Chidokan Karate New Zealand

Historical Background

Europe:  Since the beginning of mankind, man has engaged in one form or another of hand to hand combat.  A popular event at the time of the first Olympic Games in Europe, 776 B. C, was Pankration, a form of all-in unarmed combat.  The techniques used in Pankration included punching, kicking, throwing and holding.

By the time Greece was overrun by the Romans, it had developed into the two modern sports of boxing and wrestling.

Interestingly enough, in 1980, archaeologists in Greece discovered small statues depicting men in fighting stances – the same stances as those still used in modern-day karate.

From India into China:  Many historians believe that the art of striking, that is the effective use of man’s arms and legs as weapons of percussion, can be traced back to the founder of the Zen sect, Bodhidharma (Daruma in Japanese).  It is recorded that Bodhidharma emigrated from India to China in the year 520 A. D where on establishing the Shaolin Monastery, he taught Zen Buddhism with severe discipline.  In order that his pupils could survive the pace of long hours of meditation and monastery life, Bodhidharma introduced physical unarmed combat training.

It is also said that the Shaolin monks became renowned fighters, due to his system of combat training.  In fact, it enabled them to survive in hostile, lawless times.

Okinawa:  The Chinese art of  striking  continued to develop and flourish throughout the long history of this nation, eventually shifting into Okinawa.  In 1609, Okinawa and the surrounding in islands were conquered by troops dispatched by the Satsuma Clan in mainland Japan.

The Okinawan military was banned and all arms confiscated, in order to maintain ruling dominance by the Japanese.

It was during this period that the people of Okinawa developed the system of TODE or TANG TE (China Hand), the name give to the original techniques of karate.

The traditional clothing for the Japanese soldier of this period, was wood and leather armour, and to effectively break through this with empty hands required substantial foot and hand conditioning.  The development of hand callousing was therefore emphasised and to this day, Okinawan styles of karate place great importance on hand conditioning.

In 1914-15, the art of Tang Te spread and gained immense popularity due to Masters such as Mabuni, Motobu, Funakosi Gusikuma, Ogusuta, Tokomura, Ishikawa, Yahiba, plus others who toured Okinawa demonstrating their skills and teaching openly for the first time.

Japan:    Master Funakoshi Gichin, who studied under the teachers Itosu and Azato travelled to Tokyo, Japan in 1922.  Here, with Imperial sanction, he gave a number of Introductory demonstrations in his fighting art.  These early demonstrations were so well received that Master Funakoshi decided to stay in Tokyo, where he could continue to develop and teach the art.

A few years later, other Okinawan Masters also travelled to Japan, and slowly, the various styles emerged.

In 1928, Miyagi Sensei arrived in Kyoto and established the Goju Ryu style.  Mabuni Sensei, in 1929, took the characters of the names of his two teachers Itsosu and Higashi, to produce what is now known as Shito Ryu.

Funakoshi Sensei’s pupils linked their style to Shoto, Funakoshi’s pen name used to sign his calligraphy.

However, the next decade saw major Japanese influence change the training methods and technique of the art.  Yamaguchi Gogen, a pupil of Miyagi Sensei created his own interpretation of Goju and one of Funakoshi Sensei’s top pupils, Otasuka Hironori, founded the Wado style.

With these changes occurring, plus the build-up of anti Chinese feeling with Japan, a very significant change in the name of the art was born.

In 1936, Master Funakoshi Gichin boldly renamed Tang Te to that of karate-do.  This Japanese word, meaning “the way of the empty hand”, was at first resented by the other Okinawan Masters, but eventually it became accepted.  Apart from the obvious physical sense of the words empty hand, the more subtle Zen meaning of emptiness met with approval.

Thus, initially from Okinawa, were the teachers Itosu and Azato, their teachings were passed on to Funakoshi, Miyagi, and Mabuni.  Under those original Masters, the Japan karate world rapidly developed and even after their deaths, continues to grow worldwide.

Chidokan Formation:

Takeshi and Kiyoshi Sasaki commenced their karate do training at Waseda University which at the time was the very centre of Master Funakoshi’s Shotokai organisation.  However, by this time Master Funakoshi was quite elderly and not teaching on a regular basis.  His son Yoshitaka Funakoshi and other senior dan grades conducted the most of the day to day instruction.  Isao Obata (1904-1976) was one of these senior instructors and was also the Sasaki brothers Sempai while at the Waseda University dojo.

