We Interviewed Shihan Paul Greenway, here is what he had to say:
* When did you start training in Kyokushin?
I began training in Kyokushin Karate in 1976. I actually began training in Karate in 1974, just after I began the first year of my degree course at University College Cardiff. I experimented with Shotokai, Shotokan and Wado-Ryu from 1974-1976, but felt these were not for me. When I discovered Kyokushin Karate in the Summer of 1976, I felt that I had found what I was looking for.
* Didn’t you also do Aikido? What grade did you achieve in that?
I started training in Aikido when I was also working towards my Sandan in Kyokushin Karate. As this was a completely different Martial Art, this did not detract from my Karate training. I achieved a Shodan in Aikido. I ceased training when the training session times altered and clashed with the Karate training session times.
* What made you choose Kyokushin?
When I trained in my first Kyokushin session at Litchard Community Centre on a Tuesday evening under David Llewellyn I felt that I had found my home in Karate. I enjoyed the hard traditional training under David Llewellyn that evening and under Ieuan Morris on the following Friday at Bridgend Recreation Centre. In addition to the hard traditional training, the links with Honbu in Japan under Sosai Mas Oyama made this style extra special.
* Who was your first Instructor?
I began Kyokushin Karate as a member of Bridgend Kyokushin Dojo under Ieuan Morris. His assistant instructor was David Llewellyn. When David Llewellyn opened Cornelly Kyokushin Dojo in 1977, I went with him as this Dojo was closer to my home.
* Who inspired you the most in Kyokushin and why?
When I first began training, Shihan Howard Collins was an inspirational figure. He had trained under Sosai Mas Oyama, had competed in the World Tournament and I had watched him compete on a number of occasions. Also as he was from Wales, I had the opportunity to train under him a number of times. Unfortunately, following Sosai Oyama’s death and after Kancho Matsui became Sosai Oyama’s successor – it was not long after that Shihan Howard Collins and I chose different paths. Kancho Matsui is also an inspirational figure in, to me particularly in my later training period (after I had obtained my 3rd Dan). He has achieved a great deal in Kyokushin Karate – completing the 100 man Kumite, winning the World Tournament and winning the All Japan Tournament. In addition to this he is now head of a very large Karate Organisation – The International Karate Organization Kyokushinkaikan. Having met him on a number of occasions, I have always found him to be a true gentleman and expert exponent of Kyokushin Karate.
* Who graded you on your first grading?
My first grading was at Abercynon Sports Centre under Shihan Howard Collins. There were a lot of students at this grading and a number of Black Belts who assisted at the grading.
* When did you achieve Shodan?
This was in 1981 at Cardiff School of Self Defence under Shihan Steve Arneil.
* What was your hardest grading?
My 4th Dan grading was the hardest grading I ever took. This was at The National Sports Centre, Cardiff under Kancho Matsui in 1997. Shihan Gorai and Shihan Jose Claronino were also present. The grading was held on a Monday, following an intensive weekend training course. During this time we also attended meetings and accompanied Kancho Matsui for meals out. Shihan Martin Marlborough and I graded to 4th Dan following the weekend course. The grading began with a written examination followed by a stamina test, technical test for which we had to demonstrate kihon and kata, a tameshiwari test and finished with a kumite test in which Shihan Martin and I completed 25 two minute rounds. We had no fluid break from the beginning of the grading to the end.
* Who awarded you Branch Chief Status?
My Branch Chief Status was awarded by Kanch Matsui in 1996. It is an honour to be appointed as an IKO Kyokushinkaikan Branch Chief representing Great Britain and of course Wales Kyokushin.
* Your 5th Dan was achieved in Japan – tell us about it:
My 5th Dan grading was held at Mitsumine at a camp following the World Tournament in 2003. Shihan Martin Marlborough, Shihan Gary Bufton and I took our 5th Dan grading together. This was an International Camp and grading, attended by many people from all over the World. Those attempting Dan gradings from 1st Dan – 7th Dan were lined up and performed kihon, kata and kumite in groups. As we were attempting a higher level dan grading, we were in the centre of the front row being observed by Kancho Matsui and the Senior Instructors of IKO Kyokushinkaikan worldwide, who were on an elevated platform.
* In your opinion, has Kyokushin changed a lot over the years?
When I first began training in Kyokushin Karate in 1976, there was only one Kyokushin Organisation Worldwide and in Great Britain the only Kyokushin Organisation was the British Karate Kyokushinkai. Sadly over the years, there have been a number of splits in the Organisation. I have remained loyal to my roots and have remained with the original World Organisation – the International Karate Organization Kyokushinkaikan (IKO 1) originally under Sosai Masutatsu Oyama and now under his successor, Kancho Shokei Matsui. The same techniques are being taught as when I began training, but additional kata and weapon techniques have been introduced. Also, it is now more difficult to obtain your Dan grades – gradings for 3rd Dan – 5th Dan must be taken under Kancho Matsui. In addition new kumite rules have been introduced, to which fighters, instructors and referees must now adapt.
* Inevitably, Organisations have split and shrunk over the years and we know IKO is the same, but what makes IKO Stand out from the others?
The IKO has maintained it’s links through to Honbu and Sosai. The IKO exists in every country throughout the World and the Tournaments and Friendship is well supported and Internationally recognised. With the Olympics being held in Japan in 2020 and Karate being accepted as a new Olympic Sport, Kancho Matsui and the IKO have established links with the JKA with a view to some Kyokushin (IKO 1) fighters being selected for the Olympic Squad. The IKO will strive to further develop and expand.
* Shihan Paul, thankyou for your time. Osu!