to flourish.

Fighters Magazine

Cover photo & main feature in Fighters Magazine

His international refereeing continued and he went on to Officiate at the European Senior Championships in Italy and Scotland and the European Junior Champs in Spain.

More qualifications followed with an International Referee qualification at the European Championships in Yugoslavia and the prestigious award of a 5th Dan Black Belt under WUKO.

Relaxing at hotel in Titograd 1989 after qualifying as European Referee,

with England Judge Jeff Pearson & National Coach Ticky Donovan

The Seventies

August 11, 2014 at 8:45 pm

The Seventies

It seemed that all that hard training throughout the sixties was paying off. Doug was graded by Peter Spanton to Brown Belt 3rd Kyu in 1970. This is when Doug started helping out at classes and first showed a keen interest in teaching.

Complementing his teaching he began competing in Open Kumite competitions and in the North East Karate Kumite League, organised by Bryan Crossley, who had been the first All Britain Kumite Champion in 1965.

Karate League Kumite – before hand pads!

This resulted in Doug winning the silver medal in North of England Open and Winner of the North East Karate league. The league was a forerunner of competitions in the North East & attracted many top clubs such as Sendai Sunderland with John Holdsworth & Owen Murray and Kobukan Darlington with Dick Copeland to name but a few.

His interest in competition continued. With the Budokan squad, Doug travelled to London and competed in the BKA Nationals, Kata and Kumite, reaching the quarter finals in the Kumite.

Cumbria Wado Ryu Championships 1977

Life moved on, and Doug and Rita were the proud parents of their first son Steven, who was born in 1973. With priorities changing, Doug, Rita and Steven moved to Carlisle in 1974 to allow Doug to work in Production Engineering. To live in the Lake District was seen as an added bonus, as this was a region they had many times visited in the past on vacation breaks. His dedication to Karate however never wained, and Doug opened first Karate Club in the October 1974. The Cumbria School of Karate was born. To top it all his second son Michael, was born in 1975. Doug resigned his job as Production Engineer and began teaching professionally in 1976 following the award of his Shodan (1st Dan) grade by the BKA Panel in London. Within 12 months he had started clubs in Annan, Blackburn, Brampton, Cockermouth, Egremont, Lancaster, Langholm, Lockerbie, Morecambe, Maryport, Penrith, Preston, Silloth, Whitehaven, Wigton and Workington. To ensure that he and his family would make a living, he took all classes himself, usually two venues in one night and then throughout the weekend, driving over 30,000 miles a year.

1st Summer Course Silloth 1976

Interest was clearly growing in martial arts and Doug went on to found the Cumbria Open Karate Championships in 1976 at Carlisle Market Hall with his own club having their first summer residential course at Silloth the same year.

Front kick board breaking demonstration

Not wanting to give up his own need to train, Doug began training with Toru Takamizawa, travelling to Birmingham for regular private lessons, then affiliated to the Tera Karate Group within the BKA. Still looking to grow his own skills, Doug continued to compete in Kumite League, Open and Individual competitions and was the pivot point for the Club Team.

with Eddie Daniels & Toru Takamizawa

He attended a Summer Course in Spain with Toru Takamizawa and Eddie Daniels from Shukokai Karate, was Graded 2nd Dan by BKA Panel in London. He won the Silver medal for Kata in the BKA North West Championships. He was twice the Bronze medallist for Kata in the Tera Karate Kai Nationals. His team also won the Gold Medal for Team Kumite in the Tera Karate Kai Nationals.

Ticky Donovan Course in Carlisle 1977

2nd Dan Grading Photo


Tera Karate Kai Nationals Team Winners 1979

His reputation was clearly growing and he opened a new club in Newcastle in 1978, a full time Dojo and Shop. Later, other clubs in the North East followed with Morpeth, Sunderland, Hexham, Prudhoe and Durham. The time commitment was clearly growing and Doug decided to re-structured the number of club venues, so he could personally teach at the majority of the clubs and look forward to the remainder of the decade with the assurance that the students were getting the best he could offer.

Summer Course at Southport 1979

Doug James Biography

August 11, 2014 at 7:36 pm

This section leads you through 6 decades of an outstanding Martial Arts Career, by following the footsteps of the Chojinkai Karate Founder and Chief Instructor, Sensei Doug James 8th Dan.

A Brief Synopsis – Sensei James  started training in 1967 and is regarded as one of Britain’s Senior and Most Respected Professional Instructors. For 21 years he was an International Karate Referee (1986 to 2007), officiating at the highest level – European and World Championships within the World Karate Federation (WKF). In 2009 he retired as a member of the English & British Karate Referee Commission after a domestic refereeing career spanning over 30 years. Sensei James is a Founder Member of the EKF – the Main Governing Body for Karate in England and a current member of the EKF Senior Technical Grading Panel.  He is President of the Association and very much a ‘hands on’ Chief Instructor maintaining the renowned High Technical Standards within the Chojinkai Karate Association.

This section tracks in detail his route through the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, the noughties, then 2010 to the present day, through Karate from Beginner to Master, from a time when the art was for the UK at least in its infancy, to now when Karate is a worldwide established Art and Sport enjoyed by millions, poised for inclusion in the Olympics and a recognised and most effective form of self defence. Included are archive photos & magazines covers that featured articles on Doug James through the decades.

The Chojinkai Lineage Section shows the “Doug James/Chojinkai Karate” direct link to the early pioneers of oriental unarmed combat prior from the 1800s through to the founders of modern day karate in early 1900s through to Doug James and Chojinkai Karate’s inception in the late 1900s.

The Video Documentary here is entitled “Chojinkai – The Story So Far”, and is a fascinating visual biography as told by Doug James. It was recorded in 2002 and is taken from the “Beginning Karate DVD” with a running time of approximately 13 mins.


August 11, 2014 at 3:01 pm

BRITISH KARATE DO CHOJINKAI  The Website of Doug James 8th Dan

The Renowned Chojinkai Karate Clubs cover Cumbria and the North of England & with a membership of around 350 students, have very successful Clubs in Carlisle, Brampton,  Haltwhistle, Kendal, Newcastle & Wigton.

Chojinkai Karate (pronounced Cho-jin-Kai) is the name of the Wado-Ryu based style of Karate founded in 1974 by our President & Chief Instructor Doug James 8th Dan.

The 6 clubs that make up the British Karate – Do Chojinkai Association are Full Members of the English Karate Federation & operate a stringent Child Protection Policy. 

Senior Chojinkai Instructors – Kneeling

4th Dan’s Mark Heaton & Matt Miller, 8th Dan Doug James, 6th Dan’s Darren Longstaff & Ray Hind.

All Instructors are First Aid Trained, have a complete up-to-date DBS (CRB) Checks and are fully qualified & trained to the Highest Standard on a regular basis.

We offer FREE TASTER CLASSES  at all our clubs!

For all New Beginner enquiries for Adults, Teens, Boys & Girls 4 years plus and General Enquiries contact Doug James on 0797 9922800 or email:

 OR Click on “FIND A CLUB”  on the top menu bar.


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