After the death of Master Funakoshi there was a great deal of disruption within the Shotokan organization.  Things became worse with the early death of master Funakoshi’s son Yoshitaka.  Many of the senior practitioners broke away and formed their own organizations.

Takeshi Sasaki established Chidokan in 1954 and installed his brother, Kiyoshi Sasaki as chief instructor (Shihandai).

The Chidokan Hombu dojo (headquarters) was situated in Nippori, a Tokyo suburb.  This dojo was purpose build, a very old building with tremendous atmosphere – timber floor and walls with sliding windows and doors.  Kancho’s elderly parents lived directly above the dojo in an area which also served as the Chidokan administration office.  The dojo did not have dressing rooms or showering facilities.  Instead pupils changed into and out of their karate gi on the actual training floor.  The shower consisted of a bucket of cold water drawn from an outside tap.

The training was severe and unyielding.  Such was the spirit that emanated from this building, it was said that people crossed the road rather than walk past the dojo during training hours.

In 1995 Kancho Sasaki, 9th dan, passed away at the age of sixty nine years of age.  His successor being Shigeo Kurihara Shihan.

New Zealand –

The Chidokan style of karate was introduced into the South Pacific region by Jack Sims in 1967.  This was the year Sims Sensei returned to New Zealand after completing a full time training program at the Chidokan hombu dojo Tokyo Japan.

The first Chidokan dojo to be established outside of Japan was opened at 24 Wyndam Street Auckland by Jack Sims his wife Mardie and Ben Greffiths in 1968.

During these early years, Judo and Aikido was also taught at N. Z Chidokan under the leadership of Ben Griffiths.

In 1996 Shihandai Neil Parker was appointed Managing Director in N. Z Chidokan.

The Chidokan style of karate-do has been established in Australia and Canada by senior dan grades originating from NZ Chidokan.

The Karate Evolution:  It can be said that Master Funakoshi Sensei dramatically changed the principles of karate from that of a fighting art designed for the battlefield, to one which enabled its practitioners to partake in hard, disciplined, physical training.  Funakoshi Sensei’s objective was clear by his own definition: ‘the ultimate aim of the art of karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of the character of its participants’.

However, karate has entered another dimension, due to its introduction as a competitive sport by men such as Nakayama Sensei of JKA and Takagi Sensei, Chairman of FJKO now known as Japan Karate-do Federation (JKF). For many in the karate world the dream is that karate will become a recognised Olympic sport – others feel that sport karate is truly detrimental to the future of art and want no part of it.

I believe Karatedo is a heritage, and a serious responsibility lies with the Masters of this era to teach karate in such a way that it remains an art of dignity, strength, grace and purpose.  If this cannot be so, the heart of karate is at risk, and the future could be just a senseless floundering

(J.E. Sims)

N.Z Chidokan:  Through the years.

1967:  For New Zealand, Chidokan really began the day Jack Sims first stepped onto the training floor as an uchi deshi (in-house apprentice), at the Hombu dojo in Nippori, Japan (17th Frebruary 1967).  Although training since the age of seventeen in several martial arts, enrolment at Chidokan headquarters was the beginning of what was to become a lifetime study.

1968:  The first Chidokan dojo outside of Japan was founded in New Zealand  by Jack and Madie Sims, opening at 24 Wyndham Street, Auckland City, on 2 July 1968.

Sims Sensei conducted karate classes on a wooden floor at one end of the dojo while Ben Griffiths taught judo and aikido on a matted area at the other end.

Wyndham Street dojo was an old building, full of character and atmosphere, holding many memories for those involved in the first five years of establishing Chidokan in New Zealand.

The first karate pupils to attain SHODAN rank within New Zealand Chidokan were GARY HANSON, JOHN CLUTTERBACK, KEN CHARLES, PETER BERGHAN and JIM RYAN.
Gary’s son is now a member of our Papatoetoe brunch – one of quite a number of second generation pupils.

