Many congratulations to Sensei Anthony Holt who successfully passed his 4th Dan grading on Tuesday 14th September 2021 at the Watford dojo of Seishinkai Shotokan Karate International in front of the Association’s senior grading panel of: Sensei Malcolm Phipps 9th Dan, Sensei Tony Bunting 7th Dan and Sensei Jeff Carson 6th Dan.  An excellent performance and a grade that is well deserved.

Also, many thanks to the senior grades who turned up to train at this prestigious and important event.

Well done Anthony from all in SSKI.
PHOTO: L to R: Sensei Malcolm Phipps, Sensei Anthony Holt, Sensei Tony Bunting, Sensei Jeff Carson


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Updated 05/11/2021

              SSKI Clubs can return to their respective dojos from the 1st September and when they do the following guidelines must be adhered to.                                                                 

If students have symptoms of Covid-19 they must not come to the dojo and should arrange to be tested immediately.

Dojos must follow all government guidelines.

Students must arrive at their respective dojo in their karate suits and belts.

All dojos will have hand sanitizers and students must use these on arrival at their respective dojo and on leaving.

Trainers are to be worn during training.

Students will train in kihon and kata two metres apart.

Face masks will be worn for any partner work, although partner work will not involve bodily contact of any kind.  Kumite will be performed two metres apart with the attacker naming the attack and then attacking their partner.  The defender will perform the defence as required but both parties will remain two metres apart throughout this whole process. There will be no kiai during this process.  So it is imperative that all students bring face masks to all training sessions.

Payment of lessons should not be in cash and should, preferably be, by internet banking.

Only one person allowed in the toilets at any time.

If a dojo uses equipment such as focus pads or kickbags etc then these must be thoroughly cleansed before and after use.

A strict register must be kept for every single lesson in case names etc are needed for the Track and Trace government guidelines.

Aim to achieve maximum ventilation i.e. windows and doors open whenever possible.

People accompanying students must remain outside the dojo and/or adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Students should be encouraged to be aware of personal cleanliness, especially in the present situation.

Instructors must refrain from physical contact with students. Any correction of techniques must be made by verbal command.

Instructors should be especially vigilant when facing the class. Keeping as much distance as possible between themselves and students.

It is the Instructors responsibility to make sure that all students adhere to the above conditions.

NB:  All students must be licensed and as many have expired during the long lockdown period, then it is up to each club instructor to get in touch with these students and get them to bring their fee into the very first lesson back.  All licenses that have expired during the lockdown period will now be re-dated from the 1st September 2020, so students do not lose any time on their respective licence period.

Also, please make sure all students bring face masks to all sessions.


It is with great sadness that the legendary Shotokan sensei, Hirokazu Kanazawa 10th Dan passed away peacefully on 8th December 2019.  He was a huge influence in my karate life and I trained and graded with him many times and enjoyed every session. He was a truly wonderful and humble man, who had time for everyone. RIP Kanazawa Soke, you will never be forgotten.                                                              

THE TWO TREES OF KARATE (A story by Kanazawa Sensei and retold by Malcolm Phipps)

I was extremely lucky and privileged to have trained and been graded many times by the great Kanazawa sensei and I will always remember the wonderful story he told on one of the classes that I attended in my early karate years in the early 1970’s.

He said, ‘There are two trees in Shotokan karate. The first tree is the kyu grade tree and the very top of this tree is 1st Dan. But then the student travels to the bottom of the second tree, the Dan grade tree. This tree is a much larger tree and takes a lifetime to get to the very top. At the top of this tree is 10th Dan, or if you are still training and sadly do not reach this grade through death, then the top of this tree for you is Heaven.
Sadly, many will not make either in their karate training and will give up training at some point in their lives. When will you fall off the tree?’ He asked the class. The great man then stated, ‘Four years to black-belt. Four seconds to give up!’

The wonderful finish to this story is here was a legend of a man who thoroughly believed in what he preached and taught, and is one of only a few who have achieved both of these ideals, 10th Dan and Heaven.
RIP Hirokazu Kanazawa Soke

Photo: Circa 1977. A young Sensei Kanazawa with my very first students as an instructor: Lee Bulling, Peter Young, Joy Yorke and Derek Hay. (Yours truly took the photo)

Sensei Malcolm Phipps 8th Dan

3 May 1931 – 8 December 2019

Hirokazu Kanazawa

Many congratulations to Sensei Ram Babu Singh who is the SSKI Chief Instructor to India on being awarded his 6th Dan grade which is truly well deserved. 

