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Bridgend Kyokushinkai Karate Club History

The Bridgend Kyokushinkai Karate Club started way back in the early 1970’s when Mike Watkins came back from Japan and introduced Kyokushinkai Karate to Wales.

The following piece of the clubs history is from my old instructor and friend Sempai Dai Llewellyn (1st Dan).

Dave joined the original Bridgend BKK Dojo early in 1972 at the Pen-y-fai scouts hall. Peter Davies was the instructor in charge, in the absence of  the number one at that time Sempai Mike Watkins of the ‘Cardiff Dojo’, who was very well respected by Steve Arneil and also a personal friend. I remember being told when I first joined, that there had been an earlier Dojo run by a so called Sempai of dubious background, apparently Mike Watkins paid a visit and that person went away.

It would be true to say that training under Mike Watkins was of a hard and extremely high discipline, as expected by the then Shihan Steve Arneil. Mike came to Bridgend very frequently, and was often supported by Lee Costa who was becoming a very good competition fighter.

There were other well respected local members at the time that assisted Peter Davies out of the Dojo. The club was run by a committee with a chair, secretary, treasurer etc.

Jeff Philpots and Gary Kelly were also members. After some time becoming established students, my friend John Bolton and I became members of the committee. When Howard Collins of Mountain Ash returned to Wales after that year coming second in the all Japan Knockdown championships, he was invited to train with us and appeared on a regular basis. I had the honour of transporting him to and from Bridgend on a number of occasions, and got to know him well on a high respect basis.

Training was even stricter and harder than it was previously, high grades quickly became familiar with the shinai, but never in a bullying way. Howard Collins had our utmost respect and will have mine forever.

After the time that Howard Collins returned, I remember the club continued to improve in both size and quality until a period of dissatisfaction crept in. If I remember rightly Howard Collins was not able to give Bridgend as much support as previously, as he had developed a lot of other commitments both nationally and internationally. On agreement the committee decided to approach Mike O’Brian of Shotokan to see what he could offer. The committee liked the terms (I was not at the meeting and when I returned from holiday I was told that we were now Shotokan). After a short period of training in that style, some of us wished to return to the BKK and contacted Howard Collins, and after a meeting with him at Bridgend Recreation Centre a group of us returned to the BKK. After the return to the BKK Ieuan Morris became the new Sempai at the Dojo, and I became the assistant instructor.

After passing my 2nd Kyu brown belt I was asked to set up my own Dojo in Cornelly, which was attached to the Bridgend Dojo for a while until I became officially sempai of my own Dojo. 


Sempai Dave Llewellyn ( 1st Dan ).


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