Rising Sun Karate Association

Mike Fraser (7th Dan) - Chief Instructor

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I have practiced Karate for over 35 years and in that time have seen many changes both good and bad on the national and international scene. Rising Sun Karate Association is one of few things that has stayed consistent throughout those times, mainly due to the superb leadership of Sensei Tommy Kwan. The list of names that have progressed through his ranks are too many to mention. A list of which I am proud to say I am part of.

I am one of Sensei Kwan's longest training members/instructors and as a mentor he is an excellent example to any new instructor of what Karate leadership and Karate teachings should be. The ethos behind my teaching is strong repetitive Kihon (basic Karate training) which is the backbone to all basic and advanced Karate combinations. Without that there is no foundation to build upon. Self respect and respect for your fellow Karateka, discipline and hard training are all part of what makes for a good Senior grade and Dan grade.

Kata embodies all these methods of thought and training and as I tell all of my students, perfection should be your long term goal, which all Karate students must achieve.

The best part of being a Senior Instructor in Rising Sun, especially on our Instructors courses, is to look around at your fellow Karateka as they all strive for that perfection ….its a natural high.

I would also like to thank Wes Thomas who I have been friends with for many many years. Our friendship and mutual respect both in and outside the dojo has moulded us both personally and professionally …Thanks Wes.

Sensei Kwan thank you for your years of guidance and professional input into my Karate career. I know without you none of this would have been possible …Thank you Sensei

1st Dan black belt.

2nd Dan black belt.

3rd Dan black belt Senior Instructor status and grading examiner.

Level 2 NVQ Karate instruction.

4th Dan black belt.

5th Dan black belt and long term service award to Rising Sun.

6th Dan black belt.

7th Dan black belt.

Throughout these years I have actively competed, coached and refereed at many competitions resulting in many titles in Kata and Kumite and now pass on my experience to others to help them to develop life skills of their own.

Hugh Johnson (5th Dan) - Assistant Chief Instructor

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I started training with RSKA in 1990 and to say I was hooked would be an understatement. It wasn’t long before I was training at several RSKA Dojos a week . I have been with RSKA for over 25 years and I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to train under Sensei Kwan for those first 25 years. I still get a buzz seeing beginners go from white belt to black and beyond.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many instructors and friends I have trained with over the years.

Shodan (1st Dan) and qualified Instructor

Nidan (2nd Dan)

Sandan (3rd Dan) and qualified Senior Instructor

Yondan (4th Dan)

Godan (5th Dan)

Phil Briscall (5th Dan) - Assistant Chief Instructor

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I thought about beginning training in 1995 having first watched my son Thomas who had already begun training a couple of weeks earlier. At first I just used the training for keep fit, but as Thomas and I progressed through the grades I started to realise that I was getting much more out of it.

Sensei Kwan is a superb martial arts instructor and treats everybody with respect and quickly gained my respect, even as an intermediate grade I was asked to assist in class and take warm ups etc which really gave me a buzz.

Having become a senior grade I enrolled on the trainee instructor courses and I was hooked!!

1st Dan black and qualified instructor

2nd Dan black belt

3rd Dan black belt, Senior instructor and grading examiner

4th Dan black belt

5th Dan black belt

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the instructors who have helped out with Thomas and I over the years but especially Sensei Kwan who has inspired us over the 16 years of our training.

Mohammed Saeed (5th Dan) - Senior Instructor

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My introduction to Martial Arts came about in the early eighties when I joined a local Judo club in Bury. I trained there for about 6 months. In 1985, upon going to the University of Manchester, I joined their karate club where I began to train twice weekly during term time. The highlight used to be an end of term weekend course and grading by one of the top Japanese Karate Masters in the UK at the time. In fact my very first ever karate grading was with the renowned Wadu Ryu Master Mr.Tatsuo Suzuki, the then Head of Wadu Ryu in England. After University, my first job took me down to East Midlands where I joined a local Kung Fu/Kick Boxing club. I trained there for about 18 months. I came back to Manchester in early nineties. Upon return I joined Master Toddy’s gym in Newton Street, Manchester where I trained for about two and a half years, learning Thai Boxing and Taekwondo.

I joined Rising Sun Karate in 1995 and have been with them ever since. My record of achievement with rising Sun has been as follows:

First Dan Black Belt

Achieved Qualified Instructor status

Second Dan Black Belt

Third Dan Black Belt

Promoted to Senior Instructor

Fourth Dan Black Belt

Fifth Dan Black Belt

Joining Rising Sun has been one of the best decisions I have made- It is a well run, family friendly club, and Sensei Kwan is an excellent teacher. Both of my sons have been part of Rising Sun family. One of my ambitions is to see them get to Black Belt standard, hopefully soon.