Also, many congratulations to Sensei Tuleukhan Iskakov who is the SSKI Chief Instructor to Kazakhstan on being awarded his 4th Dan grade which again is truly well deserved.

Both of these instructors have gone well past the minimum time needed for these grades and a huge well done from all the SSKI family. Oss!


Sensei Tuleukhan Iskakov, 4th Dan

Sensei Ram Babu Singh, 6th Dan


At the Hemel Hempstead dojo on Wednesday 4th December 2019, Isaak Nathan from the Watford dojo passed his 2nd Dan grading in true style in front of a panel that consisted of: Sensei Malcolm Phipps 8th Dan, Sensei Tony Bunting 7th Dan and Sensei Jeff Carson 5th Dan. An excellent grading all round and especially as Isaak was the only participant in this particular Dan grading.

Also, the Hemel Hempstead dojo held their kyu gradings just before Isaak’s grading and the following were successful in passing their grades:

2nd Kyu – Sarah Kay.
4th Kyu – Darshith Biju, Naitik Biju, Nethra Nair, Habib Al Haddad.
5th Kyu – Avyuktar Nair, Ruth Samuel, Jasmin Al Haddad.
7th Kyu – Oliver Marsden.
8th Kyu – Jake Fell.
9th Kyu – Alex Humphreys, Ewelina Wisniewska, Ianis Gheorghe, Ines Gheorghe, Edward Farr. 

Many congratulations to Isaak Nathan and to all those who passed their new kyu grades. Excellent overall standard and well done to all.

Photo 1 - Isaak Nathan with his sensei, Tony Bunting 7th Dan.

Photo 2 - Hemel Hempstead youngsters who passed their respective kyu grades.

Photo 3 - Hemel Hempstead adult club members who passed their respective kyu grades.


Wow! What a fabulous weekend course with Sensei Dave Hazard 7th Dan hosted by Sensei Malcolm Phipps 8th Dan and SSKI.  The dojo was packed on both days with karateka travelling from Morpeth, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Surbiton, Dartford, Reading, London and many other places to train with this superb instructor. Saturday started off with a few kumite drills with a good deal of partner work.  The next two sessions were on the kata, Unsu and its bunkai.  Fantastic sessions on this very senior kata and very tiring.

Sunday’s main theme was the kata, Tekki Shodan and again another absolutely superb session working on the journey of each technique as opposed to the destination and the amazing use of the hips in this kata, a subject much maligned in the current grading/competition use of this kata.   There were also excellent partner sessions on this second day of the weekend course.

Absolutely magnificent weekend’s karate training with a truly awe inspiring instructor.  Roll on the next SSKI course with Sensei Hazard in March 2020, again in Hemel Hempstead.  Can’t wait!


At the Hemel Hempstead dojo on the evening of Wednesday 12th June, Sensei Vicky Adams passed her 4th Dan grading in true SSKI style. The grading consisted of the showing of the designated kata Gojushiho-dai followed by the bunkai with Vicky’s chosen kumite team of, Stephanie Farrer 3rd Dan and Steven Barton 3rd Dan.  The bunkai was performed through once slowly, then questions were asked by the Grading panel on certain parts of the bunkai and then it was performed all the way through at full speed.

Vicky then took a one hour lesson to black and brown-belts and this was basically on the using of the preparation part of basic blocks and was taught as a basic, then as a jiyu-ippon kumite technique and then put into an excellent self-defence move.  This class consisted of three 5th Dans, five 3rd Dans and many other black and brown-belts.

The grading panel consisted of the Chief Instructor, Sensei Malcolm Phipps 8th Dan, the Assistant Chief Instructor, Tony Bunting 7th Dan and the Chief Referee, Jeff Carson 5th Dan.

A superb grading and Vicky and Sensei Phipps both thanked all the students who turned up to be in the class for this very important evening.  Some had travelled from as far as Reading and Basingstoke to be a part of this grading.

Well done Vicky and many congratulations, truly well deserved.

Vicky Adams' 4th Dan grading




Vicky Adams' 4th Dan grading group


SSKI's Winter Course

Wow! What a fabulous weekend course with Sensei Dave Hazard 7th Dan hosted by Sensei Malcolm Phipps 8th Dan and SSKI.  The dojo was packed on both days with karateka travelling from Morpeth, Cardiff, Isle of Wight, Surbiton, Dartford and many other places to train with this superb instructor. Saturday started off with a few kumite drills with the kyu grades working on double-handed blocks, whilst the seniors focussed more on blocking with the preparation hand, quick release attacks and correct body positioning.  The second and third sessions dealt with kata, Nijushiho and was truly an eye opener for everyone.

