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Thread: Old Liverpool Jujutsu

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    Default Old Liverpool Jujutsu

    Hope this is the right forum, (and I realise that the subject of early Jujutsu in Liverpool has been touched on elsewhere - Jack Britten, Morris, Clarke etc) but I wonder if someone can help with some information about an early Jujutsu club in Liverpool.

    I'd like to know if this was a Jujutsu Ryu or whether it was 'old style' Judo:

    My great uncle Bill Nelson started learning Jujutsu after World War II finished (he had been a seaman in the Merchant Navy and had some martial arts experience from then). He initially studied with a "Mr Skyner" at Arnott Street School (which he describes as in Bootle but I think it's nearer Everton Valley or Walton). He then, in around 1947 studied at another club, where he can't remember the name of the teacher.

    He is sure that the club was a Jujutsu school rather than a Judo club although he was given one of Jigoro Kano's books by his teacher.

    He achieved black belt which suggests it was not a Koryu.

    I asked if he had his license and he said: "We didn't have licenses back then".

    I have seen on another forum somebody mention a Jujutsu teacher called "Professor Gerry Skyner" from Liverpool, so I'm fairly sure this is the same man (I'd be surprised if there were many Skyners teaching Jujutsu in the same time in the same town - unless they were related).

    Can anybody help?

    Thanks
    Simon
    Simon Keegan 4th Dan
    www.bushinkai.org.uk

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    Default correction

    Apologies - I got it mixed up (and I don't know how to edit)

    The first Jujutsu school was one in Liverpool with Mr Skyner, the second was in Arnott street school, where he can't remember the name of the teacher,

    Thanks
    Simon
    Simon Keegan 4th Dan
    www.bushinkai.org.uk

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    Hi Simon,

    I cannot be of direct help but there is a book "beginning jujutsu" by James Shortt. It was written in the '70's but there might be a reprint rather recently. Mr. Shortt has done quite some research on the history of jujutsu in the UK. Maybe you can find some info there.

    best,

    Johan Smits

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    Default Thanks

    Thanks, I do have that book actually and I do find it a good source. But the elusive Mr Skyner isn't mentioned.
    Simon Keegan 4th Dan
    www.bushinkai.org.uk

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    Default

    Have you checked the digital archives of the Liverpool papers? London Times and The Scotsman both have extensive pay-per-view archives that beat looking through old microfilm by the hour. So, maybe a Liverpool paper has something similar?

    Also, if he was Merchant Marine, Public Records Office may have something.

    You probably have this, but what the heck. http://www.scottiepress.org/guestbook/gbk2004.htm

    Billy Woods
    Date: Thu Jul 29 16:27:23 CEST 2004
    Url or email: http://TOAGY@woodsw72.fsnet.co.uk
    Comments: I read John Hayes comment about St Anthony's Boy Scouts. I lived in Ambrose Place and can remember in 1943 going to St Anthony's to join the 'Cubs'. I think I went about twice and remember sitting in a circle in the schoolyard. I did not really enjoy my two visits and so I never went again and as such I never became a Scout but my older brother George was a St Anthony's Boy Scout around about 1943. I can remember the date as at this time my father was a prisioner of war in Marlag Und Milag Nord in Germany. This was a camp for Merchant Seamen. He was repatriated in 1944. Along with thinking about joining the Cubs I also thought about joining the Star ABC Boxing Club. I remember going along one night and after a sparring session with Chuck Friel who was a schoolboy champion I decided that boxing was not for me. I was however very much into football and eventually played for St Sylvester's School Football Team - being a member of the successful 1947 to 1949 teams. I also played for Liverpool Schoolboys in 1948 against Wallasey boys. In 1950 I played football for St Helens Town FC - and in 1953 I played in an Army (Para Reg) Football Team in Eygpt whilst doing my national service. In 1957 I was a member of Professor Gerry Skyner's Judo Team in Catherine Street - I was encouraged by a Stan Moran of the K&M Judo Club off Netherfield Road. Stan Moran was the youngest BJA Black Belt in England at this time (aged 19). Frank Smith was also a Black Belt in the club - readers might remember Frank in his famous cafe on the Dock Road. BILLY WOODS

    Dennis Martin also might have some leads. http://selfprotection.lightbb.com/ft...n-with-WW2.htm

    Meanwhile, since Dickie Bowen has passed on, Syd Hoare appears to have assumed the mantle of leading living recorder of British judo history. So, have you asked Mr. Hoare? Also, have you checked at Bath University, to see what is in the Bowen Collection? My guess is you could spend weeks there, reading there, and have a rollicking good time at it.
    Last edited by Joseph Svinth; 19th January 2007 at 02:11.

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    BTW, speaking of Skyners in the same breath as the Merchant Marine, a man named Ernest Skyner died subsequent to the loss of EL OCCIDENTE on April 13, 1942. The ship was a freighter sunk by U-435, north of Norway, on a Murmansk run, on April 13, 1942. The convoy number was QP-10. At the time, the ship was run by United States Line, under Panamanian registry. Skyner was chief steward, aged 49, and gave his hometown as Liverpool.

