The name Kamishin Ryu can be translated as meaning “School of the Divine Heart” or “Heart of the Gods Style” in the context of classical Bujutsu. The style was originated in the mid 1960’s by Kameyama Eiichi, a former senior student of one of the main styles in Japan. The manner in which the system came into being is much the same as a majority of martial systems which have evolved over history. Specifically, the founder decided to move away from his former school in order that his own ideas and objectives could be pursued. Kameyama Sensei found that the school he belonged to was placing too much emphasis on the competition arena. As a result, he decided to study the underlying method, (Naha-te), of the school from which he originally came, to a greater depth at it’s source in Okinawa.
History tells us that after a period of study in Okinawa he formulated the system which is now known as Kamishin Ryu Karate Do. This is a very traditional school of the Way of the Empty Hand and is intrinsically classically Japanese in it’s approach although from a technical standpoint the techniques are very much of an Okinawan flavour once past novice levels. The fundamentals of the system are found in the more linear techniques of Shuri-te, and as the student advances, the more complex and circular techniques found in Naha-te are introduced. This leads to a style which exhibits some of the dynamic qualities of a relatively modern style, whilst preserving the deeper, more profound and practical qualities of a true Budo. Kamishin Ryu Karate does not undergo gradual development and change, as do others but maintains the tradition of preserving techniques, kata and bunkai in order that successive generations may themselves study the system in it’s original form.
One aspect of Modern Karate which has caused great concern over recent years is the advent of Sports Karate. This has no place in Kamishin Ryu Karate, which is practiced purely as a martial art, as opposed to a martial sport. Kamishin Ryu Karate Do is not, however, practiced just as fighting technique. The fundamental techniques are perfected through many years of practice and study, but to make any effective use of these techniques, the spiritual aspect must also play a role. Kamishin Ryu Karate is a purely oriental martial art and to understand the innermost secrets, one must train with the proper attitude, exhibit courtesy and the correct behaviour.
The first purpose in the study of Kamishin Ryu Karate, is the cultivation of a spirit of humility. At the same time, the ability and strength sufficient to overcome an attacker should be developed. Becoming a true exponent of Kamishin Ryu Karate Do is only possible when one reaches perfection in both these aspects, one of them spiritual, the other physical. It must be stressed that both of these aspects must be developed side by side, for if the physical side is not balanced with the spiritual side, Karate degenerates into brutality and violence. The constant struggle in coming to terms with the requirements of the training helps to forge a spirit of perseverance and has a positive effect on the demeanour of the individual.
In 1980 the opportunity came for Kamishin Ryu Karate to be introduced to the UK. This was achieved by one of Kameyama Sensei’s most senior disciples, Kamimoto Hiroshi Sensei. Kamimoto Sensei was not only a senior in Karate but came from a very old Samurai family and was also an expert in kenjutsu. He came to the UK under the auspices of the company for whom he worked and began teaching Karate at his home in Worcester. His students were very few in number and were taught on a personal basis. He returned to Japan in 1984, after having helped to establish the first UK Kamishin Ryu dojo in Staffordshire.
In 1984, Eikoku Kamishin Ryu Karate-Do Kyokai was formed by Sensei Phil Snewin and since then, has grown from a single club dojo to a thriving association with member dojo in various parts of the UK and Europe. From this simple beginning, KRKD UK has achieved much, both in terms of recognition of the system’s content and validity and in attracting those from more mainstream styles who have become disillusioned with the emphasis placed on the sporting arena at the expense of a more classical approach to training.
In addition to managing the member dojo within the association, Sensei Snewin also teaches as a guest instructor at many seminars and courses throughout the UK and abroad, and as a result of these efforts, Eikoku Kamishin Ryu Karate-Do Kyokai continues to grow and is attracting interest from other parts of the world.