Apart from fighting skills, karate teaches you the virtues of patience, perseverance and self discipline. I also feel karate is about developing yourself by continuous learning and sharing of knowledge. After so many years of training, I feel there is still a lot to learn and to share.

Thomas Briscall (5th Dan) - Senior Instructor

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I started training in 1994 when I was 4 years old. At the age of 8 I became the youngest 1st Dan Black Belt in our association’s history. In 2004 I successfully graded for my 2nd Dan Black Belt and was also given the honour of being student of the year. I achieved my 3rd Dan Black Belt in 2008. At the age of 21, in 2011, I was officially confirmed as a Senior Instructor.

I am very proud of all my achievements within Rising Sun and I also know that none would have been possible without the many friends I have trained with over the years. Thank you to anyone who has taught, trained with or helped me in some way throughout the years. Also a big thank you to Sensei Kwan for teaching and inspiring me over these past 16 or so years.

And finally a big thank you also to Sensei Phil Briscall (my dad) who has been there through all the gradings and lessons etc and has always supported me through the past 21 years, both inside and outside the Dojo.

Nigel Smith (5th Dan) - Senior Instructor

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After practicing Taekwondo as a youngster, I started training in Shukokai Karate with Rising Sun in 1994. Having achieved 1st Dan black belt in 1999 I set my targets on kata competition, and after finishing outside the medal positions in some early competitions I managed to medal in a number of competitions between 2001 and 2005. A knee injury while training for my 3rd Dan in 2005 put an end to further competition. After surgery in 2005 and 2006 I returned to training in 2007 although a number of upper limb injuries restricted my training. In November 2008 I finally achieved 3rd Dan which remains my most memorable moment in karate.

Words of advice:

• Always have an adequate warm up and cool down when training, particularly as you get older.

• Work hard and persevere – it will provide rewards

Key competition achievements:

AMA North west Open, 2001 - 3rd place Kata

Northern Open 2002 - 1st place Kata

Northern Open Classic, 2004 - 1st place Kata

Northern Open Classic, 2005 - 3rd Place Kata

Mike Windsor (4th Dan) - Senior Instructor

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I began training at Rising Sun in 1999. The idea of karate had never appealed to me until I watched a training session after my eldest daughter (Michelle) had shown an interest in learning karate. My first training session had me hooked, looking down the line at the black belts I remember thinking... "I will never be that good!"..., 4 years of dedication and hard work later, I achieved the dream & became a Rising Sun Dan Grade. An accolade that I am very proud of.

Rising Sun Karate Association is a family orientated club. Both my daughters, Michelle and Abigail, have gained their 2nd Dan Black Belts under the watchful eye of Sensei Kwan. They are extremely proud of their association with Rising Sun and are secure in the knowledge that they have gained one of the hardest Black Belts of any association. Both have gained confidence and abilities that will help them throughout adulthood.

Karate really has taken over my life and it has become an ethos during my daily routine. I am always eager to learn through training, reading and studying. Karate is a way of life, you get back what you put in & the more paths that you take, the more doors open.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the instructors at Rising Sun for taking the time to train me so professionally and for taking me on a wonderful journey of self discovery.

Helen Jones (3rd Dan) - Senior Instructor

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I first started karate in January 1980 aged 11, training at the Stretford Wado Ryu Club. I absolutely loved it. I was very fortunate to be regularly graded by the late Prof. Tatsuo Suzuki and attended several of his Winter and Summer Courses, which were very intense but extremely enjoyable.

Having trained for six and a half years and gaining my 1st Kyu grade I received the sad news our club was closing. I did not want to change styles and unfortunately the nearest Wado Ryu Club was impossible for me to travel to at the time. However, I continued to participate in various sports and always tried to keep up a good level of general fitness.

Many years later in January 2006 my interest in karate was rekindled after I started taking my son and his friend to the Swinton Rising Sun Club. The Shukokai style seemed very similar to the Wado Ryu style and I could not resist joining in myself. I am happy to say I have never looked back.

During my time at the Swinton Rising Sun Club I have received first class tuition from Sensei Fraser and with his guidance I passed my 1st Dan in November 2009.

In February 2013 I was very proud to qualify as a Rising Sun Instructor and feel privileged to be part of such a friendly and welcoming association.

I would like to thank all the Rising Sun Instructors who have helped and advised me along the way especially Sensei Fraser and Sensei Kwan.

Shahbaz Farhangi-Sabet (2nd Dan) - Qualified Instructor

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I first started Karate in the mid 1980’s when I used to take my son to the Rising Sun club. Our attendance was sporadic and after two or three years we stopped going. At the age of 49 and due to health reasons (high cholesterol) I decided I needed to take some action to keep fit.

Having tried numerous gyms and not feeling motivated, I opted to try Karate once more. One of the major factors that kept me going was the group training motivation. In Karate, differently from gyms, you work in groups encouraging each other.