Sunday’s main theme was the kata, Bassai-dai and again another absolutely superb session working on the journey of each technique as opposed to the destination.  The final session of the course was a tough kicking session and again dealt mainly with the positioning of the support leg and foot.

Absolutely magnificent weekend’s karate training with a truly awe inspiring instructor.  Roll on the next SSKI course with Sensei Hazard on the weekend of 14/15th September, again at Hemel Hempstead School in our brand new gym/dojo.  Can’t wait!

Photo title: L to R: Sensei Mark Elliott, Sensei Dave Hazard and Sensei Malcolm Phipps.


It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I have to report the passing of our great friend and Ex-Chief Instructor for SSKI USA, Sensei Jeff Sanders 4th Dan, who passed away peacefully in hospital early in the morning of Tuesday 5th February.  Jeff had been suffering for approximately just over two years with ALS which is, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in the USA and which in the UK is more widely known as Motor Neurone Disease.

Jeff was not only a great karateka and instructor but a wonderful friend who I stayed with and his family in his home in Urbana, Ohio many, many times.  I feel a huge hole has appeared in my personal life and I will miss him greatly and his wonderful sense of humour.  We had some fantastic times together and my love, condolences and best wishes go to his lovely wife, Lisa and to his son Bishop, who is also a 4th Dan with SSKI, and also to his daughter, Mary Rose and his other son AJ.

A sad, sad day.  RIP Jeff.

Malcolm Phipps

PHOTO: Sensei Jeff Sanders and Sensei Malcolm Phipps in happier times

Absolutely superb Dan Grading yesterday at the Hemel Hempstead School Dojo. All six participants passed their next grades in real style. The standard was exceptional and many congratulations to the following:

Sandan: Stephanie Farrer and Steven Barton.
Nidan: Phillip Chiverton, Carl McCormick, Juan Lopez and Andre Cove.
Panel: Sensei Malcolm Phipps 8th Dan, Sensei Tony Bunting 7th Dan and Sensei Jeff Carson 5th Dan.

Many congratulations to Dina Cary and Rafe Cary on passing their shodan gradings on Saturday 27th October at the Springfield, Ohio dojo. Truly well deserved. 
PHOTO: SSKI USA Chief Instructor, Sensei Jan Smearsoll 4th Dan, with her shodans: Sean Cary, Rafe Cary, Dina Cary and Brandon Smearsoll.

SENSEI DAVE HAZARD COURSE (Hemel Hempstead School Dojo – 15/16th September 2018)

Another absolutely amazing course with Sensei Dave Hazard 7th Dan.  The Saturday sessions concentrated on the advanced Shotokan kata, Gojushiho-dai after an hour of excellent kihon. Sunday was taken up with a superb kicking session which was followed by the kata, Hangetsu.  The course finished with another great session, this time on kumite.  Everyone really enjoyed the course and looks forward to sensei returning to the dojo in February next year.  They really don’t come better than Sensei Hazard.

The host of this course, Sensei Malcolm Phipps 8th Dan presented Sue Carson 3rd Dan and Jeff Carson 5th Dan with their Long Service Awards for over 20 years loyalty to SSKI.  Both are instructors of the association’s Bovingdon dojo.  Truly well-deserved and was a lovely finish to a truly wonderful weekend’s karate.

Photo: Sensei Hazard and Sensei Phipps with Jeff and Sue Carson with their Long Service Awards

New ETNA Black-belts

On Sunday 1st July at the ETNA nunchaku grading at Hemel Hempstead School there were two new ETNA nunchaku black-belts in the Hemel Hempstead dojo.  Siva Niranjan and Juan Lopez both passed their nunchaku shodan black-belts in real style under the watchful eye of the Chief Instructor, Malcolm Phipps 8th Dan.  Well done to both on a brilliant showing and a great grading.  Also, congratulations to Poonam Anandaraj on passing her green belt.  Oss!

New ETNA Black-belts

Sensei Paul Carvell Awarded 5th Dan

Sensei Paul Carvell Awarded 5th Dan

At the Hemel Hempstead dojo on Wednesday 27th June 2018, Sensei Paul Carvell was awarded his 5th Dan grade and certificate by the Chief Instructor, Sensei Malcolm Phipps 8th Dan and the ISKS Executive Committee.  Truly well-deserved as Paul has been a loyal student for over 22 years now and passed his 9th Kyu with Sensei Phipps on 6th March 1996.