1968:  also saw what was to become a regular training course for members of the elite New Zealand Army SAS corps.  Sims Sensei spent many hours designing a special close Quarter Battle program, to suit the requirements of the SAS.  This program has been constantly researched and upgraded throughout the years, and instructors from the SAS undergo an intensive two-week training period with Sims Sensei every year.

1969:  Chidokan sponsored a visit to New Zealand by a Japanese aikido instructor, Nobuo Takase.  Mr Takase taught aikido at Chidokan for about a year, subsequently marrying a local girl, settling  in Auckland and opening his own aikido dojo.

The first two branches of New Zealand Chidokan opened – one in Feilding and a second in Hamilton.

Chidokan is established at the Massey University under the guidance of Tony Pleasants freshly promoted to Shodan in 1969.  The Palmerston North branch dojo in King Street opens under the leadership of Tony Pleasants - Roy and Maryann Shadbolt establish themselves as valued instructors. 

Members of Chidokan participated in a public demonstration with a team from the Japanese Maritime Self defence Force, led by Captain Tanaka, Yondan.

One hundred and twenty karate and aikido pupils attended a camp at Hunua, braving the freezing waters of the river during their training sessions.

1970: Kancho Sasaki invited Sims sensei to participate in the 1st WUKO championships, held in Tokyo.  At this time, there were no weight categories and Sims Sensei fought with distinction, winning his first two matches with clean ippon’s.  These ippons’ resulted in him being awarded one of only three medals presented at the tournament, for Karate Exellence.

Papatoetoe branch of Chidokan opened at Hunters Corner, where it operated from for the next thirteen years, before moving to its present venue.

Ben Griffiths established judo classes at the Papatoetoe dojo, as well as continuing teaching judo and aikido in the city.

1971: A very sad year for Chidokan, when one of its very promising young judoka, Robert Nicholas, was killed in a car accident – only weeks after winning the senior National Light weight title.

Members from the Chidokan dojo at Auckland University repeated their winning form of 1969 and 1970, once again taking the team title, MICHAEL SNOWDEN won the Open event.

Two hundred attended a training cap at Hunua, which was also the venue for the Chidokan National Championships.  BRYAN FITZPATRICK won both the Open Dan kumite and kata events.

1972: Two more branches opened, in Rotorua and Fiji.

Sims Sensei was appointed Liaison Officer for FAJKO (now Japan Karate Federation).

Bryan Fitzpatrick, by now a fulltime instructor at Chidokan Headquarters, travelled to Japan for an eight week intensive training program.  On his way back home Bryan represented New Zealand in the individual kumite event at the 1st APUDO Championships held in Singapore.

The largest training camp ever – three hundred and eighty Chidokan karate and aikido instructors and popils participated in a weekend of blood, sweat and tears at Hunua.  Two other camps were held outside the Auckland  area this year for the first time.  One in Palmerston North, the other in Rotorua.

At the Highland Games Karate Championship  in Hastings, Chidokan who the team, all individuals and kata events – in most cases, coming 2nd,3rd and 4th as well.  The successful Hombu A Team consisted of BRYAN FITZPATRICK, THOR TANDY, MICHAEL SNOWDAN, NIGEL HAY and RICHARD WATSON.

The annual New Zealand Universities Karate Championships, this year held in Dunedin, was also an all Chidokan victory.

1973: Expanding membership forces a move to much larger premises in Albert Street, where the Chidokan dojo becomes quite a landmark for the next eight years.

Our first woman attains SHODAN rank – MARYANN SHADBOLT, from Palmerston North dojo.

1974:  this year was a busy one for Chidokan with the opening of three new branches in Takapuna, Henderson and Papakura.  All three have continued to be successful assets to our organisation.

1975:  Our first instructors conference was held in Auckland, a forerunner to our current monthly Dojocho meetings.

Kelston dojo was opened, to become one of our largest branches.

SHARRON PEARSON becomes the first woman NIDAN.  Many Dan grades will have memories of this talented, fiery young karateka.

New Zealand was represented at the WUKO Championships in Los Angeles in USA by seven Chidokan karateka:  SIMS SENSEI, BRYAN FITZPATRICK, THOR TANDY, PERCY SHEPHERD, BILL HALL, MICHAEL SCWECZYK and TERRY DANIEL.

