Stephen Chaplow

steve chaplow photo

I first started karate in January 1985 under Sensei Doug James & Sensei Paul Evans,  just for something to do that was both physically and mentally demanding, not realising it would be the start of a very long and testing journey which I am still traveling today.

I have also studied Aikido and Judo and my ambition was not only to achieve black belt but to achieve 3rd Dan.  I had a break in 1998 due to illness which was when I studied Aikido because it can be a less physically demanding art which suited my needs at the time, but I always knew I would return to Chojinkai because of the attitude of striving for excellence which is at the core of the club.  This suits my personality as I can be a bit of a perfectionist at times.

Some of my karate career highlights have been achieving my 3rd, 4th and 5th Dans Black Belts plus the honour of winning Silver and Bronze medals in the teams and individuals respectively at the Belgium international cup with the Chojinkai team and numerous other medals while competing.

My teaching career started quite early on when I was a 1st kyu brown belt as my club instructor at Kendal left due to a relocation in Scotland.  This left me as the most senior grade and I think this might have indirectly helped my karate because I had to analyse everything myself to improve not only how I personally did things, but also how I taught.   Hopefully since then I have helped and inspired people not only in karate but in life, the values karate instils in us is to do the best we can in everything we do

I am a strong advocate of Kata Bunkai and letting people explore the many paths they can take.  My message is that keeping it simple makes it effective.  Sometimes students can over complicate martial arts to impress but this only satisfies the need for showmanship.  It is not a personal trait I ever thought I needed nor one I have had to encourage in my students.

At the end of December 2014 I decided to retire from Karate after 30 years.  Matthew Miller 4th Dan has taken over the running of the club and is doing an excellent job and will continue to maintain the high standards that I have always strived for at the Kendal.

I had been Head Instructor at the club for over 20 years and was a permanent member of the Senior Grading Panel, a Senior Competition Referee, all these are all roles within the Association, I am very proud to have held.

To my surprise at the Senior Training Course in Carlisle on 6th December 2014, Sensei James presented me with my 6th Dan Award in recognition of 30 years with Chojinkai Karate.

I always thoroughly enjoyed training at Chojinkai and made good friends and wherever my path takes me in the future, Karate will stay with me for the rest of my life in one way or another.