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

The Sixties

August 11, 2014 at 8:42 pm
The Sixties

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.

His first interest in the Martial Arts was in 1963 and 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 given by Walter Seaton, then a 1st Dan and was very impressed. How the human body could develop power and skill, with such finesse! This left him with a lasting impression , but did not join because of other 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.

He went to a local beginner class one evening with a work colleague who was a club member, and was hooked straight away. Fred Kidd 1st Dan was the Budokan Club Instructor, assisted occasionally by John Sparkes also a 1st Dan – fellow students who also went on to be Senior Instructors were Norman Wall, John Gittus and Cliff Richmond

The club also had Judo and Kendo sections which Doug dabbled in 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 hill running, then back to the dojo for sparring and stretching. 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 met his future wife Rita in 1965 while training to be a draughtsman in Middlesbrough and they were married in September 1967 at Great Ayton, moving to Middlesbrough to live & then later Hutton Rudby.

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.