About the Club
We don't have large numbers of students so with 3 instructors on the mat the students get more attention. We do not run the club for financial gains, we do it because we enjoy it and we make the classes fun but we do instil good discipline and etiquette. We stress that students must respect themselves and each other and that the techniques we teach are for Self-defence only.
South of England Ju-Jitsu Kai have been keen supporters of the Bob and Diane Bridges Memorial Camp which is held at Woolacoombe Bay, Devon every May. It is an opportunity for Martial Artists from all over the country to train in different arts. We have been teaching at every camp since it started 25yrs ago. It was started by Sensei Bob Bridges and his Wife Diane from Bristol Bushido. These camps were always well attended and it wasn't unusual to have over 100 students on each session, although numbers over the years have diminished but not the enthusiasm from instructors and students. Sadly Bob became ill and handed the reigns over to another instructor. Bob passed away on 17th March 2004 and his widow Diane returned to the camp each year as guest of honour. Sadly Diane passed away on 5th May 2010 but the camp is still organised in their honour.
On August 20th 1985 I opened my own club at the Shinboku Centre in Portsmouth, as part of the Zen Judo ju-Jitsu Ryu (sensei Bill Heffer). In Early 1986 we moved to St Francis church hall, Portsmouth, were numbers grew to 40+ juniors and 20+ seniors. As a club we have held several activities to raise sponsorship for local charities and to raise funds for equipment and mats for the club.
Sensei John Brown - 7th Dan
I started training in 1976 studying Wado Ryu Karate and after 4 years I was awarded my 1st Dan. I trained with some of the best Karate-Ka, including Sensei's T. Suzuki, Shimitsu, Yamanashi and Kobyashi. I had the honour of also training with Sensei Enoeda, who was the chief instructor of the K.U.G.B (shotokan). I have always been keen to train with a variety of instructors from different styles systems, including Dan Innosanto (jeet kun do),Prof Wally Jay (small circle ju-jitsu), Master Sken(thai boxing) Brian jacks (judo).
In 1981 the Japanese navy visited Portsmouth and they demonstrated many different Martial Arts. A competition was organised between their judo players a local club, can't remember who won but it was a great demonstration of judo techniques. Also on the bill was a demo team from The World Ju-Jitsu Association. The team was led by Sensei John Steadman from Liverpool. The demo was spectacular, skill full and full of scouse humour. From that moment I knew I wanted to study Ju-Jitsu. Although I enjoyed my Karate I wanted the contact and the all-round practical self-defence that Ju-Jitsu offered. There was so much variety with, throws, locks, strangles/chokes, weapons restraining holds. The syllabus was very complex and comprehensive.
I found a club in Portsmouth called Zen Judo-ju-jitsu Ryu. The instructor was K Jones. I also attended classes at the chief instructors, Sensei Bill Heffer's club in Gosport. I was awarded my 1st Dan black belt after a gruelling 6hr grading. That was probably the hardest grading I've ever taken. Sensei Bill took no prisoners, he demanded and got the best out of all his students, although he was always fair and approachable. He has since passed away but his legacy lives on.
In 1986 the world games were being held in Docklands, London. There were regional competitions held to find the best fighters to represent England at the games. I competed in the London south East Midlands regional. I won gold in the heavy weight division. I then went on to compete it the nationals and won gold. I had earnt my place in the England squad and was invited to the England training camp in Birmingham. These training sessions were held monthly for 6 months and we were coached by the England team Manager Sensei Tom Baldwin. I formed an instant respect for Tom; he was a larger than life character and a true warrior, the sort of guy you want on your side in a row. After the first 3 sessions Tom took me to one side and asked me if I would lead the England team as Captain. What an honour, I was so proud to accept and promised Tom that I wouldn't let him or the team down. At the games the England team won silver, losing to Canada in a close fought final. I then competed in the individual competition and got to the final against a Canadian. It went to extra time and then sudden death and I won the silver. One of the other highlights of that weekend was training with Prof Wally Jay. He demonstrated some techniques on me and I was amazed at how much control and pain he could inflict with so little effort. I still teach his principle of small circle ju-jitsu to this day.
In 1988 I was invited by Sensei Tom Baldwin who was by now my instructor to attend several seminars in Canada America. A small group of us including Tom's son Dean, fromn the World British Federation of Martial Arts, spent 2 weeks near Niagara Falls. We taught a variety of students and were invited to teach at Gary Costanza's dojo in New York State and this was filmed by channel 7 News, which we watched back in a local bar.
After returning from Canada I was approached by the Amateur Martial Arts Association and told I was selected to represent England as Captain at the world games in Brisbane Australia. After months of fund raising and the sponsorship of friends, family and local businesses I managed to raise the funds needed. The games turned out to be a repeat of the 1986 games, 2 silver medals again.
I retired from competition after the 1988 games (to old at 31) to concentrate on teaching and passing on my knowledge and experience.
Sensei Joe Brown - 3rd Dan
I started training at the age of 6 but have earlier memories of attending local events with the South of England Ju-Jitsu Kai. I gained my black belt at the age of 18, in 1999 and was awarded my 2nd Dan in 2007. I recieved my 3rd Dan in May 2014 and it was a privilaige to accept it from Sensei Norman Wall and Sifu Bob Jones.
Having trained in many different Martial Arts, I have a great respect for them all but what I like most about Ju-Jitsu is the variety. To learn the kicking and punching commonly associated with Karate and the throwing, pinning, locks and chokes associated with Judo really does make it an effective self-defence system.
I like to teach techniques that require the least amount of effort but cause maximum damage. This means having a vast knowledge of how the body reacts and can be manouvered so the opponent is most vulnerable.
Most of the techniques we practice are all about practibilty and how useful they would be on the street, where your attacker is not sticking to a set of rules. It's this mentality we have when we are training.
Sensei Graham Rice - 2nd Dan