Chris Clifford

(5th Generation & current Bubishi holder)

Sosui Ichikawa
Born in Peckham, South London, in 1951. my parents enrolled me into the Lynn A.C. Boxing Club while attending Junior School.

My introduction to karate came at the age of 15, when I joined a family friend, Barry Evens at the Upland Tavern, who was teaching Kyokushin kai karate. After joining the school, I soon came to realise more often than not, the bigger, heavier, stronger student would gain victory over the smaller weaker students. Feeling there must be more I decided my search must continue.

Just once in a lifetime one should embrace fate.
In 1972 whilst on holiday, I met Hiroshi Endo, a karate student of the late Grand Master Ichikawa Sosui or Goju Ryu Karate Do. Seeing him practice that day my heart told me, if Hiroshi Endo would accept me as a student my journey would begin. Hiroshi Endo was a practicing Acupuncture/Shiatsu therapist.
Endo contacted his master, Ichikawa Sosui, who gave his blessing for Hiroshi Endo Sensei to mentor me until I travelled to Japan to meet his Master. My journey had begun.
I studied Acupuncture and Shiatsu as Endo Sensei expressed its importance in the deeper understanding of his teachers Goju Ryu. I spent five years of dedicated study and practice with Endo Sensei.

During these 5 years, Endo Sensei had to return to Japan for a few months. Endo Sensei advised me to look for a Goju School while he was gone. He emphasised that it would not be the same but the experience of kumite would be good for me.

I contacted my local Goju-Kai club and met Sensei Brian Waites, who had studied karate in Japan and reached the level of 3rd Dan. Although very different karate, it was still to be a great opportunity. Sensei Brian was very good technically and he was extremely strong as he was also interested in weightlifting. I practiced karate and weightlifting with Brian Sensei, over a short time I gained weight and strength which was then something I felt I needed. I also studied daily what Endo Sensei had taught me. Brian Sensei assisted Endo Sensei to return to the UK which enabled me to continue my practice with my original mentor.

First visiting to Japan in 1977, Endo Sensei introduced me to Master Ichikawa Sosui. A most profound man, this was a truly amazing life-changing experience. I was now a disciple to his Master; I followed his way of studying karate and traveled to Grandmaster Ichikawa Sosui whenever I could. My teacher emphasised the practice of Kumite would lead to the true understanding of kata. In 1978 I opened my own Dojo in South London. In 1992 I received ‘Bubishi’ and other documents containing amongst other things the Koshudo along with Grand Master Ichikawa’s hand seal authorising my ‘teachers’ license’ of Goju Ryu Karate Do raising to the 7th level of my studies in 2002.

Continuing my studies under the Grand Master Ichikawa Sosui visiting him many times until his passing in March 2005. Today I continue my research in to unraveling the treasure trove of documents and letters left to me by my Master, searching for the truth, unlocking the mysteries of his noble art of Goju Ryu Karate Do.