Norman started training in Shotokan Karate in Bradford, West Yorkshire, 1970, under the guidance of Sensei Walter Legg (deceased). Training at St. Margaret’s hall on Tuesday & Thursday night 7pm till 10pm and on Saturday 2pm till 5pm in the good old days when training fees were 10p per session!! At the time of joining the club in Bradford, Sensei Legg was a brown belt, there were no black belt around apart from Sensei Asano (well nobody knew of any) who would turn up once per year for gradings! After a number of years (1973) of going up and down the dojo doing basics Norman heard of a dojo in Leeds run by Sensei Bob Rhodes, on joining the Leeds Shotokan club Norman, found out (the hard way) about sports karate, to which, he says ‘was great fun’. “If anybody takes up Karate, competition is a fun and (sometimes) safe way of ‘testing’ your techniques legally!”
In 1984 Norman moved from Bradford to Oxford for work, after looking around and taking on a few jobs, Norman started his own window cleaning company. This move gave him time to concentrate more on his thirst for knowledge of karate. In 1985 the Oxford Shotokan Karate Club was born. Started in Long Hanborough and after a few years moved to Witney Leisure Centre, later moving to Woodgreen School, then on to Abingdon. At the opening of the Abingdon Tennis and Leisure Centre, in 2002, the Oxford Shotokan Karate Club took up residence.
Norman at the Golden Temple in Kyoto
In 1987 and at the end of a very enjoyable sports initiation journey, Norman joined the Ryushinkan dojo, in Oxford (Aikido) under the watchful eye of Sensei Minoru Kanetsuka. Norman would train with Sensei Kanetsuka on a weekly basis for five years and sometimes on his weekend courses. When training on a Wednesday morning there were only a very few Aikido-ka turn up for practice, this was the start of REAL understanding of Martial arts and he cannot thank sensei enough for his guidance and true friendship in helping him develop his martial arts (Karate as well as Aikido).
On many occasions at Sensei Enoeda’s course at Crystal Place Norman would train under Sensei Kase, the karate sensei was teaching was so advanced it went right over Norman’s head! All he wanted to do was fight!
Until one day Steve Cattle invited Norman to train on an advance course in Alicante, Spain (1990) with Sensei Kase, Norman says about the course, “I can tell you this much, I have never been so lost when on the dojo floor, the karate Sensei Kase was teaching was absolutely fantastic”. From that day onwards he has left competition far behind and started to open a new future on his Shotokan Karate (Kase-Ha System).
Norman left the KUGB after twenty years training and in 1990 joined the English Shotokan Academy and followed the system of Sensei Kase.
Norman has trained / followed the teachings of the following Sensei:
– Mr. Walter Legg (Deceased);
– Sensei Asano;
– Mr. Bob Rhodes;
– Mr. Steve Cattle (1947-1995 Deceased);
– Sensei Keinosuke Enoeda (Deceased);
– Mr. Paul Coleman (Goju Ryu);
– Sensei Minoru Kanetsuka (Aikido);
– Sensei Taiji Kase (1929-2004 Deceased);
– Mr. Dirk Heene
– Mr. Velibor Dimitrijevic.
Norman and Son (Joe) doing a ‘Super’ clean at Sensei Funakoshi memorial, Kanakura, Japan