When I first started training I had no intention or illusions of reaching black belt. However, as my fitness levels improved and my enjoyment of the sport increased, my goals changed from the purely health motives to a deeper interest in the martial arts. At the age of 54, I obtained my 1st Dan grade black belt.

Achieving a black belt was extremely challenging and I thought I would never be able to better this level. Seven years later, I took the decision that I wanted to push myself harder. Finally, in 2011 after eight months of intense training and an incredibly difficult grading, I successfully attained my 2nd Dan grade at the age of 61 and hence becoming the oldest black belt 2nd Dan in the association. Earlier in the same year, I passed my instructor examinations.

Most people start the martial arts at an early age, whereas I began quite late on. Many people feel Karate is only suitable for younger people and not an appropriate form of exercise for the more mature person looking to improve health and fitness. I am a real example that anybody can start Karate at any age and fitness condition, because you develop and progress at your own pace. I would encourage anyone of any age to consider Karate as a safe and suitable form of exercise to improve their health and fitness levels.

David Burton (2nd Dan) - Qualified Instructor

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To say I was apprehensive about attending Karate lessons as a young boy in 1974 is an understatement, but encouraged to do so by my dad I trained under the guidance of Sensei Kwan initially at the Heaton Park Workingmen's club on Bury Old Road, then Prestwich Adult Centre on Church Lane. This was prior to the club moving to Manchester Road Community Centre. Gradings at that time were all day affairs for junior grades and they took place at "Kwan's Oriental World Karate Club" in Leigh. My grading examiner was Sensei Roy Stanhope.

Sadly I didn't make it to Black Belt as a boy, but when my daughter Megan showed an interest in Martial Arts in January 2007, I took her down to the Stand Lane dojo to speak to Sensei Kwan who immediately welcomed us both in to the association. Restarting as a beginner and going through the grades with Megan proved a great thrill and we shared our ups and downs on our way to gaining our 1st Dan Black Belts in May and November 2010 respectively.

The awarding of my 1st Dan was dedicated to my dad, who sadly passed away just a week after my successful grading in May 2010. Dad always said I was capable of achieving it and placed great importance in mutual respect and being able to defend one's self.

In 2013 I qualified as an R.S.K.A. instructor.

In 2013 I successfully graded for my 2nd Dan.

In 2015 I qualified as a Level 2 (Gym) Fitness Instructor at Bury College.

I would like to thank all the instructors who have helped me in my training over the years, but especially Sensei Kwan for his time and patience in helping me attain a Black Belt.

If you are contemplating learning the art of Karate taught the traditional way, then you will be made most welcome at Rising Sun. However, there are no short cuts and you will only gain from Karate what you are prepared to put in.

Megan Burton (2nd Dan) - Qualified Instructor

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I started Karate training at Radcliffe in January 2007 after being fascinated by Martial Arts and watching Disney’s “Mulan” as a young child. My Dad and I started together as he had trained previously with Rising Sun at a younger age.

Under the instruction of Sensei Kwan, we both achieved our 1st Dan Black Belts in 2010, followed by our 2nd Dan’s in November 2013. Learning karate under Sensei Kwan has been throughly rewarding. It has helped me in all aspects of my life by increasing my confidence, awareness and my physical fitness.

Along the way I competed in the 2009 UK Shukokai Championships and various Inter-Club competitions, each time in the Kata category. My best performance was achieving sliver in the Inter-Club.

I have also been a keen student of Muay Thai and Boxing.

I’d like to thank Sensei Kwan, all of the Instructors and everyone at R.S.K.A. who have been generous with their time, help and advice. And of course, thanks to my Dad who introduced me to Karate and provided the additional motivation to carry on.

Nathan Domnitz (2nd Dan) - Qualified Instructor

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Helen Thomas (2nd Dan) - Qualified Instructor

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I began my Karate experience in 2010 with Freestyle training, which focused on Makiwara, Kumite and women's self defence. Like many adult beginners I started Karate because my children did; participation was much more fun than watching!

In 2012 I decided to follow a more traditional Shukokai Karate path and with my children joined the RSKA, training in Kion, Kumite and Kata together with self defence and fitness. I have since competed at Regional level in Kumite (AMA Silver medal) and locally in Kata (Silver medal).

It takes time and dedication to reach the high level of technical skill and stamina needed to pass a Dan grading; but I firmly believe we all have the potential to succeed through practice and commitment to the sport and art of Karate. I was extremely proud to be awarded my First Dan in May 2016, and then to pass my Instructors qualification in early 2017. I am now involved with extending the RSKA coaching programme for younger children (aged 4 to 10 years) and also developing Self Defence classes for women and girls.

I could not have achieved any of this without the support, patience and expertise of the RSKA instructors both past and present; and I am very grateful to them all, and also to my fellow Karate-ka who keep me smiling.

Lesley Domnitz (1st Dan) - Qualified Instructor

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