Paul is also the instructor at the very successful Highfield Community Centre dojo in Hemel Hempstead and is also an association referee.  Many congratulations Paul from all in SSKI.

SSKI Ohio Black-belts with the Chief Instructor


The visit started with a dan grading examination on Thursday 22nd March at the YMCA Springfield, Ohio dojo, where Sean Cary was successful in passing his shodan exam.

Congratulations Sean.

On the Saturday that followed Sensei Phipps held a seminar on the more advanced blocks and strikes of Shotokan karate.

The likes of Kakuto, Washide, Kumade, Seiryuto, Tekubi-kake-uke, Keito-uke, Hiraken and Nagashi-uke were taught and put into a kumite drill which everyone found extremely interesting and all the students thoroughly enjoyed the seminar to the full.  Along with the local Ohio students were guests from a club in Pittsburgh with its sensei, Chuck Kerrigan and one of his senior black-belts, Gus. Also in attendance was sensei Bishop Sanders 4th Dan from Hiram College in North Ohio. The first actual Springfield club session was a lesson on kicking, with the second lesson working on upper body techniques.  Lesson three was a stance lesson with lesson four working on hips, advanced stances and kata and kumite drills mainly working on stances.

The whole trip was a huge success and the Springfield dojo goes from strength to strength under the excellent guidance of sensei Jeff Sanders 4th Dan and sensei Jan Smearsoll 4th Dan. Sensei Phipps will be returning in September for another dan grading, an advanced kata lesson and another four club sessions.  Can’t wait and looking forward to it already!

Contact details

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Chat with Malcolm now on +44 01442 266048
Email: Malcolm at:

Malcolm Phipps
No. 3 The Copse
Hemel Hempstead
Hertfordshire HP1 2TA


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'After much thought and quite a few requests from kyu grades, the Wednesday club at Highfield Community Centre, which trains from 8 – 9pm, is now for all grades and not just senior grades and will be a general class and not just a kata class. The website has all the details of this change on the Clubs page'

Malcolm Phipps 8th Dan Chief Instructor

"To all Students & Parents, Please note that the revised Government "6 person rule" does not apply to karate clubs as advised by the BKF (British Karate Federation) and the EKF (English Karate Federation). So please continue to attend and support the clubs. We will keep you fully updated.

Thank you for your loyalty and support in these very trying times."




Wow! What a night to remember.  At the Watford dojo on Tuesday 15th December, two massive Dan grades were awarded by the SSKI Executive Committee and the ISKS Executive Committee.  First of all, Sensei Jeff Carson was awarded his Rokudan (6th Dan) grade by Sensei Malcolm Phipps, our Chief Instructor, for all Jeff’s fantastic input to Shotokan karate as a whole.  Sensei Jeff is the Bovingdon instructor and the Chief Referee to SSKI and is a credit to the association and very worthy of this award.

If that wasn’t enough good news for one evening, then Sensei Malcolm Phipps was awarded his Kudan (9th Dan) grade, again by the SSKI Executive Committee and the ISKS Executive Committee.  The ISKS (International Shotokan-ryu Karate-do Shihankai) is an international body of very senior Dan grades, from the grade of 5th Dan upwards. Sensei Phipps was overwhelmed at this award and commented, that he couldn’t believe nine and a half years had gone by so quickly and remembered like it was yesterday that he was being presented with his 8th Dan by Sensei Dave Hazard at Hemel Hempstead School all those many years ago.  Sensei Phipps has trained in the art of Shotokan karate for nearly 50 years now and is now 78 years young and still gets a buzz teaching the young students at his Hemel Hempstead dojo, hoping that they will get the same out of their karate training that he has. 

PHOTO: L to R - Sensei Jeff Carson 6th Dan and Sensei Malcolm Phipps 9th Dan


Sensei Jeff Carson

6th Dan

Sensei Malcolm Phipps

 9th Dan



On Thursday evening at the Highfield Community Centre dojo in Hemel Hempstead, Crystal Close (15) passed her 2nd Dan black-belt in real style.

Her instructor, Sensei Malcolm Phipps 9th Dan stated, that it was one of the best 2nd Dan gradings he had witnessed in a very long time.

Crystal is a credit to the club, the association and her family and trains twice weekly at the Highfield club.

Anyone interested in training at this club, a club that has been training in Hemel Hempstead since 1977, whether adult or child, please ring HH 266048 or log on to the website, for all the details.

All are welcome.


PHOTO: Crystal Close 2nd Dan with her instructor, Malcolm Phipps 9th Dan after the tough grading.