Sims Sensei became the first New Zealander to sit then pass the gruelling WUKO Referee course and examination, conducted prior to this tournament.

A self defence camp help at Hunua this year brought more than was bargained for.  Torrential rain caused the river to flood, with only the main hall remaining above the water level.  The whole camp was completely isolated, until the flood water subsided.

1976:  BRYAN FITZPATRICK became New Zealand Chidokan’s first SANDAN – a rank reserved for those who have made an outstanding contribution to the art, as well as attaining peak personal performance.

1977:  New Zealand Chidokan sponsored a visit by Kancho Takashi Sasaki.  While in New Zealand, Kancho Sasaki  visited several of our dojos, taking classes at all levels.  An outside training session was also held in the Auckland Domain.  This involved hundreds of Chidokan exponents and attracted the interest of newspapers and television.

Shortly after Kancho Sasaki’s return to Japan, Sims Sensei was awarded the very high honour of being promoted to GODAN, at this time the highest dan grade possible within the Chidokan system.

The 4th WUKO Championships were held in Tokyo again this year, with New Zealand being represented by Sims Sensei, who participated as a referee.  Thor Tandy performed in kata; the first time kata was scheduled as an event at WUKO level.

1978:  The year Chidokan celebrated its tenth anniversary.  By this time, Chidokan was well and truly established as the largest organisation of its kind in Australasia.

This year also saw our first SHODAN from our junior membership; VINCENT FONG from Mt Eden.

1979:  Chris Peace from South Australia enrolls at Hombu dojo for a four month full time training program.  Latter this year Chris returned to South Australia to establish a Chidokan branch dojo in his home town Renmark.

1980:  Our lease expired at Albert Street, after a period of eight years.  It was decided not to open another dojo in the city region, as interest at our suburban branches was so high.  A new Hombu dojo was built at the home of Sims Sensei and Mardie and the search was on for suitable premises for another branch in the area.

A team from FAJKO called into Auckland on their way home from a similar “Goodwill” visit to Australia.  Chidokan ikkyu and Dan grade members were invited to participate in a training session with the FAJKO team – with quite interesting results, as those who were present will report!

1981:  A new branch was opened in Sandringham and quickly became a successful link in the Chidokan chain.

At the 4th APUKO Championships in Sydney, Australia and New Zealand was again represented by a number of Chidokan players: SIMS Sensei (Coached), NEIL PARKER, ROBERT  OGG, GARY MOODY, HAMES QUINN, ROGER MARVIN, MIKE HANFLER, PERCY SHERPIERD, IDA SWANN, SHARON BROWNE,  MARILYN BOND, VICKY MUURPHY and DEBBIE NORTHOER.  It was to prove a very successful international for New Zealand, with Ida Swann placed second and Sharron Browne third in the women’s kumite event.

Sims Sensei was appointed to the APUKO Referee Council.

In June, ANDREW SIMS became the youngest Chidokan member awarded SHODAN rank, at the age of ten.  Andrew commenced his training when only five years of age.

1982:  BRYAN FITZPATRICK is awarded the rank of YONDAN.

New Zealand was invited to send a six member team to Japan to participate in a FAJKO (now JFK) Goodwill tournament in Tokyo.  All expenses were paid by Japanese multimillionaire president of wuxo, or Ryoichi Sasagawa.  SIMS SENSEI, TERRY DANIEL, and PERCY SHEPHARD travelled to Japan as officials, while NEIL PARKER, ROBERT OGG and GARY MOODY went as players.  It was a most enjoyable and successful trip.

Another new branch for Chidokan was opened this year, this time in Parnell.

Bryan Fitzpatrick and Terry Daniel were appointed as New Zealand Chidokan Shihandai in recognition for their services to the organisation over many years.

1983:  This year, ten payers and four officials from Chidokan were selected to represent New Zealand at the 5th APUKO Championship held in Nagoya, Japan.  SIMS SENSEI (Coach), TERRY DANIEL (referee), GRAHAM PEATE and MARDIE SIMS (Congress delegates), NEIL PARKER, GARY MOODY, JAMES QUINN, MARK LANDALE, ALAN MCARDLE, TONY MAGILSEN, BRYAN FITZPATRICK, SHARON BROWNE, JENNY MAWSON and MARILYN BOND (contestants)

Andrew Hartley, a long time friend of Chidokan presented a magnificent trophy to be awarded each year to a Chidokan “Warrior of the Year”.  The 1983/1984 award was made to ROBERT OGG.

