Wrekin Shotokan Karate Club

Tony's Training History

Nobuaki Kanazawa, Tony Atherden and Hirokazu Kanazawa


Tony was awarded the title 'Renshi' by Kancho on the 10th May 2009 although presented to him by kancho on 10th May, the diploma was dated 26th March 2009, his 60th Birthday!

Renshi which is one of three recognised titles issued by the Shogo; the other two being ‘Kyoshi’ and ‘Hanshi’ respectively.  練士, 'Renshi' is an official title in Japanese society, which originated in the samurai warrior class, and means a 'Polished Master' of a particular martial art (see Renshi info page).

Tony's karate training history is somewhat chequered but has always been rooted in Shotokan, with a little Wado Ryu on the side.

Tony actually started training in 1960 in Judo at the age of 10, as a member of the British Judo Council (chief instructor Otani sensei); continued Judo training for about 10 years (overlapping some 7 years with karate) and reached black-belt level. He also achieved kyu grades in Aikido, and tried out kendo at about the same time, but never took a kendo grading.  

He started Karate training in 1963 at Kagami Shin Budokan, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, UK. The club instructor was John Shaw, then a 3rd Dan Judo and Kendo who sadly passed away in 2004. John Lovatt taught the Karate, he was 3rd Kyu at the time, is now 5th Dan Renshi awarded by Butokukai, Kyoto and is now the UK chief instructor for Eishin Ryu. They were affiliated to the British Karate Council (Kenshiro Abbe, 8th Dan Judo), practicing a JKA type Shotokan. They then affiliated to Karate-do Shotokai, with Mitsusuke Harada 5th Dan, a direct student of Gichin Funakoshi. Tony graded to 6th kyu in 1966 under Harada sensei.

Tony then went to Manchester University in 1967, where he was a founder member of the University's Shotokan Karate Club, affiliated to KUGB (Karate Union of Great Britain), once again practicing mainstream JKA Shotokan. Instructors included Andy Sherry and Bobby Poynton, Keinosuke Enoeda and occasionally Hirokazu Kanazawa. He was captain of the University Karate Club from 1968 to 1971 (he thinks!). He graded to 1st Kyu under Keinosuke Enoeda 8th Dan, Chief Instructor to KUGB.

Tony then stopped training for a while following a series of injuries, but eventually got back into it, as they say!

Tony then started the Manchester Civil Service Karate Club in 1977. The club affiliated to SKI (GB) and SKIF, under Shiro Asano, 7th Dan (Now 9th Dan) and kancho Hirokazu Kanazawa, 10th Dan. He graded to Shodan under Asano sensei in 1979.

In 1981 Tony changed jobs and moved to Telford in Shropshire, where he started a small club at Moreton Village Hall, near Newport, Shropshire. Shotokan Karate has returned to Moreton with friends of his, Wayne Butler and Ian Rogers, both now 3rd Dans (A.M.A.), running the club there.

About 1984, Tony started the Telford Civil Service Karate Club based at the Racquet and Fitness Centre in Telford, along with his friend Chris Rogers. In 1987 he was seconded by his then employer (the Government) to join the Programming Research Group at Oxford University Computing Lab. He was a member of Wolfson College, Oxford. While in Oxford he trained with the Oxford University Karate Club, in Karate-do Ryobu-kai. Tony was awarded his Master of Science degree from Oxford University, MSc (Oxon), on 26th November 1988.

While Tony was in Oxford, the Telford club had switched to Wado Ryu, with his friend Chris Rogers running it under the guidance of Frank Johnson, 4th Dan Wado. (Tony sends his thanks to Chris Rogers 2nd Dan, Frank Johnson 4th Dan and Tatsuo Suzuki hanshi, 8th Dan for his Wado Ryu experience).