    Sources:

    http://www.usmm.org/killed/s.html , http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/s...e/el-occid.htm
    http://www.usmm.org/europe.html
    http://uboat.net/allies/merchants/1533.html
    http://www.armed-guard.com/panama.html

    Also, perhaps people with the same surname are related? If so, the telephone book might provide some leads. See, for example, http://boards.ancestry.com/surnames.....1.1.3/mb.ashx .

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    One final thing. I just looked at the British Register of Black Belts dated December 1, 1954. There is no Skyner listed. All this means, of course, is that he was not registered through the Budokwai.

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    Default Dear Joe

    Dear Joe
    Thank you so much for your messages, that's a great help, I'll go through the sites you suggested in great detail.
    You have an excellent point about the Microfilm, I used to go to William Brown Library, Liverpool a lot and use the Microfilm in researching my family tree but I never thought to look for martial arts.
    I will try and contact Mr Hoare as well.
    I assume that Mr/Professor Skyner must have been graded at least 2nd Dan before 1950 since I believe my great-uncle graded to either 1st Kyu or 1st Dan under him but maybe his style wasn't Budokwai registered.
    Thanks again, much appreciated.
    Simon
    Simon Keegan 4th Dan
    www.bushinkai.org.uk

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    Default Dear Joe

    The ancestry website is great, I notice they say "Gerald who did self defence" rather than "Jujutsu" for Mr Skyner. And Billy Woods (surely not THE Billy Woods of Judo fame) refers to him as Professor Skyner. So it begs the question whether he was an academic professor or a professor of self defence. I will also try the Liverpool Echo as you suggest.
    Simon Keegan 4th Dan
    www.bushinkai.org.uk

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    Default Dennis Martin

    Dennis Martin's quote abour Mr Skyner is great!

    "Similarly Gerry Skyner ran a respected, hard training school in Catherine Street. I heard that Skyner was recruited to teach hand-to-hand during WW-2, and only lasted one session, because, while demonstrating a counter, he smashed his "assailant" to a pulp with a steel helmet."

    Makes sense, even at 82 my uncle Bill is hard as nails! Now I know where he got it from!

    That's a small world, I'm fairly sure another uncle of mine (and I don't even have that many!) was friendly with Dennis Martin and may have done some Goju Ryu with him, I'll see if I can get a contact.
    Simon Keegan 4th Dan
    www.bushinkai.org.uk

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    Default

    Billy Woods with E.J. Harrison, Wrestling, was published during the 1920s. So, on the face of it, that Billy Woods was old enough to be the blogging Billy Woods' father, or maybe even grandfather...

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    Default Billy Woods

    Oh, I meant the Billy Woods who was Kenshiro Abbe's Uke at the Busen. But he was from London or Essex I think, not Liverpool.
    Simon Keegan 4th Dan
    www.bushinkai.org.uk

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    Default Update

    I've had a PM which I've been unable to reply to for some reason which has informed me that the style of Jujutsu that Gerry Skyner taught was HANA KA RYU.

    It does sound ever so slightly Hawaian but other than that connotation can anybody help with info about this name?
    Simon Keegan 4th Dan
    www.bushinkai.org.uk

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    Default Finally got the answer

    From: Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England) Date: December 13, 2003

    ONE of the oldest and most respected jiu-jitsu clubs in Europe celebrates its 75th anniversary this month.

    Skyners of Liverpool is holding a special reunion night for former students and instructors on Thursday, December 18.

    Founded in 1928 at 67 Mount Pleasant by Professor Gerry Skyner and his Japanese mentor,Mikonosuke Kawaishi, the college,originally called the Liverpool Jiu-Jitsu ...

    ...........................

    So there we have it. My great uncle's teacher's teacher was Mikonosuke Kawaishi. My curiosity is satisfied! I found this on Kawaishi on judo.info:

    Mikonosuke Kawaishi
    by Tony Papenfuss, PhD
    (Edited by Neil Ohlenkamp)

    Mikonosuke Kawaishi was born in Kyoto in 1899, and he died on January 30, 1969 in Paris. He studied jujitsu at the Dai Nippon Butokukai (Greater Japan Association of Martial Virtue) in Kyoto. It is not known exactly what style of jujitsu he learned, although it seems it was a form of Aiki-jujitsu. A group in England that continues to teach this form refer to their teachings as Kawaishi Ryu Jujitsu.

    In the mid-1920's he left Japan and toured the United States, teaching particularly in New York and San Diego. In 1928, he arrived in the United Kingdom and established a jujitsu club in Liverpool, where he taught Aiki-jujitsu. ...........................

    Thanks for all your help in this thread guys (those of you who have stayed with it!)

    Best wishes
    Simon
    Simon Keegan 4th Dan
    www.bushinkai.org.uk

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    Hi Simon,

    I know the aikijutsu comes up in connection to Kawaishi but I am not sure about that. " My way of self-defence" a book by Kawaishi gives a reasonable idea of his jujutsu. No historical references in the book though.
    My quess - but that is a very unsubstantiated wild quess - would be Tenjin Shinyo-Ryu.
    Maybe people " in the know" on this forum could be of help.

    best,

    Johan Smits

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