1984: What will always be known as they year of the “Manila Thriller” – Sims Sensei and Terry Daniel travelled to Manila to participate in an APUKO sponsored Referee Seminar.  Sims Sensei subsequently suffered from severe food poisoning and almost took up permanent residence!

June saw ANDREW SIMS become our first junior graded through to the rank of NIDAN.

RARO TEVITA was placed first in kumite, second in kata at the Police Olympics held in USA.

TERRY DANIEL attained WUKO Referee status after passing the examination at the 7th WUKO Championships held in Holland.  Other Chidokan members to participate in the event where NEIL PARKER, ALAN MCARDLE, ROBERT OGG, GRAHAM PEATE, JENNY MAWSON and SHARON BROWNE.

1984/85 “Warrior of the Year” awarded to TERRY DANIEL.

1985: A ten year long ambition is fulfilled when Sims Sensei and Mardie contract the building of their own  Chidokan dojo in New Lynn.

BRYAN FITZPATRICK becomes the first member of New Zealand Chidokan to be awarded the rank of GODAN, a well deserved reward for many years of training, teaching and service to the art.

NEIL PARKER commences as a full-time instructor and is appointed as the third  Chidokan Shihandai.

Chidokan karateka travel to Malaysia to participate in the 7th APUKO Championships.  Those selected were: JAMES QUINN, ALAND MCARDLE, JENNY MAWSON and GAIL EDER.

Two Chidokan woman were selected to represent New Zealand at the 1st Women’s Karatedo Cup, held in Taipei: SHARON BROWNE and BRENDA PARKER.

An important year for those interest in the sport aspect of karatedo – the WUKO finally gained recognition by the IOC.
SIMS SENSEI, TERRY DANIEL and BRYAN FITZPATRICK travelled to Japan to attend the 1st Japan Masters Seminar.  Four Japanese karatedo Masters demonstrated and taught a major kata fromm their style.  At a multi style tournament organised in Auckland, Chidokan players were again dominant and the two top longstanding Player awards went to Chidokan members – VI AH CHONG (men’s) and SHARON BROWNE (womens).

Another multi style event in Whangarei saw all but one 1st place come to Chidokan – in most catogories,2nd and 3rd as well.

1985/86: “Warrior of the Year” awarded to TONY MAGILSEN.

1986:  Chidokan’s own building is finally completed and the New Lynn branch opens for members on 21st  January.  The dojo in Delta Avenue has an American designed sprung floor specially constructed for the training area.

BEN GRIFFITHS is appointed as CHIDOKAN SHIHANDAI, in recognition of his outstanding achievements as a Judo instructor and his loyalty to the organisation – being a foundation member from its inception in 1967.

Two more branches open this year to teach the Chidokan style both over the Shore to compliment a very successful Takapuna club – one at Glenfield and second at Rothesay Bay.

Two big multi-style championships were held this year.  Thirty trophies came home with Chidokan players from Whangarei and at the Auckland UNZKO National Championships, our players won nine of the eleven categories and twenty five of the total forty two placings.

NEIL PARKER undertakes to conduct a Trainee Instructors course, in an effort to keep up the demand for top quality instructors at our Chidokan dojos.

During the May holidays, a group of thirty five Juniors spent five days training and enjoying the hospitality of Chidokan members in Whakatane and Rotorua.  Two hundred or so braved the cold to participate in winter misogi, held at Mission Bay.  Training commenced at 6am followed by a BBQ.

To mark our anniversary year, Sims Sensei decided to officially put into effect a Chidokan Yudanshakai (Black Belt Association).  Sims Sensei considers those who achieve Dan grade are special people, who, by their own tenacity and spirit, have reached a high level of expertise and therefore deserving of their own association.


To be continued ....





Chidokan New Zealand

Kancho Sensei Jack Sims
Kudan - 9th Dan
Parker Shihan Neil Parker
Hachidan - 8th Dan
Chidokan Shihan


Chidokan CAN Dojos

Canada - TBA

You are here  : Home Historical Background