Tony returned to Shropshire to take up post at Wolverhampton University as a Senior Lecturer in Computer Science and now teaches Shotokan Karate at Wrekin College, in Wellington, Telford Shropshire, setting the club up in 1994. He graded to 2nd Dan in the UK and 3rd Dan in Japan. He was graded directly by kancho Hirokazu Kanazawa . In November 2000 Tony was graded to 4th Dan, again directly by kancho Hirokazu Kanazawa , during his November 2000 visit to the UK.

At the 9th SKIF World Championships held in Japan at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium (the 'Taikukan') in November 2006 Tony was graded to 5th Dan, again directly by Kancho Hirokazu Kanazawa 10th Dan.

At the 2012 11th SKIF World Championships held at the Olympic Park in Sydney Australia, Tony achieved fourth place in the Vets 60+ kata, Bronze in the vets 60+ Kumite and Silver in the Vets team kata.

Following the International Grading Examination at the end of the World Championships Tony was promoted to 6th Dan by Kanazawa sensei 10th Dan

6th Dan being awarded by Kancho Kanazawa

Tony was Appointed Director of SKIF Europe in 2012



Tony Atherden

6th Dan Renshi

Karate Qualifications:

1969   1st Kyu KUGB/JKA
1979   1st  Dan SKI(GB)
1994   2nd Dan SKIF Japan
1996   3rd Dan SKIF Japan
2000   4th Dan SKIF Japan
2006   5th Dan SKIF Japan
2009   Awarded title ‘Renshi’, SKIF Japan

2012 6th Dan SKIF Japan

2012 Appointed Director of SKIF Europe

Note: Tony is also 1st Dan Judo, awarded in the late ‘60s by Otani sensei, British Judo Council.


Club Captain, Manchester University Karate Club (1968-70)

SKIF(Japan) UK Branch Technical Committee Member.

SKIF Yudansha-Kai member (International Black-belt Instructors Group).

SKKIF Representative to the English Karate Governing Body (EKGB) – no longer extant.

SKIF UK Team Manager/Coach - Shotokan Karate World Championships: Bali Indonesia (2000), Durban South Africa (2003), Tokyo Japan (2006).

Telford and Wrekin Council Combat Sports and Martial Arts Advisory Group (member).
Competition Achievements:

Several medals at National level (shotokan) over the years, kata and kumite; plus ‘recently’:

European shotokan karate championships, Sheffield, 1998: bronze medal, veterans Kata.
UK Squad member, SKIF shotokan karate world championships:

, Italy 1997: not placed.

, Indonesia 2000: bronze medal, veterans’ individual kumite.

, South Africa 2003: 4th place, yakusoku kumite; personal coach to Women’s Kata gold medallist.

, Japan 2006: not placed.

, Greece 2009: silver medal, veterans Team Kata; Bronze medal, veterans’ individual kumite.

Sydney Australia, 11th SKIF World Championships Bronze in the Vets 60+ Kumite and Silver in the Vets team kata. Fouth place was achieved in Vets 60+ kata

Relevant Qualifications:

Shido-in: Qualified Karate Instructor and Grading Examiner, SKIF Japan.

EKGB Qualified Instructor/coach, Shotokan Karate.
EKGB Qualified Coaching Assessor, Karate.

Telford and Wrekin Council approved coach and officiate, Japanese Shotokan Karate

Sports First Aid certificate, St. Johns Ambulance.

(Past & Present)

John Lovett (BKC/JKS)
Andy Sherry (KUGB/JKA)
Bob Pointon (KUGB/JKA)
Roger Carpenter (SKIF)
Richard Burns (SKIF)
Frank Johnson (Karate-do Wado Ryu)

Masatoshi Nakayama (deceased), JKA
Hirokazu Kanazawa, SKIF - Kancho
Keinosuke Enoeda (deceased) KUGB/JKA
Mitsusuke Harada, Japan Karate-do Shotokai
Shiro Asano, SKI(GB)
Manabu Murakami, SKIF
Nobuaki Kanazawa, SKIF
Ryusho Suzuki, SKIF
Daizo Kanazawa, SKIF
Norifumi Ohigashi, SKIF






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