The English Shotokan Academy was founded in 1991 by Sensei Steve Cattle (6th Dan), a highly respected British Karate-ka and student of Sensei Taiji Kase.
Steve started Martial Arts at the age of 12, studying Judo in York, reaching the grade of 2nd Dan and representing Britain in Japan at the World Student Judo Games. In 1962 he began training in Shotokan Karate and went on to establish a remarkable career, becoming British Champion and a member of the British team for almost 25 years. He was renowned for his phenomenal speed, superb timing and outstanding fighting spirit. But it was Steve's in-depth study of Karate kata that made him a bunkai (application) expert. As Steve put it, the movements in kata are the heart and soul of karate.
Sensei Cattle was one of Britain's most respected and influential Karateka. His no-nonsense approach won him the admiration and loyalty of all those who had the privilege to train with him.
Rob Willis began training in Shotokan Karate under Steve Cattle at Southport in 1979 and continued to train with him until his tragic death in 1995. When Steve set up the ESA his Instructors and friends automatically followed him into the new Association, as did the Southport club, and through Steve the members began to develop further their understanding of Karate. Steve also founded the Butokukai of Great Britain and through this umbrella Association his students were introduced to other outstanding Instructors, including Sensei Derek Ridgway, 6th Dan (Shito Ryu Karate-do), and Sensei Julian Meade, 6th Dan (Yushinkai Karate and Ryukyu Kobujitsu weaponry), both of whom have since taught on courses run by the West Lancs Academy.
In 1998 Rob Willis, by now graded 3rd Dan, was approached to open a new dojo in Southport and by April the following year the West Lancs Academy was an affiliated ESA club. Since then the club has grown steadily and established itself as a strong base for Shotokan Karate in the area, following the teachings of Sensei Cattle and Sensei Kase. The club has gone on to produce numerous knowledgeable and capable karateka, who have achieved outstanding success in respect of gradings and tournament results, but who also continue to preserve the technical standards and principles set by Sensei Cattle.
Seniors from the original Southport dojo have helped build this success, including Gordon Galley and Adam Lennon, both of whom have been significant members at the Academy. The club has welcomed all dedicated karateka, regardless of style or affiliation and actively encourages its members to attend courses in order to further their development. Good links are still maintained with Sensei Alan Hughes at the original Southport Karate Club, along with other local clubs such as the Southport Miyagi Goju Ryu. Ultimately the West Lancs Academy is about karate, not politics or ego.
West Lancs Academy
Siite Curator. Joy Patel