British Wadokai Southwest is a friendly and traditional Wado-Ryu Karate organisation providing a very high standard of support, guidance and benefits to all students and clubs in regional membership. The British WadokaiKarate-do Federation was formed under the direction of Gary Swift Hanshi in May 2007, replacing the Domei Karate-do Wadokai (DKW), which in turn was founded in 1976, under the United Kingdom Karate-do Wadokai (UKKW).
British Wadokai has foundations that were established in 1973, therefore, the direct unbroken lineage of British Wadokai extends over many years. The Kyu grade syllabus has remained virtually unchanged since the first introduction of Wado into the UK by Suzuki Tatsuo 8th Dan Hanshi in 1963 (this is the basis and foundation of British Wadokai). All Tai-Sabaki has remained intact, including Sanbon-gumite, Ohyo-gumite, and Kihon-gumite, Kata etc. All these aspects are taught and promoted strongly within all British Wadokai Dojo through Standardisation Courses.
British Wadokai for Individuals. We welcome individuals wishing to train with us - whether you are beginner or more experienced. Please contact us to find a club near you. These clubs provide the opportunity to attend many specialist training courses held by highly respected instructors and enter more competitions, should you wish to compete.
For the most able and committed there is the chance to join the British Wadokai Squad and compete nationally.
British Wadokai for Clubs & Associations. British Wadokai warmly welcomes enquiries from clubs and associations looking for a positive and genuinely supportive federation to affiliate to. BWK adopts and implements strict vetting procedures when considering applications for new memberships or club affiliation. We have outlined much of our key information on this website. To view our syllabus and club policies please visit the 'downloads' page.
Please consider these documents prior to membership application. For further details or information please contact Gary Swift Kyoshi. Activity specific valid enhanced Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) Certification is one of our 'minimum requirements' of membership to BWK. For reasons of safeguarding this is vigorously enforced throughout all BWK clubs & Associations. BWK proactively ensures that all members are aware of, understand and comply with Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) Legislation and legal requirements. To facilitate this British Wadokai offers online disclosure facilities for BWK Instructors, Administration Officers and Volunteers.
Gary Swift Kyoshi, a traditional Budoka since 1966, describes the lineage of British Wadokai and the philosophy behind it.
Sensei Gary Swift 8th Dan
Wadoryu Karate was created in 1924 and introduced into the UK by Suzuki Tatsuo Hanshi in 1963, under the direct guidance of Ohtsuka Hironori Meijin (Founder of Wadoryu Karate). Suzuki Sensei was Ohtsuka Meijin’s most senior Instructor and was given the responsibility of setting up Wado under the Japanese Karate Federation throughout the whole of Europe; the forerunner to the Federation of European Wadokai (FEW).
The organisation that Suzuki Hanshi founded in the UK, upon his return in 1965, was first known as the United Kingdom Karate-do Federation (UKKF), later to be known as the United Kingdom Karate-do Wadokai (UKKW). This first Wado was still guided and maintained by Ohtsuka Meijin’s own ‘authentic’ Wado karate-do at that time.
My own Wado was a result of this direct lineage from Ohtsuka Meijin through Suzuki Hanshi, and has never been influenced by any other Wado outside of the UKKW - at the time I knew of no other Wado. In 1976, during the visit from Ohtsuka Meijin to England, I trained under Ohtsuka Meijin and attempted to attend all the courses that he conducted while he was over here. Many of the techniques I learnt from him ‘first hand’ have never been changed or altered. The concept of Nagashizuki and many of the Kihon-gumite have been ingrained into me from that visit. My 4th Kyu grading was conducted by Ohtsuka Meijin, and I am privileged and honoured to have his signature still on my UKKF licence from that day.
In 1982 Ohtsuka Meijin passed away, and left behind a great legacy for all of us to follow. However, following his passing, there was split after split within the Wado fraternity and Wado took on many different directions. Soon after this, Wado had another big split, this time with the parting of Suzuki Hanshi (and other Japanese Instructors) from what was then, and now, the Wado Renmei.
In British Wadokai we still train with the original syllabus, which also maintains the Sanbon-gumite, which are very much misunderstood today; in many Wado schools they have even been removed completely, which is such a shame as they can reflect so much of the original Ju-Jutsu aspects and principles within them (continual contact, distancing, entering, etc.). The Ohyo-gumite, which encourages aspects of free-fighting; another very important aspect of all Wado. Again, these are often misunderstood and have been taken out by many Wado Schools. However, saying this, some schools have replaced the original Ohyo-gumite with some more up-to-date competition versions, which also reflect some of these similar concepts within them.
I have been very privileged and fortunate to have learnt so much from the many Japanese Wado Instructors throughout my time, and I have added to the training many new aspects, such as Tanto-dori, Idori, Muto-dori, etc.
British Wadokai is what it is, ‘British Wadokai’ - no more, no less; this is from where the Wado of today has evolved.
“A flower will not bloom unless it has the roots to support it.” Gary E Swift.
Historic (under construction)
Tatsuo Suzuki Hanshi UKKF/UKKW Circa 1970-1989.
Kuniaki Sakagami Honbucho Wadokai England Circa 2000-2008
Japanese Karate Federation - Wadokai 2007-Present
British Wadokai 2008-Present
International Wado Federation 2011-Present
Mawashigeri Jodan (Circa 1980) - Gary Swift Hanshi
GE Swift Hanshi (Circa 1978)
GE Swift Hanshi with Kuniaki Sakagami 7th Dan Honbucho
Maegeri Chudan (Circa 1980) - Gary Swift Hanshi
Ushirogeri (Circa 1977) - Gary Swift Hanshi
GE Swift Hanshi with Keiji Tomiyama Shihan (circa 1985)
Yoko-tobi-geri (Circa 1982) - James Charnuad Godan
Training with Sensei Suzuki and Sensei Shiomitsu (Circa 1989). One of the last courses where they trained together.
GE Swift Hanshi with Toru Takamizawa Kyoshi (circa. 1995)