The Sixties

The Sixties

1967 Middlesbrough Budokan Martial Arts Club – standing 4th from right Doug,White Belt – Club Founder & his first Instructor Fred Kidd 1st Dan centre kneeling – far left standing, John Sparkes 1st Dan – standing 5th & 6th from right, Cliff Richmond, White Belt & John Gittus, Green Belt – back row standing 2nd from left, Norman Wall, Green Belt. 

Doug Started training at the Middlesbrough Budokan Martial Arts Club in May 1967, aged 20. The Karate style practised was Wado Ryu within the BKA, originally under Chief Instructor Tatsuo Suzuki 7th Dan, who first introduced Wado Ryu Karate to the UK in 1963 .

His first interest in the Martial Arts was in 1963 when he trained in Judo at age 16 for about a year. Unfortunately the Club closed and Doug then joined the home town Rugby Club, West Hartlepool and played regularly for the Under 18’s and later for the Senior Teams for a few years.

Doug watched a Karate Demonstration in Hartlepool in mid 60’s given by Walter Seaton, then a 1st Dan and was very impressed. How the human body could develop power and skill, with such precision! This left him with a lasting impression, but did not join because of rugby commitments. Little did he know at the time, that Karate in the future, was to have such an influence and affect on the direction of his life.

Early in 1967 he went to a local beginner class one evening at the Middlesbrough Budokan Martial Arts Club with a work colleague who was already a club member, and was hooked straight away. Fred Kidd 1st Dan was the Club Head Instructor, assisted occasionally by John Sparkes also a 1st Dan – fellow members who went on to be accomplished Senior Karate Instructors were Norman Wall, Cliff Richmond and John Gittus who later emigrated to Australia.

The club also had Judo and Kendo sections which Doug tried on a few occasions – but it was Karate that he was fanatical about. The weekly training routine which was rarely missed was Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at the club, then Sunday mornings would be local hill running up Eston Nab, then back to the dojo for stretching & sparring. Green belt was the first target, then Brown belt!

The visiting Instructor for occasional weekend courses was Peter Spanton, then a Wado Ryu 2nd Dan, who would travel from London and Tommy Morris on a few occasions, then a 3rd Dan Shukokai from Glasgow, who introduced him to alternative Style techniques and a variety of weapons including the Sai, Tonfa and Nunchaku.

Doug & Rita met in 1965 while Doug was training to be a draughtsman in Middlesbrough and they were married in September 1967 at Great Ayton, moving to Middlesbrough & lived in a flat, then later bought their first ‘home’ in early 70’s, a bungalow in Hutton Rudby.

Link to The Seventies –>